Thinking of moving into child care? All over Australia more and more people are choosing a career in child care, and with good reason. Working in child care is both rewarding and satisfying and it is an in-demand occupation. Child care is Australia’s fourth biggest predicted area of employment growth, which means that jobs are available, that child care pay is likely to increase and that now is the perfect time to start thinking about gaining some child care qualifications. We answer some of your most frequent questions about how to be a child care worker.
Am I suited to a career in child care?
If you didn’t already know that you love working with children then you probably wouldn’t be reading this article, but there is more to child care than this, to feel fulfilled whilst working in child care you will also need the following:
- Energy: A combination of energy and stamina, energy to keep up with kids’ antics and enthusiasm, and stamina to keep going all day and sometimes all night.
- Responsibility: A sense of responsibility because when you are in charge of children, you are ‘in loco parentis’ in other words you have the same responsibilities to care for them as a parent does.
- Flexibility: Because children rarely fit into fixed schedules. Routine is important but a good child carer will always be prepared to divert from that routine should the necessity arise.
- Self-confidence: As well as the ability to appropriately demonstrate authority. Parents or child care facilities will have certain rules and it will be your job to enforce them.
- Empathy: This is needed because when a child is playing up, it can be difficult to appreciate their point of view. However it will be up to you to find a solution that suits everybody.
Are qualifications necessary for working in child care?
Although you can do unofficial babysitting or child minding work without qualifications, the Australian government is tightening up on qualification levels for child care workers. The minimum national qualification requirement for centre based child care for birth to preschool aged children is a Certificate III level qualification. The qualification requirements for centre-based child care for children over preschool age differ from state to state but a Certificate III qualification is the more usual expectation. For family day care services, the minimal qualification level is also Certificate III for children of any age.
If you hold a Diploma level qualification in child care you will be more employable because there are government regulations about the ratio of Diploma and Certificate qualified educators. For example 50% of educators in a centre that cares for birth to preschool age children must hold a Diploma level qualification.
Can I get work experience whilst gaining child care qualifications?
Work experience is always a good idea in any field. It gives you the opportunity to find out whether or not you are a good fit for the job and helps you to decide where you would like to specialise. However, if you want to gain work experience in child care you will need to be able to demonstrate that you are actively working towards your Certificate III level qualification.
This means that you will have enrolled in a course, started study and be making satisfactory progress. Work experience and study can compliment each other and you will find that learning through both practical experience and theory is a great combination. Online child care qualifications are a particularly flexible and affordable way to gain your qualifications and won’t interfere with work experience. Online qualifications are also a great solution if you are working and raising a family.
Will I be able to get a job in child care once I have qualified?
The 2016 Department of Employment Outlook to November projections predict that Australia will need 31,300 more child care workers in the years up to 2020. In fact, ‘Child Carers’ shows as Australia’s fourth biggest growth sector, well above ‘Primary School Teachers’, ‘Education Aides’ and ‘Café and Restaurant Managers’. This means that child care pay is set to improve and that there has never been a better time to get yourself child care qualifications.
What are the career progression opportunities in child care?
The great thing about this job sector is that, once you have your child care qualifications and have gained some experience, you will have a number of different career opportunities open to you. You might eventually consider further training to become a primary or early childhood teacher or you could even one day manage your own child care facility.
How can Upskilled help me with my child care career?
Upskilled are one of Australia’s biggest RTOs (Registered Training Organisations) and offer 2 flexible online child care courses. The Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care for those starting out in their child care careers and the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care for those who want to advance into leader, supervisor or management roles. Get in touch with one of our friendly advisers today for more information.