CHILD CARE WORKERS (AIDES) California Occupational Guide Number 505 Interest Area 10 1995
CHILD CARE WORKERS take care of infants and young children, usually while the children's parents are at work or school. In some facilities they care for school-age children before or after school. Aides work in child care centers, preschools, nursery schools and other child development facilities. Sometimes aides are called teaching assistants, instructional aides, or nursery aides.
Aides are primarily assistants to teachers in child care centers and are always under the direction of a teacher or director. They assist teachers in the care, supervision and learning activities of children.
Aides participate in individual and group activities with the children, such as art, story telling, music and outdoor play. They assist children in learning health, eating and cleanliness habits. Encouragement and support of the children is a major duty, as is maintaining discipline. Aides help children to be tolerant, patient and understanding of others. Many responsibilities of the aide are centered around the maintenance of a well-organized and neat classroom. Aides make sure that the appropriate equipment and materials are ready for scheduled activities and that toys and other materials are put away. They also assist with snacks, wash dishes, clean toilet areas, change sheets on cribs or cots and wash and sanitize toys and play equipment.
Centers may be found in houses, churches, schools, workplaces, new buildings, or converted spaces in business districts. Child development facilities are also located in public parks, playgrounds or public school grounds. Working with children involves extensive physical activity and mental alertness. Good general health, physical stamina and emotional stability are essential.
The following information is from the California Projections of Employment published by the Labor Market Information Division.
Estimated number of workers in 1990 17,890 Estimated number of workers in 2005 26,190 Projected Growth 1990-2005 46% Estimated openings due to separations by 2005 3,290
(These figures do not include self-employment nor openings due to turnover.)
More than 10,800 licensed child care centers exist in California, and the number will rise over the next few years. Recent public awareness of the shortage of child care facilities has stimulated proposals for increased private, as well as public, funded programs. Employer sponsored child care facilities, both on and off site, have more than quadrupled during the past five years.
While they represent a scant six percent of total licensed facilities, projections for employer sponsored centers indicate a remarkable increase throughout the 1990s. However, substantial increases will depend, like other businesses, on the State's economic climate.
Although the growth rate for Child Care Workers during the 1990-2005 projection period will be faster than average for all occupations, most of the demand will be the need to replace workers leaving the occupation through promotion or career change.
Generally there is a large pool of applicants, but many lack the necessary commitment required by the job. Seasonally unemployed teacher aides may also compete for available jobs.
WAGES, HOURS, AND FRINGE BENEFITS
Wages for aides vary widely depending upon the area, whether private or government funded, or if part of a public school system program. Workers new to the field earn between $4.25 and $8.15 an hour. Salaries for experienced aides range from $4.25 to $12.75 hourly, while those with the most experience and training have an hourly range of $4.75 to $15.
Most of the work is part-time, usually from two to six hours a day. There are centers, however, that require aides to work full-time. Fringe benefits also vary widely. Most employers provide few benefits. Most common benefits are paid vacation, sick leave, medical coverage, and holiday leave. Centers covered by the Public Employment Retirement System provide employee retirement benefits.
ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING
Child care centers are subject to the California Department of Social Services licensing regulations. All aides must be in good health and have criminal record clearance, including fingerprinting. Those aides in infant centers (children under two years of age) must be high school graduates, or be enrolled in a course leading to completion of high school or have demonstrated through experience a capability for learning the job. Some experience in caring for children is also necessary. For those aides who work with children over two years of age, the regulations require the applicant to be at least 18 years of age, or if the applicant is not 18, then high school graduation or enrollment in an occupational training program is needed.
Employers view these requirements as the absolute minimum for their staff. Child care center directors usually look for knowledge of early childhood development, knowledge of child guidance principles and practices and ability to work harmoniously with children, parents and staff members. Many employers prefer that applicants possess an early childhood education certificate.
Employers generally require the ability to interact well with others and an indication of a good work record. Many require bilingual skills (usually English/Spanish) and the ability to work well under pressure. Health screening, including a chest x-ray, is required.
In child care centers, the aide position is usually the entry job. With additional education and work experience, aides can be promoted to teacher, head teacher, and finally director. Aides can receive a Children's Center Instructional Permit, issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, after they complete 24 hours of early childhood education courses and 16 hours toward a B.A. Degree. Emergency instructional permits can be granted to aides who have completed 12 hours of early childhood education courses, and have a minimum of two years children's center experience, when critical teacher shortages occur.
FINDING THE JOB
Child care center aides should apply directly to nursery schools, preschools and local public schools. The California Child Care Resource and Referral Network is represented by an agency in practically every county and is a source of job openings information. The local resource and referral agency telephone number is located in the yellow pages under the heading of Child Care Centers. Positions are also listed with the California Employment Development Department, Job Match Program. Job openings are frequently advertised in newspapers.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION
California Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division 2400 Glendale Lane, Suite C Sacramento, CA 95825 (916) 574-2346
RELATED OCCUPATIONAL GUIDES
Preschool Teachers No. 275 Teacher Aides No. 502
OCCUPATIONAL CODE REFERENCES
DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles, 4th ed. Rev 1) Child-Care Attendant, School 355.674-010 Nursery School Attendant 359.677-018 Playroom Attendant 359.677-026
OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) System Child Care Workers 680380
Source: State of California, Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group, (916) 262-2162.