Childcare workers
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Overview
Childcare workers attend to the basic needs of children, such as dressing, bathing, feeding, and overseeing play. They may help younger children prepare for kindergarten or assist older children with homework.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for childcare workers are expected to grow by 7%, and should have about 202,700 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Childcare workers are less likely to be automated than 77% of other careers.
Workforce size
Childcare workers, with 1,216,600 workers, form a larger workforce than 97% of careers.
Education
Only 18% of childcare workers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by childcare workers
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
This is near the middle of all careeers' percentages of bachelor's holders.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for 98% of all other jobs is higher than the middle salary for childcare workers. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most childcare workers.
This job's median $23KAll jobs' median $39K$21K$38K20142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 95% of childcare workers -- that's a larger percentage than 99% of other jobs.
Gender of childcare workers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For childcare workers, the median men's salary was 13% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 25% of childcare workers are minority, and 23% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of childcare workers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (23%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Childcare Workers per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 16% of childcare workers, and 19% have company-sponsored health insurance (29% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for childcare workers
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of childcare workers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (59%)
  • Consequence of Error (57%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (50%)
  • Time Pressure (38%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (35%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do childcare workers earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for childcare workers, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for childcare workers compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for childcare workers (BLS Salary Data)
$23K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$23K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all childcare workers, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for childcare workers compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for childcare workers (ACS Salary Data)
$20K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$20K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where childcare workers work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Childcare workers (ACS)
Private for-profit (40.3%)
Private not-for-profit (8.2%)
Local government (5.8%)
State government (2.8%)
Federal government (1.3%)
Self-employed incorporated (4.3%)
Self-employed not incorporated (36.8%)
Working without pay (0.5%)
Distribution: Salaries of childcare workers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$20K$19K$19K$24K$21K$25K$20K$20K$10K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Working without paySelf-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of childcare workers by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$23K$25K$23K$26K$0$10,000$20,000$30,000$40,000$50,000State governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for childcare workers

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$20K$21K$22K$21K$20K$21K$20K$22K$14K$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
020K40K60K80K100KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Childcare workers and gender

With 95% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 99% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
95%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Childcare workers
Men (5%)
Women (95%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for childcare workers, with the median salary for men 13% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$20K$22K$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Childcare workers have one of the middle percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job higher than that for 35% of other jobs.

13%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of childcare workers

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority childcare workers than for 74% of other careers. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of childcare workers
White (67% )
Black (17% )
Other (8% )
Asian (3% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
25%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
23%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for childcare workers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$17K$17K$19K$19K$20K$21K$21K$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50KAmerican IndianOtherHispanicMultiracialWhiteAsianBlack
Distribution: Salaries for childcare workers by nativity
$19K$20K$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by childcare workers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), childcare workers typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as childcare workers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for childcare workers.

Education attained by childcare workers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for childcare workers

Childcare workers must meet education and training requirements, which vary by state. Some states require these workers to have a high school diploma or equivalent, but many states do not have any education requirements for entry-level positions. However, workers with postsecondary education or an early childhood education credential may be qualified for higher level positions.

Employers often prefer to hire workers with at least a high school diploma and, in some cases, postsecondary education in early childhood education.

Workers in Head Start programs must at least be enrolled in a program in which they will earn a postsecondary degree in early childhood education or a child development credential.

States do not regulate educational requirements for nannies. However, some employers may prefer to hire workers with at least some formal instruction in childhood education or a related field, particularly when they will be hired as full-time nannies.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for childcare workers

Many states require childcare centers, including those in private homes, to be licensed. To qualify for licensure, staff must pass a background check, have a complete record of immunizations, and meet a minimum training requirement. Some states require staff to have certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid.

Some states and employers require childcare workers to have a nationally recognized credential. Most often, states require the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. Obtaining the CDA credential requires coursework, experience in the field, and a period during which the applicant is observed while working with children. The CDA credential is valid for 3 years and requires renewal.

The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) offers a nationally recognized accreditation for family childcare providers. This accreditation requires training and experience in the field, as well as a period during which the applicant is observed while working with children.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for childcare workers? Below we see the distribution of childcare workers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as childcare workers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$15K$18K$19K$21K$24K$26K$21K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KNone (10%)High School (32%)Some College (29%)Associate's Degree (10%)Bachelor's Degree (15%)Master's Degree (3%)Professional Deg/Doct (0%)
Certificate/degree pathways

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click the program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Program
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Less than bachelor's
bachelor's degree
Higher than bachelor's
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Child Care Provider/Assistant
19,199
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for childcare workers

