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What is Child Care?
Child care is an area of employment responsible for the safekeeping and education of children in a functional environment. Individuals working in this field are responsible for the safety and well being of children under their charge as well as providing early foundational education as part of a curriculum that is often masked by playtime. Individuals in this field may work in preschools, kindergartens, or daycare and afterschool programs.
A degree in child care prepares individuals to care for and assist children in preschool and kindergarten. Child care is often taken as an associate program, providing skills and education in regards to working with children. Child care requires the caretaker to be attentive, innovative, careful, and energetic. An associate degree in child care takes between 1 and 3 years to complete depending on credits taken per semester.
A curriculum in child care may include:
- Child Abuse Recognition
- Special Needs Children
- Educational Technology
- Child Development
Due to the variance in requirements from state to state in regards to working with children, interested individuals should research their state's requirements and if such requirements are in place, cross check them with their intended program of study to see if it complies with state standards.
Child care positions do not necessarily require any formal education beyond a high school diploma or GED for most states. When seeking employment an individual should review their state's requirements as some states require a license while others have no employment requirements at all. Regardless of state requirements, it is important to note that employers are increasingly looking for individuals with some sort of education, preferably in child care or early childhood education.
Child care specialists typically work in:
- Kindergarten Classrooms
- Day Care Centers
- Church Based Child Supervision Programs
Job Growth, Salary and Related Fields
As job growth increases demand and available positions, the desire for qualified individuals is expected to increase in this field, resulting in a demand for more education when considering hiring of an individual. The average salary of a child care specialist is approximately $20,000 per year. Salary can expect to increase with experience and continued education.
Individuals interested in a degree in child care may also be interested in elementary education, teacher assistant, and preschool teacher.