Job description

Childcare workers care for and cater to the basic needs of children. They feed, play with, teach, bathe and dress children of all ages at schools, childcare centres or households.

Their job involves preparing toddlers for kindergarten, supervising children before and after school, and babysitting them while parents work or during holiday periods.

Many positions are categorised under the role of childcare workers including nannies, family childcare providers or childcare centre workers.


    • Dress, bathe and feed children
    • Play with and monitor children as they play
    • Teach children basic concepts using techniques and creative activities
    • Supervise and observe the safety of children
    • Maintain the hygiene of children
    • Change children’s diapers
    • Help children with homework
    • Drive children to school, appointments and other activities
    • Maintain records of children’s behaviour and progress
    • Report children’s behaviour and progress to parents

Skills and qualities

Physical stamina
Active listening
Service orientation

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.


Career progression

After obtaining the appropriate qualifications and credentials, childcare workers have the opportunity to become preschool teachers or assistants. They might even advance to become childcare centre directors or run a business of their own. Some childcare workers may also move on to work with specific age groups.

Working conditions

Average hours

40h/ week

Typical schedule

Full Time

Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally

Childcare workers work in various settings including schools, businesses, childcare centres and households. Some positions like family childcare providers, care for children in their own homes, while nannies work in the homes of the children they’re babysitting. They might even live with the family on an ongoing basis and drive the children to school, appointments or other activities.

They work in both indoor and outdoor environments around playing equipment such as climbing frames, and arts and crafts like sandpits and painting areas. Childcare workers must have patience when working with children and they must be accustomed to noisy and messy surroundings.

Some childcare workers work on a part-time basis.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High school

On-the-job training

Study time

2 weeks

Although hiring requirements vary by setting, state and employer, most employers will require childcare workers to have a high school diploma or equivalent at the very least. Those with postsecondary education in early childhood education will be considered for higher level positions.

Childcare centres that are based in a worker’s home must be fully licensed. Workers must pass a background check, be completely immunised and have a history of required training. There are states that also require certifications in CPR and first aid.

Some states demand that childcare workers have a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, which is offered by the Council for Professional Recognition, while family childcare providers need a nationally recognised accreditation, offered by the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC).

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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