If you find hanging out with children more enjoyable than spending time with other adults, a career that involves working with kids could be a great fit for you. This can take a range of forms, including pediatric health professions, child psychology, teaching or childcare. Depending on the career, you could work in a larger organization, for yourself as an entrepreneur or as a government employee. If careers working with children pique your interest, read on to learn about the options available in this space and how you can get a job doing what you love.
Why work with children?
Working with children has a number of benefits. For starters, as many parents can tell you from firsthand experience, kids are just fun to be around because they have a unique perspective on life. Working with children also keeps you young and allows you to engage in play (such as fingerpainting) that simply isn't part of many office-based jobs. Additionally, working with children teaches patience, which can help make it easier to work with adults, too.
If you have children of your own, working in a child-focused career can help make you better at caring for and raising your own children. If you're around children all the time, you'll pick up on best practices for childrearing, which you can implement with your own kids.
10 Jobs that work with children.
1. Elementary school teacher
Odds are, this is one of the first jobs that come to mind when you think of careers that involve working with children. Elementary school teachers are involved in shaping kids' lives during one of the most crucial times in their development as thinkers and people. Study.com reports that to be an elementary school teacher, you'll need a bachelor's degree and a state teaching license or certification to work in public schools. Additionally, you may also need to participate in teacher education programs, internships or training. Some elementary teachers also hold master's degrees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual wage of $59,420 for elementary school teachers (excluding special educators) in May 2018.
2. Early childhood educator/preschool teacher
If working with very young children is more your speed, a career as an early childhood educator or preschool teacher could be the right fit for you. In this career, you'll take care of young children and help them develop confidence through fun learning projects and interactions with you and their peers. Study.com reports that you'll need a minimum of a high school diploma or associate's degree; however, if you want to work in a public school, you'll likely need a bachelor's degree. Additionally, many states require a Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate. Finally, CPR and first aid certifications may also be required. The BLS reported a median annual wage of $29,780 for preschool teachers in May 2018.
3. Child and family social worker
If you want to work with troubled children and their families to help resolve their problems, being a child and family social worker may be a great choice of career. In this job, you'll offer support to children and their families to address abuse, neglect and serious mental or physical illness. You'll also help parents access resources to keep children in the home or return to the home. Study.com reports that you'll typically need a bachelor's degree or a master's degree in social work for this career. Additionally, you'll need to obtain state licensure or professional registration in your state of employment. The BLS reported a mean annual wage of $49,790 and a mean hourly wage of $23.92 for child, family and school social workers in May 2018.
4. Private nanny
If the idea of working closely with a single family to care for their children appeals to you, being a private nanny is a great choice for you. In this career, you'll work with a family for all their day-to-day childcare needs, often living with the family in their home (generally at a free or discounted rate). Oftentimes, you'll develop a strong bond with the children you care for. Educational requirements to be a nanny are highly variable, and depend what individual families are looking for. While it doesn't have salary information for nannies, the BLS reported a median annual pay of $23,240 and a median hourly wage of $11.17 for childcare workers in May 2018.
If you love both books and children, being a librarian could be the perfect fit for you. As a librarian, you'll introduce children to the power of books and organize library-based activities, such as storytime, for young children. The American Library Association (ALA) reports that the majority of employers require an ALA-accredited Master's in Library & Information Studies for professional positions. The BLS reported a mean annual wage of $59,050 for librarians in May 2018.
6. Camp director
For those who love children and the outdoors, being a camp director is a great career choice. This is especially true if you yourself were a "camp kid" growing up, in which case being a camp director can help you relive your own fond camp memories. Academic Invest reports that you'll most likely need a bachelor's degree in Camp Management, Outdoor Recreation, Recreational Leadership, Management or a related field for this career. The BLS reported a median annual wage of $25,060 for recreation workers and a median hourly wage of $12.05/hour in May 2018.
7. Museum educator
For most museums, children and youth groups comprise the bulk of their visitors. Due to this, museums often have employees dedicated to ensuring that youth visitors' educational needs are fulfilled. If you like museums and kids, this is a potentially great fit for you. For this career, Museum.Jobs reports that you'll typically need a degree in something similar to education, museum studies or public history as well as previous work experience in education. The BLS reported a median annual wage of $48,400 for archivists, curators and museum workers in May 2018.
8. Pediatric registered nurse
If you're science-minded and also like working with children, becoming a pediatric registered nurse could be a fulfilling science- and children-related career for you. In this job, you'll perform screenings to ensure that children are developing at normal rates, treat common childhood illnesses, such as ear infections, and administer immunizations. EveryNurse.org reports that you'll need an associate of science in nursing or a bachelor of science in nursing, pass the national Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) and get certified as a pediatric nurse through the Pediatric Nurse Certification Board. The BLS reported a median annual wage of $71,730 for registered nurses in May 2018.
9. Child party entertainer
If you have a flair for theatrics and love for children, you may enjoy being an entertainer-for-hire for children's parties and other special events involving kids. For this career, you won't need any particular education — but you will need some talent that you can leverage into an entertaining act. The BLS doesn't have salary information for this career.
10. Juvenile justice attorney
If you're interested in the law and also want to work with children, being a juvenile justice attorney could be your calling. In this role, you'll speak on juvenile clients' behalf and ensure they're treated justly by by the courts. To become a juvenile attorney, Legal Career Path reports you'll need a bachelor's degree and a law degree, and then to pass the bar in the state where you want to practice. The BLS reported a median annual wage of $120,910 for lawyers in May 2018.
Steps for getting a job working with children
1. Tailor your resumé to relevant experiences or skills
If you have childcare experience (babysitting counts), highlighting this on your resumé will help make you a more attractive candidate for jobs that involve working with children. If you don't have direct childcare experience, highlight relevant skills, such as teaching, organizing groups or leadership-based experiences that show you have applicable skills you can bring to the job.
2. Volunteer with children-based organizations
If you're looking to boost your resumé for jobs working with children, consider volunteering with nonprofits that serve children. Being a Big Brother or Big Sister, coaching a youth sports team or similar activities can be major bonuses for prospective employers looking to hire you to work with kids. All for Good, a government-funded website matching volunteers with organizations that work with children, is a great resource for finding these opportunities.
3. Gather positive references
Many child-focused careers will want to speak to references in the course of their hiring processes. Talking to people whose children you've cared for in the past helps them understand more about your childcare style and is an important background check step for many organizations. With this in mind, you'll want to gather positive references who will speak positively of you when contacted by prospective future employers.
With all of this information, you're now empowered to find a great job working with children. Should this be your career choice, look forward to a fulfilling career that truly shapes young peoples' futures.