Child care workers can work varied hours, and be expected to do shift work. They need to be able to stay on their feet for long periods. Their duties will vary depending on the age of the children in their care. For example, caring for a group of 0-3 year olds can be quite different to caring for a group of 4-6 year olds. Child care workers often share basic tasks, such as cleaning or food preparation, and work in teams. Their level of care will include assisting children with their daily routine including eating, toileting, sleeping and dressing.
On average, early childhood educators can expect to earn up to $816 per week ($42 437 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an early childhood educator develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
A child care worker will use a range of educational and play equipment and materials daily, from playdough, paints, dress-up clothes, cardboard boxes, and large plastic playground equipment and musical instruments. Almost anything that is non-toxic and safe for children to manipulate and play with may be used.
To become an early childhood educator, you usually need to complete a formal qualification in early childhood education and care.
The Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and the Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisation throughout Western Australia. Progressing to a diploma level qualification in this area may increase your chances of employment.
You can also complete a traineeship. The childhood educator assistant, outside school hours aide, preschool assistant, or outside school hours carer traineeships usually take 12 to 24 months to complete. The childhood educator assistant, outside school hours aide and preschool assistant traineeships are available as school-based traineeships.
To work in child care centres in Western Australia, you must obtain a National Police Certificate and a Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services. You may also need to hold a current Provide First Aid Certificate.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.