A career that interests me is child care. In a declining economy, it is becoming increasingly common for both the mother and
the father within a family to work. As inflation rises and wages do not seem
to keep up, families are finding it more difficult to make ends meet. Therefore,
both parents are forced to work. In addition, things become seemingly more complicated
when these families have younger kids. The children need to be taken care of
while the parents are working.
These children do not just need a parental figure to watch them and make sure they don’t get into trouble. They do not just need a great role model. Although
these are both necessary, this is not all the children need. The children also
need food and clothes. Educational material would be very beneficial as well. These things cost money, which means the parent needs to be making money. The parent is left with basically two options.
One option is to find a job that works opposite from that of their spouse or that of their other children who might
be able to watch the younger ones. This is assuming that the parent has a spouse
and older children. Many parents, however, do not. If, in fact, the parent does, the coinciding of schedules can be a very stressful process. Even after the schedules are worked out it can turn out to be very tiring and stressful on the family. Finding quality family time can be especially difficult when the family has opposite
Another option is to find a babysitter, a daycare center, or some other kind of child care facility. Unfortunately, this can be expensive, especially for a family who is already tight on money. It is very important to find an honest and reliable place to send the children. “Finding quality childcare can be a major parenting challenge.
In essence, you're looking for a mommy or daddy substitute” (BabyCenter 1).
If the parent does not already know of a good child care provider, finding one can be a very stressful process.
A parent searching for child care services must know what they value most. There
is a wide range of costs for child care but this is not the only difference between child care providers. Money is not the only factor to take into account. For example,
education may be an important factor. The type of food they provide or don’t
provide may be a small factor but it is a factor nonetheless. The location of
the child care facility may be a bigger factor in determining where to send their child.
How comfortable the parent feels at the child care facility may be a factor.
If the parent does not feel very comfortable there, chances are, the child won’t either. The parent has to decide what they value the most. Some things
may have to be compromised. It is up to the parent to decide what they can and
are willing to compromise. Some parents may not be able to compromise cost. Other parents may not be willing to compromise the type of education their child receives.
Child care facilities do not just provide a place
where children can go when their parents are away at work. They provide a place
where the child can interact with other children. They provide a place where
the child can learn new things. “They help children explore individual
interests, develop talents and independence, build self-esteem, and learn how to get along with others” (U.S. Dept.
of Labor 1). They serve as another parental figure to the child when their actual
parent cannot be there for a period of time.
In order to provide child care services there
are certain requirements that must be fulfilled. The requirements for a day care provider depend upon the state in which the
child care provider resides. Some states require only a high school diploma while
others require more. The additional requirements may be a “national Child
Development Associate (CDA) credential” (U.S. Dept. of Labor 1) or a college degree.
In addition to certifications, there is a minimum
required ratio of child care workers to children. The required ratios vary from
state to state; however, there is a federal recommended ratio. The required ratio
depends upon the age range as well. For example, in Michigan, there may only
be four babies (infants up to twenty-seven months) for every child care provider present (DayCare 1). Likewise, there must be at least one child care worker present for every thirty thirteen to seventeen year
olds (DayCare 1). For family child care, where all ages are present, the ratio
is one child care worker for every six children with a few other stipulations (DayCare 1).
Many states require that these child care facilities
get a license. This license may require the child care provider to get a background
check and immunizations. In Michigan, child care providers must complete twelve hours
of various child care provider related training each year. They are also required
to receive training in CPR, first aid, and blood borne pathogen training.
child care providers must also have eighteen credit hours in early child development.
However, educational requirements beyond that may vary. These requirements
range from sixty semester hours with 1920 hours of experience to a “bachelor’s degree or higher in early childhood
education or child development” with 480 hours of experience within the field of child care providing (MI State Requirements
The work environment of a child care facility
depends a lot upon the child care provider. About thirty-five percent of child
care providers are self-employed (U.S. Dept. of Labor). Most of them work out
of their own home. Depending upon the number of children, child care providers
frequently work alone. The child care provider basically creates their own work
environment to an extent. Of course this is altered a little bit depending on
the kids who come to the child care facility.
A child care facility needs to be a safe environment
for children. They need to not only have physical safety, but also emotional
safety. It needs to be a loving place, in order to be a successful child care
facility. This facility does not replace the parent; however, for at least a
couple hours, the child care provider serves as another parental figure. If either
the child care provider or the facility does not measure up to the standards of the parents, they will most likely look for
another place to bring their kids.
The hours a child care worker must work may vary
as well. These hours depend on the hours of service the child care provider offers. The hours of the child care facility should coincide with regular business hours. This would make the business the most successful.
Child care facilities are needed just about everywhere. “Child care workers held about 1.4 million jobs in 2006” (U.S. Dept. of
Labor 3). Traveling to find a job in this career would not be necessary. It would, however, be possible. If a
potential child care provider wanted to find a job within this field in another country, there are many au pair opportunities.
It is estimated that child care worker employment
will increase by eighteen percent between 2006 and 2016 (U.S. Dept. of Labor 3). This
is faster than the average increase for any occupation. The reason for this increase
in employment is that many workers come and go from this job. They come and go
for many reasons. One reason is that the child care worker may experience an
increase in commitments such as family or school. Another possible reason for
this is to search for better pay or to find a different occupation.
Depending on whether the child care provider
works for someone or is self-employed, makes it easier or more difficult to take vacations.
If the child care provider is self-employed it is made a little more difficult because the business relies on them
being there. It would still be possible however to take a vacation as long as
they remain flexible with that vacation time. The ease of taking a vacation also
depends on how many workers there are at the child care facility. If there are
multiple employees, it makes it much easier to take a vacation.
Part-time, similar to vacation time in this case,
also depends on how many workers there are and whether or not the child care provider is self-employed. If they are self-employed, however, they can make their own hours.
Although, it could hurt the business if the hours do not coincide with the parents’ work schedule, it is up to
the provider to decide what is best for them and the company. If the child care
provider is one of many employees, being in this job part-time would be much easier.
It is possible either way for them to become part-time if needed. One,
however, is obviously more easily obtained than is the other.
“Helping children grow, learn, and gain new skills can be very rewarding” (U.S. Dept. of Labor 2). It can also be very physically as well as emotionally tiring. Pay is generally low, although more education typically means higher earnings. Pay for self-employed child care providers depends on how many children of what age range are being taken
care of and how many hours they are being cared for.
When a child care provider is not self-employed, but rather employed under someone else, there is a more steady pay. Most do not get a lot of benefits though. One
of the more common benefits is free or discounted child care for employees.
Child care providers must have a lot of patience. This type of work requires
motivation and organization. Workers must have both the desire and the ability
to nurture and teach any child who comes in. The child care provider will have
an influence on any and all children who come through. This influence is hopefully
a very good one.
Child care is a much needed profession, especially today. Parents need
to have a job to support their family. They also have to support their family
in other ways though. Child care does not replace the parent or do away with
this need but it certainly helps the parent.