Careers in child development focus on the child development process and all the changes that a human undergoes starting from birth through maturity, which is typically until the ages of 17 or 18. Children are assessed in terms of physical, cognitive and social development, with benchmarks and milestones established for each stage of growth, and it is the job of child development specialists to monitor these developmental stages and provide the necessary intervention as needed, depending on their specific role.
Childcare Facility Workers
Childcare workers provide childcare services in daycare facilities, early childhood care centers, preschools and licensed residential daycare sites. These careers in child development are entry level but critical to the childcare environment. These workers provide direct care to children whose ages may range from early infants to school age. The primary mission of the childcare worker is to create a safe environment where children can explore the world and discover new ideas.
Childcare workers must meet the minimum requirements for training, licensing and background checks for all staff who have to work directly with children as teacher assistants, classroom aides, coaches or drivers. Typically, the childcare worker is required to have a high school degree along with the mandatory training in strategies, regulations and guidelines for caring for young children. The content for this curriculum and the subsequent tests are defined by the state.
The preschool teacher acts as the lead teacher in daycare facilities. Responsibilities include developing curriculum content, planning day-to-day activities and ensuring classroom management with a focus on child safety and stimulation. As a child development specialist, the preschool teacher has to make sure that children receive a level of care that complies with state-established standards. Additionally, the preschool teacher takes charge of benchmark assessments to identify the children who may need timely intervention from behavior specialists, pediatricians and therapists.
Preschool teachers are required to have a bachelor’s degree in early education or a combination of classroom experience and completion of an associate’s in education, childcare development specialist or childcare certification. Additional credentialing and certifications may be required for preschool teachers seeking employment in the public school system.
Daycare Facility Director
The daycare facility director manages the day-to-day operations of a childcare facility, daycare center or a prekindergarten school. The director may or may note take on classroom duties although many will serve as floater teachers to make sure that class sizes comply with ratios set by state rules.
The daycare facility director will be familiar with child development issues because this is a position that usually starts as a childcare worker or preschool teacher. The director will also be involved in coordinating developmental screening according to recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control.
Social workers play a crucial role in the early childhood environment. Careers in child development may start with involvement as childcare facility regulators and inspectors. It is the job of the social worker to do site visits to observe processes and practices to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations. Social workers will identify problem areas and recommend actionable solutions. Social workers serve as the liaison between childcare facilities and child development experts, including therapists and medical practitioners.
Related Resource: Top 10 Online Child Development Bachelor’s Degree Programs 2018
Careers in child development are considered some of the most fulfilling for those who like working with children. Working with very young children and having a hand in molding young minds brings great satisfaction for those who are compassionate and committed to advocating for children.