While some may think of childcare simply as babysitting for their nieces or nephews on a Friday night, there are actually a wide variety of career opportunities in childcare. These opportunities include single-family babysitting and nannying jobs, daycare facility positions, and teaching and assistant teaching positions, among others. Some of these jobs require certifications, while others are more informal.
One of the more common career opportunities in childcare is as a babysitter for a single family, often called a nanny. Nannies typically work in the home of the family, arriving as the parents leave for work in the morning and staying until they return home, although some may actually live with the family. In addition to childcare, the nanny may be responsible for some other household duties, such as cooking or cleaning, though this varies widely from job to job.
Babysitters or long-term nannies are often matched with families through nanny agencies. A nanny who works for one of these agencies will typically go through a background check as well as some sort of safety training. Their schedules may vary greatly day to day and week to week, depending on the availability of positions.
One particular type of nanny is known as an au pair — typically a person in his or her late teens or early twenties who lives with a host family in another country. The au pair may work either full time or part time assisting with childcare or household tasks. He or she may use time off to travel or to study the host country's language. Government restrictions vary, but often limit the length of an au pair job to one year.
In addition to single-family jobs, career opportunities in childcare can be in a home daycare or a daycare institution. At either of these types of daycare centers, a parent drops off his or her children in the morning and picks them up in the evening. Positions in these types of facilities include the director and the caregivers. The director makes sure that the center runs smoothly and follows all relevant government regulations, such as child-to-caregiver ratios and safety rules. Caregivers are responsible for the safety of the children and may also do some of the cooking or cleaning, especially in home daycares.
Preschool teaching or assistant teaching jobs are another type of career opportunities in childcare. Preschool teachers generally should have some education or training in child development or early childhood education. The teacher is responsible for creating and teaching the lessons. An assistant teacher or teacher's aide works alongside the teacher to provide a safe, clean learning environment.