What jobs will most childcare workers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of childcare workers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Childcare workersTeacher assistantsPreschool and kindergarten teachersPersonal care aidesMaids and housekeeping cleanersEducation administratorsElementary and middle school teachersCashiers
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for childcare workers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 6 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as childcare workers as well as 1% of respondents after working as childcare workers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for childcare workers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Cashiers
659,300
$0$200K$20K
Personal care aides
418,400
$0$200K$22K
Maids and housekeeping cleaners
207,700
$0$200K$20K
Teacher assistants
148,000
$0$200K$21K
Preschool and kindergarten teachers
70,500
$0$200K$25K
Education administrators
45,800
$0$200K$68K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for childcare workers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as childcare workers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of childcare workers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for childcare workers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Cashiers
659,300
$0$200K$20K
1.3%
Personal care aides
418,400
$0$200K$22K
1.5%
Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides
380,800
$0$200K$25K
1.3%
Maids and housekeeping cleaners
207,700
$0$200K$20K
1.1%
Childcare workers
202,700
$0$200K$20K
45.1%
Teacher assistants
148,000
$0$200K$21K
3.1%
Preschool and kindergarten teachers
70,500
$0$200K$25K
5.1%
Education administrators
45,800
$0$200K$68K
1.8%
No occupation
20.1%
Read about childcare workers
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Childcare workers typically do the following:

  • Supervise and monitor the safety of children
  • Prepare and organize mealtimes and snacks for children
  • Help children keep good hygiene
  • Change the diapers of infants and toddlers
  • Organize activities or implement a curriculum that allows children to learn about the world and explore their interests
  • Develop schedules and routines to ensure that children have enough physical activity, rest, and playtime
  • Watch for signs of emotional or developmental problems in children and bring them to the attention of their parents
  • Keep records of children’s progress, routines, and interests

Childcare workers read and play with babies and toddlers to introduce basic concepts, such as manners. For example, they teach them how to share and take turns by playing games with other children.

Childcare workers help preschool-age children prepare for kindergarten. Young children learn from playing, solving problems, questioning, and experimenting. Childcare workers use play and other instructional techniques to help children’s development. For example, they use storytelling and rhyming games to teach language and vocabulary. They may help improve children’s social skills by having them work together to build something in a sandbox. Childcare workers may teach math by having children count when building with blocks. They also involve the children in creative activities, such as art, dance, and music.

Childcare workers may watch school-age children before and after school. They often help these children with homework and may take them to afterschool activities, such as sports practices and club meetings.

During the summer, when children are out of school, childcare workers may watch older children as well as younger ones for the entire day while the parents are at work.

The following are examples of types of childcare workers:

Childcare center workers work in teams in childcare centers including programs that offer Head Start and Early Head Start. They often work with preschool teachers and teacher assistants to teach children through a structured curriculum. They prepare daily and long-term schedules of activities to stimulate and educate the children in their care. They also monitor and keep records of the children’s progress.

Family childcare providers care for children in the providers’ own homes during traditional working hours. They need to ensure that their homes and all staff they employ meet the regulations for family childcare providers. They perform tasks related to running their business, such as writing contracts that set rates of pay, when payment can be expected, and the number of hours children can be in care. Furthermore, they establish policies including those regarding whether sick children can be in their care, who can pick children up, and how behavioral issues will be dealt with. Family childcare providers may spend some of their time marketing their services to prospective families.

Nannies work in the homes of the children they care for and the parents that employ them. Most often, they work full time for one family. They may be responsible for driving children to school, appointments, or afterschool activities. Some live in the homes of the families that employ them.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of childcare workers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Communication skills
Childcare workers must be able to talk with parents and colleagues about the progress of the children in their care. They need good speaking skills to provide this information effectively and good listening skills to understand parents’ instructions.
Decisionmaking skills
Good judgment is necessary for childcare workers so they can respond to emergencies or difficult situations.
Instructional skills
Childcare workers need to be able to explain things in terms young children can understand.
Interpersonal skills
Childcare workers need to work well with people in order to develop good relationships with parents, children, and colleagues.
Patience
Working with children can be frustrating, so childcare workers need to be able to respond calmly to overwhelming and difficult situations.
Physical stamina
Working with children can be physically taxing, so childcare workers should have a lot of energy.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for childcare workers
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) for 98% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for childcare workers. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $23KAll jobs' median $39K$22K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for childcare workers are anticipated to grow by 7% over the next decade; 51% of jobs are projected to grow more.

The projected employment for childcare workers is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

20002010202020300500,0001,000,0001,500,0002,000,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most childcare workers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as childcare workers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Childcare Workers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.02.04.06.08.010.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where childcare workers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for childcare workers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for childcare workers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Childcare Workers to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which childcare workers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.20.40.60.81.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Childcare workers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
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Physical Abilities
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