Becoming a Child Care Worker: Everything You Need to Know
Considering becoming a child care worker? Find out how this important job can lead to a fulfilling, stable and flexible career that makes a difference.
Childcare workers have one of the most essential — yet underappreciated — jobs in Australia. The early years of a child’s life are the most important: this is when they develop motor, sensory and social skills, and start to learn about the world. Childcare workers go to work every day knowing that they are planting the seeds for the next generation to bloom into good human beings.
If you’re kind and patient, and you want a stable job that’s also fulfilling, flexible, and even fun, childcare could be the perfect fit for you. This is a fast-growing industry with accessible entry through VET and traineeship study options. Depending on the course you choose, you could complete your Certificate III in a few months.
And don’t be scared to dream bigger! If you then want to pursue further training, you’ll find opportunities to progress into a career in early learning and teaching.
What Does a Childcare Worker Do?
Childcare workers are qualified professionals who take care of young children while their parents are busy, working or otherwise. They work in childcare centres, early learning centres, after-school programs, nurseries, creches, and in people’s homes as nannies. They provide children with a consistent daily routine, as well as supervising educational and recreational activities to help children in their development.
Alternate job titles include child caregivers or early childhood educators.
There’s a perception that childcare is an easy and fun role, but the critical work that childcare workers do often goes unnoticed. There’s so much more involved than just playing with children all day.
Roles and responsibilities of childcare workers include:
Child Care Salary & Job Prospects
Most childcare workers are paid hourly, at an average of $23/hr. The typical salary for a full-time childcare worker is $40,657 and ranges from $29,000 – $54,000. Pay tends to increase with experience and higher qualifications and jumps significantly when people move into more senior roles.
Childcare is a huge industry, employing over 150,000 Australians, and growing at an incredible rate of 17% over the last five years. Before the pandemic hit, the Australian government estimated that a whopping 30,100 jobs would open up over the next five years. This is most likely due to Australia’s growing population, and increasing demand for both parents to return to work after maternity leave.
This is also a career with flexible working hours, with just over half of workers being part-time. This makes it a great choice for people who are returning to work after starting their own family, or if you are planning to start a family in the next few years.
What is the Child Care Subsidy?
The child care subsidy is a system the Australian government uses to help families pay for their childcare fees. You can receive the subsidy if:
The childcare benefit is super helpful for any parents looking to reduce child care costs as the cost of childcare can be incredibly expensive. Some parents may even be liable to childcare rebates under the Australian government initiative.
How to Become a Childcare Worker in Australia
What Qualifications Do I Need to be a Childcare Worker in Australia?
At a minimum, child care workers in Australia will need to complete a Certificate III in Early Childhood Care and/or Children’s services. If you wish to take on the role of manager or coordinator, you will need to also obtain a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care. You must have a Certificate III before you can study the Diploma. Courses can be taken through a VET provider, TAFE, or through an on-the-job traineeship.
Qualification options include:
During your course, you’ll be required to learn about children’s emotional, physical, mental and social development, as well as how to plan and carry out activities for children, and the code of ethics in childcare. With a childcare qualification, you can work anywhere in Australia, whether that’s Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide — all you need is a qualification.
Child Care Worker Requirements
In addition to your qualification, you will also need to fulfil the following requirements:
- Police checks
- Working with children check
- First aid certificate, updated annually.
- Depending on where you’re applying to work you may also need to register with the Department of Human Services, which can be a long and thorough process.
If you need more information surrounding the rules and regulations in childcare, it’s a good idea to check out the ACECQA (Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority) which assists governments in administering the National Quality Framework for children’s education and care.
Is Being a Child Care Worker Right For You?
Having a love for children goes without saying in a childcare career, but there are a range of other traits that are vital to possess if you want to become a childcare professional. Before pursuing further, ask yourself these six questions:
Do you love everything about kids?
Working with kids can be fun and highly rewarding, but there are times when kids can become draining, frustrating and difficult to deal with. You will have to deal with tantrums, dirty nappies, hyperactivity, crying and screaming, which makes the job extremely challenging. As a childcare worker, you need to love everything about kids – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Can you communicate with both the young and old?
Throughout your career as a childcare worker, you will be required to communicate with both children and parents. Though most of your day will involve playing and caring for the children, you’re also required to constantly observe and report on their behaviour. That includes talking to the child’s parents about their development, their achievements, their struggles and their education.
Can you be patient and flexible?
It may seem obvious, but patience and flexibility are probably the most important traits you should have in a childcare role. All children are different and you need to be flexible enough to understand that while a certain method may work for some children, it won’t work with all of them. Also, they aren’t your children! This means being patient and calm with them even when they drive you insane.
Are you willing to pursue further education and training?
In any education role, if you want to be successful, you need to have a willingness to learn. It’s not only required as part of your employment but it’s important for refreshing your memory and to keep you up-to-date on important training such as first aid and meeting the national quality standard.
Are you the dependable type?
A child’s safety is of the utmost importance in a career such as childcare. Parents and employers put their trust in you to both look after the wellbeing of their children and their safety. You also need to be appropriate and responsible at all times, these children will look up to you as a guardian and a role model.
