How to Become a

Day Care Worker

The complete career guide to be a Day Care Worker: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $22,310
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 5.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

Day care workers provide care for children from infancy through their teenage years during times when parents or other family members are unavailable. They watch over children to ensure they’re safe, provide meals and snacks, orchestrate educational activities, and provide entertainment.

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What is a Day Care Worker?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in day care worker roles:

  • Provide care for infants, children, and adolescents when parents are other caregivers are unavailable
  • Ensure environments are safe for children, and prevent accidents
  • Design and orchestrate creative and educational activities for children
  • Ensure basic needs are cared for by changing diapers, providing meals and snacks, and enforcing nap times
  • Keep children happy by organizing entertaining games and activities

A Day in the Life

Day care workers care for infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents while their parents are at work and unable to provide care. They may work for day cares where all-day supervision is provided, or they may work for before- and after-school care programs, caring for school-aged children. Day care workers are responsible for ensuring that children’s needs are being met while under the care of the facility, and they may change diapers, enforce nap times, and provide meals and snacks.

In addition to meeting children’s basic needs, day care workers are also responsible for ensuring the safety of the children in their care. This requires them to be constantly aware of all activities to ensure children are all accounted for, are not engaging in reckless behaviors, and do not come into contact with dangerous items in their environments. They must prevent children from fighting amongst each other, standing in areas where falls are likely, or wandering out of supervised areas alone.

Additionally, most day cares also offer education components and programs, and day care workers are in charge of orchestrating these opportunities. They may play educational games, conduct creative activities, or help children with their homework. They also work to keep children entertained throughout the day by introducing toys and games, supervising children on field trips, and moving children to and from different play areas throughout the day for environment variation.

Typical Work Schedule

While more day care worker jobs are full-time than part-time, many part-time job schedules are available for day care workers. For the most part, day care workers work during daytime hours during the normal work week and are off on weekends and holidays. However, because they must be available before and after normal business hours, they may need to begin work very early in the day or work into the early evening.

Typical Employers

Most day care workers are hired by private day care facilities. However, day care workers may also be hired by preschools, elementary or middle schools, or nonprofit organizations like churches or the YMCA.

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How To Become a Day Care Worker

In general, a high school diploma is sufficient for finding work as a day care worker. However, day care workers are usually required to pass background checks and have all required immunizations to ensure the safety of the children they care for. Experience as a babysitter as a teenager can be helpful for finding work as a day care worker because parents you’ve babysat for can provide references to potential employers. Volunteer work with children can also help candidates stand out.

Some states and programs have more strict requirements for day care facility workers and may require employees to be trained in CPR and first aid. Additionally, government-sponsored preschool programs—such as Head Start programs—may require day care workers to have or be pursuing a postsecondary certificate or degree in a related field. For this reason, career day care workers may benefit from college coursework that leads to a certificate or degree in a related field.

A certificate, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education can be beneficial for aspiring day care workers who want to move into higher-paying positions later in their career. For example, a degree is usually required to work as a day care or preschool administrator. Additionally, higher education is usually required for any role that requires state licensing, so aspiring day care workers can significantly expand their advancement options by pursuing a certificate or degree after high school.

Day Care Worker Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Day Care Worker salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Day Care Worker's can make an average annual salary of $22,310, or $11 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $18,290 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #797 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Day Care Worker. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Day Care Workers

  • 0.5%   Doctorate
  • 3.1%   Masters
  • 14.2%   Bachelors
  • 10.1%   Associates
  • 26.6%   College
  • 32.2%   High School
  • 13.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Day Care Worker job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 69,300 jobs for a total of 1,329,900 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #405 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Day Care Workers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 341,400 15,800 16%
Child day care services 305,500 23,400 24%
Private households 256,000 6,100 6%

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