Childcare specialists work in daycare centers, at people's homes or within their own residences to care for children whose parents are at work or unavailable. They provide opportunities for children that stimulate physical growth as well as social, emotional and intellectual development. To work in a daycare or to provide care for a child, there are certain childcare qualifications that an individual typically must have, including education and a license, and childcare workers must also meet any jurisdiction-regulated qualifications to provide care in their own homes. Other skills for this position typically include patience and enthusiasm.
While many childcare positions can be obtained with only a high school diploma, some publicly funded organizations or daycare centers require a certificate, among other childcare qualifications, to watch a child. In the United States, for instance, the National Child Care Association provides a Certified Childcare Professional (CCP) diploma, and the Council for Professional Recognition offers a Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate. Other jurisdictions may have regulating bodies that offer similar certifications.
Such credentials may be required by some employers, and some may also require an associate's degree in early childhood education or child development, or other related college-level coursework; others prefer to do their own childcare training. While most regions do not have educational childcare requirements for those looking to work in their own homes, some administrative and management positions in daycare facilities often require a bachelor's or master's degree.
Most childcare or daycare facilities must be licensed in the their respective jurisdictions, even if the childcare specialist is not required to obtain a license. In many areas of the US, this law also applies to individuals who provide care for children in their own residences. To obtain a license, specialists usually must be adequately immunized and must pass a background check. In order to meet other childcare qualifications, candidates may also need to obtain certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and maintain on-going training in safety and health as well as meet an employer's minimum training requirement guidelines.
Other childcare qualifications include skills that cannot be obtained through formal education, such as enthusiasm, empathy, patience and energy. A background in storytelling, music and art is also helpful and can be used to creatively teach children about life lessons. An effective specialist also has good communication skills and is an excellent problem solver. A childcare specialist must be able to recognize opportunities to teach basic concepts in science and math as well as language development and social skills. Additionally, specialists who provide childcare services in their own homes should have a sound understanding of management and business practices.