How to Become a Child Care Worker


Becoming a child care worker could be a great fit for you if you enjoy being around children and playing with them, you have the creativity to keep them entertained, and you have a lot of patience and empathy to employ for when things aren’t going their way.


Below, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about what it takes to work in this field, as well as what you’d be doing, what education and certification you’ll need, how much you could earn, what your career advancement could look like, and much more!



Basic Criteria For Becoming a Child Care Worker

To be considered for a job as a child care worker, most employers will require that you meet some, or all of the following criteria:


• You have a valid First Aid certificate

• You're trained in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and have a valid certificate

• You can pass a child intervention record check

• You can pass a criminal record check

• You have knowledge of a specific culture and language (in some cases)



Education & Certification You’ll Need

Most Canadian provinces and American states will require that you have some level of government-issued certification before, or shortly after you begin employment as a child care worker.


A major pre-requisite of certification is having completed (or working towards the completion of) a diploma, certificate or degree related to early childhood education, child care management, or a closely related field.


Please Note: Check with your provincial or state regulating authority regarding the exact level and type of education and certification you’ll need, as they will be able to provide you with the most accurate and current information.





Experience You Might Need

Employers generally won’t require much in the way of previous work experience for you to be hired on, especially for positions of lower responsibility. However, some will give preference to candidates with 1-2 years of experience in a related position, or will list it as a requirement.



More About This Career: Job Description

Child care workers (also known as ‘daycare workers’ and ‘child care professionals’) are responsible for the supervision and care of other people’s children in residential homes and commercial child-care facilities. 


Their main responsibility is to attend to all of the basic needs of the children in their care, such as their feeding, safety, hygiene, rest, and play.



Typical Job Duties

Although the specific duties you would be responsible for carrying out would vary from job to job, you would likely be responsible for the following:


• Creating a safe and positive environment for children 

• Supervising and monitoring the safety of children

• Preparing and organizing mealtimes and snacks for children

• Helping children keep good hygiene, including changing the diapers of infants and toddlers

• Establishing meaningful and trusting relationships with children and families

• Helping to create and implement a variety of activities for the children

• Helping the children identify their personal strengths

• Responding to acts of aggression, depression or self-destructive behaviours

• Keeping records of children’s progress, routines, and interests





Is Becoming a Child Care Worker Right for You?

Aside from a natural love of working with children, you’ll need to have certain personal traits and interest in order to thrive as a child care worker, including:

• You're full of energy and enthusiasm

• You have lots of patience, empathy and compassion 

• You have the ability to relate to both children and adults

• You have the ability to play with children and supervise them in play with others

• You have the creativity, to think of new games and activities

• You're clean and tidy

• You have the capability and stamina to bend, kneel and crouch throughout your shift

• You’re willing to accept legal responsibility for the health and safety of children in your care



Average Salary/Wage of Child Care Workers

The salary or wage you could earn as a child care worker would depend on the following factors:


• Your level of education, experience and certification

• The size, type and budget of your employer

• Your level of responsibility within the job

• The region in which you would be working


Earnings in Canada: According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey (the latest figures available at the time of writing), the average salary level of Albertans working in the ‘Child and Youth Care Worker’ occupational group is $35,126 per year, or $21.25 per hour. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (July 4, 2019).


United States: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the ‘Childcare Workers’ occupational group is $23,240 per year (May, 2018 figures), or $11.17 per hour. The lowest 10% of wages in the group were at or below $8,53 per hour, and the highest 10% were at or above $16.55.



Who Employs Them?

Child care workers are typically employed by the following types of organizations:
• Child care and daycare centres

• Family day homes 

• Individual families 

• Out-of-school and after-school care programs

• Preschools and playschools

• Recreation centres

• Large retailers and other business

• Family support programs and resource centres

• Emergency shelters

• Hospitals

• Religious organizations

• Self-employment (as owner of a child care or daycare centre)



Child Care Worker Jobs

Our job board below has postings for current 'child care worker' openings in your area. Give it a shot!




Work Environment

Hours: The working hours of child care workers typically align with the operational hours of the facility in which they work. In some cases, they might work in shifts, such as if a facility is open beyond 8 or 10 hours per day. Both part-time and full-time jobs are common in this profession.


Setting: Child care workers work in a variety of settings. They most commonly work within daycare facilities, recreation facilities, people’s homes, preschools, hospitals, religious institutions, and day homes.


Conditions: Child care workers must have at least a moderate degree of physical fitness and stamina, as they have to be able to keep up with the children (which involves plenty of bending, kneeling and sitting), and be able to lift/restrain them if necessary.



Career Advancement Possibilities

With enough experience and a strong enough skill set, you could move into a position of greater responsibility and pay, such as a child care centre/daycare supervisor, manager, director, or even owner. 


Alternatively, you could move into other roles with related responsibilities, such as those listed below in our 'Similar Professions' section (some of which would require further education and training).



Similar Professions

Listed below are professions in our database that are similar to ‘child care worker’. We've chosen these because they require many of the same skills, interests and competencies, and involve many of the same responsibilities:


Child Care Centre Supervisor

• Child Life Specialist 

• Child Psychotherapist

• Director of Youth Development 

• Early Childhood Educator 

• Elementary School Teacher

• Youth Counselor




Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to become a child care worker, and other details of the career:


Occupations in Alberta: “Child and Youth Care Worker.” (March 2, 2017). ALIS - Alberta Learning and Information Service. Retrieved July 4, 2019.

Become a certified child care professional: “Child care staff certification.” (n.d.). Government of Alberta. Retrieved July 4, 2019.

Occupational Employment Statistics: “Childcare Workers.” (June 12, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved July 4, 2019.

Students: “Becoming a Child Care Worker.” (n.d.). Victorian Skills Gateway - Government of Victoria, Australia. Retrieved July 4, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Childcare Worker

The “Fields of Study” section below lists fields of study that are relevant for getting the required education to work in this field. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study

The majors listed below are highly relevant to this career, and can help set a great foundation for it. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


Top Banner Image: