As of 2010, it is commonplace in American society for parents or guardians to have to balance work with child care. Since many individuals can't watch their children during the day due to work responsibilities, child care practitioners are in high demand. These workers, also known as day care workers, nannies or babysitters depending on their employment setting, perform administrative, educational and personal care tasks as part of their daily activities.
According to a Careerplanner.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), child care practitioners perform general household tasks and feed, bathe, dress and discipline children. They also oversee play and activities. Child care practitioners keep records on individual children that are required by the state or which help in management of the child care facility. In some cases, child care practitioners may help children with homework assignments. Lastly, child care practitioners act as counsellors who support and encourage a child's development and help them through any problems they may encounter.
Child care practitioners may work in day care centres, after school centres, or home-based child care facilities. According to the BLS, child care practitioners have a physically demanding job because they must stoop, bend, stand and lift constantly in order to tend to the children. Hours are flexibile but often long. Breaks aren't always possible. However, because the state regulates most day care facilities, child care practitioners can expect the work environment to be safe and sanitary. Many child care practitioners find that working with children proves to be very fulfilling.
Education, Licensure and Training
The BLS states that the educational requirements for child care practitioners varies greatly by state. Some states don't even require a high school diploma. Others want a college degree in development or education. Even in states where educational requirements are low, employers may exceed the minimum educational requirements and look for applicants with college degrees or a Child Development or Child Care Professional certificate (CDC, CCP). Employers may require a criminal background check, immunisation and minimum training if the facility is state regulated because of licensure requirements for the facility.
Because child care practitioners are responsible for the well-being of another individual, they must be responsible and highly organised. They should be able to work well with children and communicate with them on an appropriate developmental level. They also need to carry out general office tasks such as sending letters to parents or creating and filing meal charts. Creativity and skills in art and music are a definite plus.
The BLS states that, based on 2008 data, child care practitioners make anywhere from £4.50 per hour (which is less than minimum wage in some states as of 2010) to £9.0. The median income for child care practitioners is approximately £5.90. However, some child care practitioners receive compensation or benefits such as free room and board, the value of which actually may exceed a paid wage. Full time workers also may receive health care or vacation benefits.