Careers in Child CareThinking of Becoming a Child Care Teacher?

A career in early childhood education offers you an opportunity to assist in the high-quality care of young children. A Child Care Teacher, also known as a preschool or daycare teacher, combines caregiving with instruction for children five years of age or younger. Through early Child Care education, you will be developing their language, social, and motor skills in preparation for kindergarten. Child Care teachers must be able to work a flexible schedule, as well as to bend, stand, crouch, and kneel for extended hours.

Here’s a look into the day in the life of a Child Care Teacher.

Some of the daily tasks of a Child Care teacher will consist of and is not limited to, the following:

  • Stimulating and assisting in the vital development of children’s skills.
  • Ensuring that children are attending a caring, inclusive, and safe environment daily.
  • Tracking and reporting the progress and development of training, as well as their well-being, health, and safety.
  • Organize and facilitate activities that promote the creative, social, and physical skills of children.
  • Teach children reading and language skills, (e.g., like alphabets, numbers, and rhymes) and motor skills, as well as shape and color recognition.
  • Providing diverse basic needs to children, including performing cleaning duties, supplying proper nutrition, and dealing with any behavioral matters.

Education And Work Experience

Child Care teachers are required to meet the educational requirements of their employers and the state. Many daycare teaching jobs will require a minimum of a high school diploma or the equivalent associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in early education or Child Care depending upon the school’s setting. In Child Care centers, teachers must have a high school diploma and a certification in early Child Care education.

Skills that you want to develop will include the ability to be creative, flexible, patient, and nurturing. Being knowledgeable in educational software and equipment, spreadsheet software, and having instruction skills, and classroom management techniques will also be of assistance.

Head Start programs and Public Schools require that all preschool teachers have a postsecondary early childhood education. In the past several years, Head Start programs have made it mandatory for at least 50% of their teachers to have a bachelor’s degree.

Most employers require that their teachers have experience working with children before letting a teacher take control of an entire classroom. Work experience can be achieved in various ways, but one of the more common avenues is becoming a teacher’s assistant. Assistant teachers will work directly with children to aid in social, academic, and behavioral issues.

Credentials and Licenses

While the requirements of licensing will vary by state, nationally recognized certification is a must for all Child Care center teachers.

The Child Development Associate (CDA) is a credential that is administered by the Council for Professional Recognition. To receive the CDA credential, you will need to have at least 480 hours of Child Care work experience in addition to 120 hours of education in Child Care. Another part of the application process is that you will have to take an exam and receive a passing score as well as be observed at your job. For preschool teachers in public schools, certification involves passing state certification exams once a bachelor’s degree has been obtained. This credential is part of the requirements for licensing for 49 states.

A certification that’s offered by the National Early Childhood Program is The Child Care Professional (CCP). This certification is recognized by some states and requires you to have a high school diploma, a passing score on an exam, and Child Care experience. This credential can be earned by those that do not hold a college degree in addition to those with a degree that’s not directly related to childhood education.

Maintaining Certification
Once a CDA credential is obtained, it’s a requirement of continuing education for renewal. Preschool teachers in Child Care centers must be certified in first aid, show effective teaching practices, as well as acquire membership in an approved organization for Child Care professionals. Preschool teachers that are in public schools in order to keep their license current must participate in professional development programs.

A Career Beyond A Child Care Teacher

Many Child Care teachers go on to run their own preschool programs, whether it be center based on in-home. Others go on to pursue a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE). After obtaining a masters in ECE, you can teach courses in early childhood programs in colleges and universities part-time, be an ECE advisor to local, state, and national policymakers, and or a consultant/adviser for ECE programs.