Do you love children with a passion and can’t wait to get down in the sandpit with them? Is your idea of fun thinking up fun educational activities to try out? Then, why not consider becoming an accredited childcare worker? Keep reading to find out what to do next and turn your passion into a career.
Step one: Consider a specialisation
There are many options for people who would like to pursue a career in childcare. Here are three examples of possible specialisations for people who want to work with children from 0-12 years.
Early Childhood Teacher
In this specialisation, you take a course to qualify you to work in the private and government -owned pre-school centres. Furthermore, you can work at community kindergartens and child care centres. To qualify your course will teach you a solid core of competencies. Meaning you can create educational and social programs, as well as care for young children.
Out of School Hours (OOSH) Care Worker
As an OOSH care worker, you have taken a relevant course which enables you to take care of children from 5 – 12 years. Working from before and after school care centres. You should relate well to older children, helping them to engage with the programs and get the most out of their time at the centre. This role often follows part-time or casual hours.
In this specialisation, you take a step away from the child centre and sometimes live in the home of the family you work with. Not always, though. The hours could be full or part-time depending on the needs of the family. This is a good way to really focus and work with just one or a few children who you get to know very well. You help to take care of their practical needs, as well as developing activities and routines for them. For the children under your wing, you play a direct role in helping them to realise their full potential. Sometimes you will need to work nights and weekends.
Step two: Choose a course
Once you have in mind a pathway for your future, then you can choose a course which will give you the appropriate training. For example, the training you need to take care of infants is very different to what you need to learn to take care of older children.
Step three: Apply for accreditation
After completing your training you are ready to apply for accreditation. The requirements are different in each state, so it is worthwhile checking what you need to do before you get started studying. You must have accreditation before you can start work. Have a look at the resources section below to find out what you need to do.
Step four: Look for your first job
Well done! Now it is time to look for your first job. As more and more parents go to work while they have young children the need for child care workers is on the rise. In fact, there is a shortage of workers. This makes child care an excellent industry to work in. When making applications remember to tailor your resume and cover letter for each application. Don’t forget to mention your qualifications, personal strengths, and any relevant experience you may have.
Accredited Child Care Worker Job Description
There are many paths and different job opportunities for accredited child care workers. This means the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities can vary widely. However, most jobs will involve taking care of the children’s hygiene. Perhaps, changing nappies for infants or encouraging older children to wash their hands. Then, you will take responsibility for feeding them during the time they are with you. For infants, you could be giving them their bottle preparing the formula or for older children giving them lunch. As well as their physical needs you will take responsibility for their emotional and development needs. This can involve organising games and educational activities or even going on trips out of the care centre. You communicate with the children, but don’t forget you will need to communicate with their parents as well. Sometimes giving parents progress or feedback on their child and how they are getting on in the care environment.
- Planning early childhood development programs
- Reporting on developmental achievements to parents
- Ensuring children with special needs aren’t left out
- Supervising play and enrichment programs
- Maintaining safety and hygiene standards
Skills for Success
Firstly and foremost, you must love children, enjoying playing and spending time with them. You need to have patience, understanding, and genuine concern for their welfare and needs. Furthermore, you should have boundless energy and an unending reserve of creativity and fun. On the flip side, you also need to relate to the parents reassuring them their child is in good hands, and well looked after. You need an eagle eye to keep track of all the little ones, and a radar for hazards and unsafe activities. The ability to multitask will help you succeed in this role. You know they are all going to be asking you for something at the same time! Lastly, you don’t mind doing some practical care tasks like food preparation, changing diapers and cleaning.
Skills and attributes
- Full of boundless energy
- Patient with a positive attitude
- Very good communication skills
- Creative and empathetic
- Observant and responsive
What is the Child Care Worker Salary in Australia?
In Australia, accredited child care workers earn a median wage of $24,306 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.