Sometimes life can get in the way of going back to school—but enough is enough. It’s obvious that your job has become a dead end and you need to do something to begin advancing in your career. Plus, you know it’s the right thing for the future of your family.
Maybe you’ve been thinking about working with kids. Raising your family has given you first-hand experience and made it clear that you want a career working with children. You’re the kind of person who has the patience and creativity to care for kids and make a difference in their lives.
It seems like a perfect fit but you still have some hesitations because you’ve never worked with children in a professional setting. But don’t let that stop you! Instead, do your homework to learn how you can prepare yourself to get a job in daycare without experience.
Keep reading for some expert advice on everything you need to know about how to get a job at a daycare without experience.
Tip #1: get certified
Getting licensed is the first step when it comes to working in childcare or at a daycare. To get a daycare job without experience, you’ll need at least a high school diploma paired with an early childhood education (ECE) certification.
Certification programs vary and typically take about a year to complete, which will allow you to get on the fast-track to launching your career in childcare. Many programs also give you the option to become certified and return later to complete your schooling if you choose to pursue an associate’s or bachelor degree in early ECE.
If you’re thinking about opting for a certification alone, keep in mind that most childcare providers, such as Head Start programs and public school centers, do require an associate or a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
An ECE degree could set you apart from the pack and help you advance your career faster. It also shows potential employers that you’re serious and dedicated to your career. You may begin as a teacher but could progress to overseeing multiple classrooms, become a daycare director, or even open your own daycare center. The fact is that an ECE degree provides more options for employment.
Besides a degree or certification, you’ll likely be asked to provide vaccination records and pass a background check as well. You may also be required to undergo first aid and CPR training.
Tip #2: highlight your courses
You may not have 10 years of experience in a daycare but don’t dismiss all of your other relevant experience, especially from the classroom. Education and child development courses are extremely applicable to daycare positions and can be great resume boosters. A variety of coursework shows potential employers you have a well-rounded background that has prepared you for working in a daycare.
How do you make the connections between your courses and your career? Well, for example, developmental psychology is very applicable to a classroom setting because it’s prepared you to nurture a child’s developmental needs. A course in sociology has helped you become aware of and sensitive to cultural differences amongst children of different backgrounds. An interpersonal communications course can demonstrate your ability to interact with clarity and ease.
You get the idea! Additionally, if you have special areas of interest and expertise, such as music, math, art or a foreign language, don’t forget to include these. They may come in handy in the classroom as well!
Tip #3: gain experience in school
Yes, working and attending college is no easy task. But gaining some experience with kids outside of the classroom before you graduate can really make the difference when looking for employment. After all, there are many options for those looking to gain experience in childcare while still in school.
Offering to babysit for friends or family is a great way to gain valuable experience working one-on-one or in a small-group setting with children other than your own. Babysitting also allows you to experience working with children of varying ages to see which you enjoy most, according to Hope Oriabure-King, founder of Black-Tie Babysitting.
You could also volunteer with children. Volunteering in an after-school program or a summer camp is a great way to acquire hands-on experience, according to Resume Genius career adviser Mark Slack. Another option is to reach out to local churches and work with children’s ministries or Sunday school programs, adds Rebecca Stewart, founder of VIP Nannies.
You could also coach a sports team or volunteer in a nonprofit that serves children. Following childcare and education blogs and newsletters is a fun and easy way to stay informed on industry happenings, according to Oriabure-King.
Tip #4: showcase your relevant qualities
When trying to get a job at a daycare center without experience, you can compensate by showcasing a strong set of applicable skills on your childcare resume. You may not have direct experience working in a daycare center but you can draw upon other experiences to demonstrate transferrable skills applicable in a childcare setting. Problem solving, coordination and the ability to build relationships are all valuable skills for an ECE career that you’ve likely developed from past experiences.
Another in-demand skill in childcare is communication, according to the BLS. Teachers must clearly communicate with young children, both one-on-one and when leading large groups. They also need to understand parental concerns and be able to provide clear feedback on progress, behavior and expectations.
Think about the ways in which your previous employment experiences required you to provide excellent communication. Be sure to highlight those experiences in your cover letter and resume when applying to childcare facilities and be prepared to elaborate on them during an interview.
Daycare teachers must also be able to create lesson plans. Highlight your creativity, an essential skill for interacting with children and one that you likely have developed from your experience as a mom. Whether you’ve demonstrated it through creating activities to keep your kids busy or to resolve an outburst in a check-out line, be sure to promote your creativity on your resume. You’ll be working with many children of different learning preferences, so being able to exercise innovative teaching strategies through play and activity is essential.
Now you know ...
Having years and years of experience isn’t the only way to get a job at a daycare. There are many routes to the same destination. With a little hands-on training, some strategic placement of your skills and coursework and a degree or certification in early childhood education, you’ll have everything you need to launch your dream career.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to exchange the job you tolerate for a childcare career you love. Learn more about what an ECE degree can do for you and your family!