Childhood education is an extremely female-dominated industry, but, in the last few years, male childcare workers are becoming more common. As Australia slowly breaks away from the gender stereotype that only women could or should work with young children, it’s an excellent time for males to look into childcare work as a viable career choice.
Childcare Workers Explained
Childcare workers generally work with children of all ages between 0-12. There’s a high demand for childcare works in both full-time and part-time roles, such as:
Childhood educators are required to be in frequent contact with parents, guardians and schools to ensure the most supportive and collaborative environment for the child. Because these early years are essential for a child’s development, both socially and intellectually, childcare workers are an integral part of these developmental years.
Some of the key responsibilities that childcare workers have are:
Future industry growth for childcare is very strong, with an estimated 36,800 job openings per year until 2023. Furthermore, childcare work offers both full-time and part-time roles. Currently, 47% of childcare workers work full-time. That means there’s plenty of opportunities to work part-time if you need the flexibility to focus on other priorities, such as family.
Future industry growth for childcare is very strong, with an estimated 36,800 job openings per year until 2023. Furthermore, childcare work offers both full-time and part-time roles. Currently, 47% of current childcare worker work full-time. That means there’s plenty of opportunities to work part-time if you need the flexibility to focus on other priorities, such as family.
The average childcare worker wage is $21-$30 per hour, depending on the centre, the childcare worker’s education and experience. 31.8% of childcare workers obtain a Diploma or Advanced Diploma of Education, with another 25.6% completing a Certificate III or IV.
Currently, 95% of childcare workers are female, and this needs to change.
Breaking Old Stereotypes
To be a childcarer has always been considered women’s work. The assumption that women are more “nurturing” by nature has led to attitudes that they are best suited to jobs involving children. As much as we would like to deny it, we are often surprised when we meet or hear of a male childcare worker because, for generations, it wasn’t considered a “man’s job.”
What’s important to realize here is that the children won’t notice an abnormality in having a male teacher – rather the parents might. It takes a lot of preparation and trust for some parents to put their child’s safety in someone else’s hands.
Children won’t notice an abnormality in having a male teacher – rather the parents might.
Hence, there’s sometimes misplaced apprehension when this person is a male carer. These hesitations come from a place of unfamiliarity and the remnants of old attitudes. In the back of parents’ minds, these can cause worries that perhaps a male presence won’t be as nurturing or patient as a female’s, or that a male’s presence is incompatible with the industry.
We are slowly dismantling gender stereotypes, as new evidence displays that male figures in childcare are exceptionally beneficial and essential for a child’s development.
Slowly but surely, the childcare industry is becoming more accepting and supportive of male carers.
A study conducted by the former National Childcare Accreditation Council (NCAC), and current Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority, found that a male presence in a childcare environment:
It’s also important to note that as males become more involved with this industry, there’s more research and steps put in place to encourage the recruitment of male childcare workers. Slowly but surely, the childcare industry is becoming more accepting and supportive of male carers.
How to Become a Childcare Worker
Most childcare workers obtain either a nationally recognized Certificate or Diploma qualification in Childcare or Education. Each qualification takes a different length of study to complete. There are courses available in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland, and Northern Territory.
A Certificate III or IV in Childcare or Early Childhood Education & Care is a great stepping stone into the childcare industry and is one of the most popular qualifications for this industry. A certificate will teach you all the basics there is to know when it comes to caring for and educating children within the requirements of the Education and Care Services National Regulations, as well as the National Quality Standard. Many who complete this qualification find themselves working in daycare centres.
A Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care or a Diploma of Child Care is a more advanced qualification that takes longer to complete. With a diploma, you can enter the workforce at a higher level due to your more in-depth knowledge of learning frameworks, strategies and child handling. Many who complete this qualification progress into senior positions as they gain experience, including childcare centre managers.
Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education
For those who wish to jump headfirst into this industry, and become a fully qualified early childhood teacher, a Bachelor’s degree is a great idea. A Bachelor’s degree is usually three years of full-time study, including work placement. It will give you the tools and in-depth knowledge of child development, learning frameworks, and leadership qualities you will need to become a senior carer or manager.
The benefits of having more men in childcare are becoming increasingly apparent, causing the stigma of hiring males as child carers to be less present. So, if you’re a nurturing, fun-loving guy who loves helping children learn, the childcare industry needs you!
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