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Detailed Guide for

Childcare Workers in California

May also be called: Baby Sitters; Before and After School Day Care Workers; Child Care Providers; Child Care Teachers; Child Caregivers; Day Care Providers; Infant and Toddler Teachers; Teacher Assistants; and Toddler Teachers

Specialties within this occupation include: Childcare Center Workers; Family Childcare Providers; and Nannies

What Would I Do?

Childcare Workers look after children while their parents are away. Childcare Workers nurture and teach children. Childcare Workers responsible for infants and toddlers may need to change diapers and bottle- or spoon-feed them. Although Childcare Workers are not teachers, they work with children individually or in groups to create a safe, comfortable, and creative environment, allowing children to mature and learn. By assisting children to become more independent and learn social interaction skills, Childcare Workers prepare kids for formal schooling.

Childcare Workers teach young children through play, problem solving, answering questions, and experimenting. Childcare Workers use less structured approaches to teach children, such as art, dance, and music. Structured activities, such as storytelling and group play, are used to develop language and social skills. Childcare Workers may also need to administer first aid. They may also need to read and understand medication instructions and administer medications to the child.

Childcare Center Workers work in daycare centers. They also work in before- and after-school programs, such as Head Start, Early Head Start, pre-school and other early childhood programs. Childcare Center Workers employed at pre-schools assist teachers with lesson plans but are primarily responsible for child care duties.

Family Childcare Providers work out of their homes and are generally responsible for a small group of children. In cases where they look after a large group of children, they are assisted by other Childcare Workers.

Nannies work in the homes of the children. They supervise children’s activities, bathe and feed them, and put them to bed. Nannies may care for a child from infancy until about age 12. In addition to tending to the child’s needs, Nannies may also do general housework such as cleaning and laundry. Childcare Workers who work for many different families are called Baby Sitters.

Tools and Technology

Childcare Workers use a variety of tools in the course of their work including cars, car safety seats, computers, and word processing software. They may also use appliances, such as microwaves, dishwashers, kitchen stoves, and clothes washers and dryers.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

TaskSkill Used in this Task
Maintain a safe play environment.
Dress children and change diapers.Information Ordering
Observe and monitor children's play activities.Social Perceptiveness
Communicate with children's parents or guardians about daily activities, behaviors, and related issues.
Oral Expression
Keep records of play, meal schedules, and bill payment.Written Expression
Support children's emotional and social development, encouraging understanding of others and positive self-concepts.Education and Training
Identify signs of emotional or developmental problems in children and bring them to parents' or guardians' attention.Psychology
Create developmentally appropriate lesson plans.Customer and Personal Service
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET) at online.onetcenter.org

Working Conditions

Child care centers range from large, well-equipped buildings with large inside and outside play areas to small private homes. Working with children involves a lot of physical activity, mental alertness, and enthusiasm. Good general health, physical stamina, and emotional stability are essential. The work is never routine, with each day marked by new activities and challenges. This job requires bending, stooping, and lifting as workers attend to each child’s needs. The environment is often noisy, and Workers occasionally have to contend with foul odors. Childcare Workers typically work a 40-hour workweek.

Childcare Workers typically do not belong to unions.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Childcare Worker will appeal to those who enjoy children, as well as activities that involve assisting others and promoting learning and personal development. Those who enjoy teaching, offering advice, helping, and being of service to people may enjoy this occupation.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages for Childcare Workers in California differ widely depending on job duties, work experience, and location of the work. Workers in large cities generally earn higher wages than those who work in smaller towns and rural areas.


The median wage in 2021 for Childcare Workers in California was $32,133 annually, or $15.46 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Annual Wages for 2021Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2021 at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/wages.html Wages do not reflect self-employment.

Hourly Wages for 2021Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2021 at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/wages.html. Wages do not reflect self-employment.


Benefit packages vary from company to company. Childcare Workers generally receive health insurance, vacation, sick leave, and holidays. Self-employed Childcare Workers need to purchase their own benefits.

What is the Job Outlook?

Job prospects are expected to be favorable for Childcare Workers. Job openings will result from the need to replace the large number of Childcare Workers who are expected to retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Childcare Workers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Childcare Workers are expected to increase by 4.2 percent, or 4,100 jobs between 2018 and 2028.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Childcare Workers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Total Job
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/employment-projections.html

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Childcare Center Workers who work with children two years old or younger must have a high school diploma or GED, have completed 12 units of early childhood education, and have at least six months of experience in a licensed infant care center for children under five years of age. The experience must be completed within 50 days during the six-month period, and no less than three hours per day.

Childcare Aides must be 18 years of age or older or a high school graduate. All Childcare Workers must have a criminal record clearance, including fingerprinting. They must also be in good physical health and submit tuberculosis test results to the employer or licensing agency.

Early Career Planning

High school students interested in becoming Childcare Workers should take courses in English, physical sciences, and mathematics. California offers Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) in child development-related occupations. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site at www.carocp.org/carocps.html.

Licensing and Certification

Individuals interested in owning and operating their own childcare center must be licensed through the California Department of Social Services. Those who run childcare centers out of their homes must have a Family Child Care Home License. Applicants must attend an orientation seminar, be familiar with all Family Child Care Home licensing laws and regulations, and pass a home inspection. All individuals who live in the home and employees who work for the childcare center will need to have a Live Scan criminal background check.

Those who will run centers out of a commercial building need a Child Care Center License. Similar to the Family Child Care Home License process, applicants must attend an orientation seminar, be familiar with all Family Child Care Home licensing laws and regulations, and pass a building inspection. All individuals who work for the childcare center will need to have a Live Scan criminal background check. Contact the licensing agency for additional information.

Child Care Workers applying for a Family Child Care Home License or a Child Care Center License will need CPR training and certification. Training is available through the American Red Cross. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site at www.acinet.org and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" at www.acinet.org/certifications_new/default.aspx and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/resources/training-and-apprenticeships.html

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Childcare Workers are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Elementary and Secondary Schools32.2%
Child Day Care Services11.6%
Private Households10.1%
Other Amusement & Recreation Industries5.2%
Other Residential Care Facilities4.9%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/employment-projections.html

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Jobs may also be found through registration with temporary employment agencies and through classified advertisements in newspapers, trade publications, and Internet job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Childcare Workers.

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, use "Find Employers" on the LaborMarketInfo Web site at http://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/aspdotnet/databrowsing/empMain.aspx?menuChoice=emp

Where Could This Job Lead?

With experience, Childcare Workers may promote into lead or supervisory positions. Some Childcare Workers may open their own business and run child care centers out of their homes or other locations.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Childcare Workers.

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification at www.bls.gov/soc/39-9011
O*NET - Occupational Information Network at online.onetcenter.org/
   Childcare Workers39-9011.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC) at online.onetcenter.org/find/descriptor/browse/Interests/#curSAC
   Interest Codes (RIASEC) at online.onetcenter.org/find/descriptor/browse/Interests/#curSAE
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs at nces.ed.gov/pubs2002/cip2000/
   Child Development 190706
   Child Care Provider/Assistant 190709
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs at www.ccccurriculum.info/ (California Community Colleges)
   Child Development/Early Care and Education130500
   Preschool Age Child130540
   The School Age Child130550
   Infants and Toddlers130590

The California Occupational Guides are a product of:
The California Employment Development Department
Labor Market Information Division

Printed on Monday, May 23, 2022