Child care worker

What they do

A child care worker assists in the social, emotional, physical and educational developmental needs of infants and young children in child care centres, hospitals and educational centres. A child care worker manages children's behaviour and guides their social development appropriately. They provide assistance in preparing materials and equipment for educational and recreational activities. A child care worker will also entertain and educate children by reading and singing to them, as well as playing games. They supervise the children in recreational activities, their daily routines, as well as their hygiene.

Working conditions

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.

Tools and technologies

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.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a childcare worker, you need to gain a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care or be actively working towards gaining it.

The Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care are offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.

You can also complete a traineeship in early childhood educator. The early childhood educator (level 3) traineeship usually takes 24 to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship. The early childhood educator (level 5) traineeship usually takes 36 months to complete.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing

To work in childcare centres in Western Australia, you will need to hold a current Provide First Aid certificate You may also need to undergo training in anaphylaxis management and asthma management.

 You will also need to hold a current Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Communities. You may also require a National Police Certificate from the Australian Federal Police.