Is your salary level a driving factor in your career choice?
A childcare wage is middle range and it won’t be enough to get you rich. If earning money is your main driving factor in choosing a career, childcare probably isn’t suitable for you. There are plenty of rewards and highlights in a childcare career that money just can’t buy and it’s a job that’s guaranteed to fulfil you.
Does this sound like you? Then look into getting qualified with a childcare course that can lead to a diploma or certificate in early childhood education and education support.
There are even courses available that can qualify you in teaching children with disabilities, education psychology and first aid. Being a childcare professional can be a rewarding and enriching experience, but it’s not for everyone.
By taking the time to ask yourself these questions before you commence your studies and career in childcare, you can greatly increase your chances of having a successful experience.
What Will Your Workplace be Like?
Childcare workers are employed in a range of different environments where childcare providers can be found, including:
Outside of formal childcare facilities, you can be employed privately for in-home care as a nanny in which you may only be required to take care of a few children. In the long run, you may even be able to run your own home daycare.
As a childcare worker, you will also work irregular hours. Shift work is common in childcare as they need people who are available to take care of children both before and after school times as well as during.
Childcare centres are extremely noisy and busy places, but if you love children it shouldn’t be an issue. You’ll need to be very fit and healthy, with plenty of energy, to thrive in this environment. You’ll be on your feet all day, there is heavy lifting involved, and the environment is fast-paced.
Employment Share By Top Four States
New South Wales
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Childcare Worker?
To work in childcare, there’s a range of skills you will need to both learn and develop before pursuing childcare as a career. Whether you wish to pursue childcare or early childhood education, these range of skills below are extremely important to any child caring role:
Equipped with these skills and qualities, and a qualification in childcare, you can expect a wonderful, thriving career as a childcare worker.
What Careers Can A Child Care Course Lead To?
A qualification in childcare can open a range of opportunities for anyone looking to expand their horizons beyond a career as a childcare worker.
Once you become qualified in childcare, you can even look at early learning as a career option and progress into early childhood education. Or you can choose to up-skill and move up further up the ranks in a child-caring role.
For example, a child care qualification can lead to a career as:
Get started today in this gratifying career and never doubt your career path again. Check out some child care courses or even education courses and find one that suits you. With plenty of flexible learning options such as the ability to complete your childcare course online, getting a qualification has never been more simple.
Working with children with special needs is an incredibly rewarding career. Learn how to start a career in disability support services within early childhood education.
How to Become a Teacher’s Aide
The role of a teacher’s aide is to assist students, do tasks such as grading, supervising field trips and being there for any students who need extra help.
Job openings for a teacher’s aide have expanded by 20% over the last 5 years. Although the COVID-19 pandemic makes it difficult to estimate future job growth, previous government predictions indicated very strong growth over the next five years.
If you wish to become a teacher’s aide, you first need to become qualified. You can undertake a course in Education Support and specialise in teacher’s aide work specifically.
There’s also a range of courses to specialise in becoming a special needs teacher’s aide, a language or literacy worker and even a home tutor.
Teacher’s aides are critical to the Australian education system, and a career in education support can be incredibly rewarding. Find out how to get started.
Why a Teacher’s Aide Career is So Rewarding
You get to watch children grow and expand their knowledge
You will be hard-pressed to find a more rewarding career where you have the opportunity to watch children develop and expand their knowledge throughout their education. As a teacher’s aide, you would play an important part in delivering the child’s lesson alongside the teacher, providing you with the chance to be an integral part of their success.
Enjoy work-life balance
As a teacher’s aide, you’ll only work during school times and have weekends off. You will also enjoy the luxury of having school holidays, which can be very accommodating if you’re a parent also. You’re not tied to a computer working late in an office but instead hands-on with students and their education and development.
Supporting students within the classroom
While the teacher is busy conducting the lesson or marking assignments, you will have the chance to spend more time with the pupils on a one-on-one level or together as groups. You will be hands-on in helping the children navigate their way through a task and help the individual to understand and develop their skill set. It may also be that you are supporting a child with disabilities both on an educational and emotional level, ensuring that their needs are met.
You play a role in the planning and running of the class
As a highly experienced teacher’s aide, you also have the opportunity to work with the teacher to help develop lesson plans and assist with daily lessons. In some cases, you may even take over the running of the class. This will also allow you to consider your teaching options and whether a teacher’s role is suited to you or not.
Opportunity to connect with students
Throughout your career as a teacher’s aide, you will be able to nurture relationships with your students. You will ultimately be a positive role model for them and help guide them throughout their education. As a teacher’s aide you will not only be assisting staff, you will be providing care and hands-on knowledge which is integral to the running of a classroom, as well as the individual students’ success throughout their education.
Although it’s a tough and sometimes testing role, childcare is an incredibly rewarding and fast-growing industry that’s perfect for anyone with a love of children and a good ability to multitask.
You can begin building the starting blocks to your career in childcare by becoming qualified, continually upskilling and gaining hands-on experience in a child-caring role. Become a part of children’s development and help them both learn and grow by diving into a childcare career.
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