- On average, daycare teachers make around $10.50 per hour
- About 30 percent of daycare teachers work part time
- Teaching jobs can be very stressful
What do daycare teachers do?
If you can't get enough of rugrats, ankle biters and curtain climbers, this is the job for you. If you would rather sit through six days' worth of your granddad's "uphill both ways to school in the snow" speech than change a diaper, you might want to skip the rest of this job description.
Daycare teachers work primarily with children who are too young to start preschool, from infants to 5-year-olds. You'll be nurturing the young, impressionable minds of the future, stimulating their physical, emotional, intellectual and social growth. This translates loosely to coloring and making macaroni necklaces.
Recently there has been a shift in daycare to prepare children for school (read: more coloring and macaroni necklaces, with the addition of gluing cotton balls to construction paper). Most of a teacher's time is spent doing basic care and caregiving activities, but lots of the activities do double duty. For instance, teaching children to share is an important life skill, and it also prevents gang wars over blocks and puzzles.
It's not all fun and games, though. Parents will have high expectations, so you'll need to be motivated, attentive and an all-around good influence on the children. Criminal record checks are mandatory in most child care centers, so you'll need a clean record and a somewhat flexible schedule. You can't just say "see ya" at the end of the day; you'll have to stick around until all the kids' parents pick them up.
How much do daycare teachers make?
The average hourly pay for daycare teachers is around $10.50 per hour, but will vary by experience and location. For all child care positions (except supervisor positions) the average is around $11.30 per hour. Wages will typically be higher for full-time employees and teachers with college degrees.
What are the education requirements?
Training requirements in daycare centers vary by state and position. Daycare teachers almost always need to have a high school diploma and, in most cases, a combination of college education and experience is desirable. Teacher's assistants and child care workers usually only need a high school diploma. Some states, and most daycare centers, also require other training for staff members, such as health and first aid, fire safety, and child abuse detection and prevention.
Career paths for daycare teachers
If you're committed to a career in child care, and willing to continue your education, there are definitely opportunities for career growth. Child care center directors usually need at least a bachelor's degree in education and extensive experience. Your hard work will pay off, because the pay averages around $20 per hour.
The future of daycare teacher jobs
According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), job opportunities for center-based daycare positions should continue to grow because of an increasing number of parents preferring their more formal setting and believing that they provide a better foundation for children before they begin traditional schooling. Many daycare teachers choose to leave their positions to return to school, or to seek higher pay and benefits. Child care centers have relatively high turnover and substantial replacement needs - which will work in your favor, if you're looking to get into a daycare teacher position.
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