Want to work with children?
If you’re passionate about taking care of children, helping them learn, and offering support in times of need, a role in childcare could be for you. But with such a wide range of jobs out there to choose from, how can you ensure you find your perfect fit?
To help you get-to-grips with your options, here are five jobs with children – and our advice on how to get your career started:
What they do: Take care of babies and children in their own homes, ensuring they feel happy and secure whilst away from their parents. Typical tasks could include anything from providing food and drink and changing nappies, to collecting children from school and organising learning-related play.
What you need: You won’t need a degree to become a Childminder, but you will need to be 18 or over, with a DBS check to ensure you’re eligible. A sense of humour, endless patience, and a love of children are also essential requirements.
What you can earn: Your salary will depend on the rate you set yourself – which is usually based on location and experience level. Generally, this will be around £8-10 per hour.
Perfect for: People who are never out of ideas (and/or energy).
Our advice: Because childminding is a self-employed role, you’ll need to register with OFSTED before you can get started. Registration requires you to gain a qualification (e.g. the CACHE Level 3 Award in Preparing to Work in Home-based Childcare), take a first-aid course, and carry out training in safeguarding children and food hygiene. A medical check, home inspection, and an interview are also prerequisites you should prepare for. Once you’ve covered these legal requirements, you’ll be able to get started as a Childminder.
What they do: Work with children and their families, in order to support and protect them through difficult times. This may involve carrying out interviews that help to assess peoples’ situations, as well as writing up reports and suggesting the best course of action for an individual or family.
What you need: You’ll need a degree or postgraduate degree in social work to become a Social Worker. Key skills for the profession include patience and resilience, as well as the ability to remain calm in tough (not to mention emotional) situations.
What you can earn: Although there are no fixed salary scales,newly qualified Social Workers will usually earn around £22,000 – which could rise up to £40,000 with experience.
Perfect for: People who thrive under pressure.
Our advice: Qualifications are key if you want to stand out to employers, and although you should be able to get started with an undergraduate degree – many recruiters will look for candidates with postgraduate degrees. It’s also vital to ensure your degree is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
What they do: Provide support and assistance to a teacher – making sure students have everything they need to get the most out of their education. Aside from offering learning support to an individual, class, or group, they’re also responsible for motivating pupils, managing behaviour, and preparing the classroom for lessons.
What you need: You won’t necessarily need a degree, but you will need experience of working with children or young people. A positive attitude, patience and a motivational personality are all must-haves for a Teaching Assistant.
What you can earn: Around £12,000 as an entry-level salary, rising up to £20,000 with experience.
Perfect for: People who aren’t afraid to put their foot down.
Our advice: Aside from finding work experience in related fields (e.g. childcare, education, tutoring etc.), gaining a Teaching Assistant qualification is also great way to stand out to employers. And, with many courses also involving training in a work-based setting, you’ll be able to hit the ground running and have the opportunity to apply your skills to the job.
What they do: Work with young people, schools, community groups, and sports organisations to promote, teach, and coach their selected sport. Whether they’re planning fun activities, giving feedback, or designing basic training programmes, it’s a Sports Coach’s job to give children the guidance they need to learn, improve, and engage with the sport.
What you need: You’ll need a nationally recognised coaching qualification (for your chosen sport) to become a Coach, with some employers looking for candidates with additional higher education qualifications (e.g. an HND in sports). Excellent motivational skills, determination, fitness and physical stamina are also important.
What you can earn: Salary expectations will vary depending on where you work, with Sports Coaches employed by local authorities able to earn around £20,000. Senior Coaches working for National Governing Bodies could earn anywhere up to £35,000 – whilst those that reach the top tier of their profession could stand to earn considerably more.
Perfect for: People who have stamina.
Our advice: Becoming a Sports Coach is all about combining relevant work experience with the right qualifications. If you’re struggling to break into full-time work straight away, start by volunteering or working part-time. Getting involved with your chosen sport wherever you can is also advisable, whether it’s through networking with local authorities or honing your abilities outside of work.
What they do: Use creative play (e.g. drawing, clay, music, and storytelling) to communicate with, understand, and help children who are struggling with a range of emotional issues – from abuse, neglect, and bereavement, through to learning difficulties, psychological problems, and dealing with their parents’ divorce. This type of therapy helps children express themselves in a safe environment, enabling Play Therapists to suggest and implement positive changes.
What you need: You’ll need a degree in a relevant subject (e.g. teaching, social services, psychotherapy), as well as a working background in these fields. A DBS check is also essential, and many employers may look for candidates with postgraduate degrees. Empathy, resilience, and an ability to work well with children are also key traits to have.
What you can earn: Entry-level Play Therapists earn around £25,000, which could rise up to £42,000 with experience.
Perfect for: People who are all work and all play.
Our advice: Start by gaining some practical experience working with children – whether it’s paid or voluntary. That way, you’ll be able to develop your skills, prove them to employers, and work your way up to becoming a Play Therapist. If you’re studying for a degree, any work placements you take during your course offer a great opportunity to gain the experience you need to start work.
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