Child Development Career Options and Requirements

Child development careers incorporate the caring for and teaching of children from birth to age five. These professionals are responsible for instilling within children a strong foundation in social and emotional, language and motor skills.

View 7 Popular Schools »

Career Options in Child Development

Day Care or Pre-School Teacher

Most commonly, child development teachers begin as a pre-school teacher's aide or assistant teacher. This allows the teacher to gain experience in the field, which is necessary for advancement into the position of teacher or lead teacher. Child development teachers can find employment within an early childhood school or Head Start program associated with a public or private school district or with a private day care facility. No matter the place of employment or exact job title, child development teachers are all responsible for teaching children through play, investigation and organized teaching methods. Child development teachers encourage creativity, language development and socialization through an age-specific curriculum.

Manage an In-Home Childcare Center

Many smaller childcare operations are run out of the home of a licensed day care or child development teacher. While the educational content is the same, there are extra responsibilities associated with this career option. For example, each state has licensing requirements that include certain safety standards, child-per-adult limitations and background checks. Legalities may also lead in-home childcare providers to insure themselves in case of an accidental injury. It is important for in-home childcare providers to have a strong reputation for safety and education in order to be successful.

Child Development Job Requirements

The legal requirements necessary to become a child development professional vary by state. Some states simply require a high school diploma; however, most also require a Child Development Associate (CDA) certification. In order to obtain a CDA, a candidate must be at least 18 years of age, possess a high school diploma, hold at least 480 hours of working with children over the past five years and have at least 120 clock hours of formal childhood education in the last five years. While this certification may not be necessary for an entry-level position, such as a teacher's aide, it is certainly helpful for advancement opportunities. Other requirements may arise for employment at certain state or federally funded centers or private schools, including an associate's or bachelor's degree in early childhood education, CPR and first aid certification, as well as one or more years of experience working with young children.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information for Child Development Careers

Demand for childcare workers, in general, may increase by 20% between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports preschool teachers and preschool and childcare center directors should see a 25% growth in employment opportunities over the same period of time. Salaries for child-development professionals can vary greatly based on the area that you choose to work in. Data from the BLS indicates childcare workers earned a median salary of $19,510 in 2012, while preschool teachers earned $27,130 and preschool and childcare center administrators earned $43,950 in median salary that year.

Show me popular schools

Related to Child Development Career Options and Requirements

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Best Child Development Programs: List of Top Schools

Learn about top-ranked schools, program descriptions and degree options in child development. Read on to decide if one of these...

Online Child Development Associate Credential: How to Earn

Preschool teachers and child care workers need more than a passion for working with children; they must also understand the...

PhD in Child Development: Program and Degree Overview

A Ph.D. program in child development can teach a student about the significant impact that social class, culture and social...

Top University in Bakersfield, CA, for a Child Development Degree

Students interested in studying child development in Bakersfield, CA, have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the...

Child Development Degree, Diploma and Certificate Program Overviews

Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Human and Social Services
        • Child Development
        • Community Organization and Advocacy
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
      • Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies
  • School locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Georgia include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Consumer Sciences
      • Human and Social Services
        • Child Development
        • Social Work
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Consumer Sciences
      • Human and Social Services
        • Child Development
        • Family and Community Services
        • Family Systems
        • Social Work
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics