Child care workers are an essential part of the daily needs of infants and young children and become part of shaping a child’s social and emotional wellbeing. Child care workers are found in a wide range of different settings, including extended hour and short-term day care, pre-schools and after-school care centres. Because of the important role you play in a child’s development, all childcare workers must be accredited so as to properly be able to care for a child’s physical needs, as well as nurturing their emotional and social growth. As a child care worker, you are responsible for building self-confidence and encouraging creativity, in addition to promoting basic literacy and numeracy skills, in a safe, stimulating environment. Career pathways are varied and the type of environment in which you would like to work will determine the course of study you will need to undertake to reach your career goals.
Although your work will vary depending on the age of the children you care for, all childcare organisations mostly work off of a shift roster, enabling the centre to be open longer hours. A lot of the tasks involved in your job are, in many ways, the same as a parent, and you will be expected to feed, clothe, clean and entertain the children you care for. It is worth keeping in mind that as well as dealing with children, you will also need to liaise with their parents, who will all come from various backgrounds and have different expectations, which you will need to effectively manage. As well as different backgrounds, the children will also have different ability levels, which you will have to cater for. As a child care worker, you can chose to study and specialise in certain areas of learning and development.
A career in child care means you will always endeavour to provide a high quality experience and safe environment for the children you care for. Child care workers must be attentive and observant and have the ability to participate in a very physical, active job, involving some food preparation and cleaning duties. The child care industry, which is seen as a critical pillar in the support network of working parents, is a great industry to work for, with demand at an all-time high.
As a child care worker, there is an array of opportunities for career development, and you can tailor your study path accordingly to the certain area you wish to specialise in. Listed below are just some roles available to those caring for children aged 0 to 12 years.
Early childhood teaching is a trusted and respected profession, and with an accreditation, you are eligible to work in both private and government-owned pre-school centres, as well as community kindergartens and child care centres. This qualification means you will be accredited to supervise and care for young children as well as providing the core competencies required to create educational and social programs. The role generally reports to the director of the child care centre or school.
OOSH care workers will have to complete a relevant qualifications in child care, usually a certificate or traineeship with a minimum of a Year 10 Certificate or equivalent. A career in OOSH care work would see you looking after children aged five to 12 years old, before and after school. You will implement programs during the school term and should be able to relate well to children as well as address their individual needs, often working on a part-time or casual basis.
If you prefer being your own boss, a qualified nanny is accredited in child care and usually works in the home of the children they care for. Nannies will provide full or part-time care. Depending on the size of the family, a nanny may care for multiple children of various ages. Some night and weekend work may be required and you will develop activities and programs for the children to complete to keep them entertained.
There are lots of ways you can develop your career and courses are available to help you tailor your skills to the type of child care career you want.
Entry-level and junior roles are vocational courses that will allow you to get your first foot in the door in child care. A junior child care carer or assistant are jobs you can acquire at the start of your career and generally require supervision from senior staff.
Study to advance your career in child care. Qualify as an Accredited Child Care Worker or pursue a career specialisation.
These study options will enable you to pursue more specialised employment options in child care through more distinct and specialist education.
Child care workers in Australia must be accredited by their state authority after completing their studies. To find out what you need to do to become certified, find out more about the requirements in your state in the Resources section.
Put your hard-earned education and training to good use and get the best-possible head start in your child care career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for child care jobs.
With an increasing number of parents working full-time, there is a shortage of and high demand for more and more child care staff. There are numerous opportunities in different settings with the potential for flexible hours.