Licensing requirements for infant care workers varies from state to state. While it may be possible to begin a career in infant care with a high school diploma, a postsecondary certificate may increase job prospects.
An infant care worker tends to babies under one year old, usually in a childcare center, the employer's home or the care provider's home. Though infant care careers offer low wages, many caregivers find that the gratification of working with babies outweighs the low pay. Minimum education and certification requirements can vary widely among states and types of employers. Some infant care workers have a high school diploma and complete hands-on training, while others complete a formal postsecondary education program. Professional, CPR and first aid certifications may also be required.
|Required Education||Varies from high school diploma to postsecondary certificate or hands-on training|
|Licensure and Certification||State licensing regulations vary; certifications available, which may be voluntary|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||5% for childcare workers|
|Average Annual Salary (2015)*||$22,310 for childcare workers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Infant Care Job Description
Infant care workers are usually employed in childcare centers, tending to 3-4 infants at a time and adhering to the facility's standards. Many childcare workers also work as in-house caregivers, traveling to or living in the employer's house. Care providers can also work out of their own homes, but this requires that their homes can accommodate infants. Work hours vary widely, since caregivers usually work around parents' work schedules.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for childcare workers is expected to be good, with employment growth of 5% between 2014 and 2024. Childcare workers, including infant care workers, made an average annual salary of $22,310, according to BLS data from May 2015.
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Infant Care Job Duties
Infant caregivers commonly provide general care to babies from birth to 12 months. To ensure the health and safety of infants, caregivers perform duties such as bathing, changing and feeding the baby. An infant caregiver will also entertain and educate infants by reading to, playing with and nurturing them. The infant care worker must also have good communication skills in order to relay the baby's status to the parents. Many parents want to know about the baby's daily activities, including diet, bowel movements, and general mood, which may require the care provider to keep records of the child's day.
Infant Care Career Requirements
Infant care education and training requirements vary depending on the state licensing regulations for care providers. Caregivers employed by childcare centers usually have to meet more stringent requirements, such as attaining the Child Development Associate (CDA) or the Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) credential. Childcare centers usually offer a training or apprenticeship program in which new employees work beside experienced caregivers for anywhere from a few months to a year. Caregivers who work in their employer's or their own home with few children usually aren't regulated by state law; therefore experience and personality become the key qualifications that employers consider.
Infant care workers are responsible for the care of babies from birth through twelve months of age. They bathe, change, and feed the infants, and entertain and educate the infants in their care by reading stories and playing with them. They also communicate with the parents about the child's day.