According to research, over half of U.S. households spent an excess of $10,000 on childcare solutions in 2020. The number shows an increased demand for childcare services in the United States.
Fortunately, this amplified need for qualified childcare has allowed individuals to make a meaningful contribution to children’s lives while earning some extra income along the way. Becoming a childcare provider not only helps busy families out but also serves as a gratifying profession overall.
Here’s a step-by-step guide as to how someone can potentially become a licensed childcare provider:
Acquire High-School Education
For those who want to become successful childcare providers, it is beneficial to consider obtaining a higher level of education. Although the minimum requirement is having a high school diploma or GED, most parents prefer a graduate to care for their child. An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood development and education can also prove valuable.
Additionally, taking coursework related to business or management could provide insight into how to care for younger children successfully. If obtaining an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is not feasible in the current situation, child care management certificate programs can be completed as a short-term alternative. These programs help those interested in this field understand the job’s responsibilities.
Research the Licensing Requirements of the State
Becoming a childcare provider is an exciting endeavor, and it’s essential to ensure that care providers comply with the state’s laws. Depending on an individual’s state, the licensing requirements can vary significantly. The type of license the individual needs to apply for is often associated with how many children are being cared for, so caregivers need to have a good understanding of the local regulations before honing in on a final decision.
As an overview, most states offer two different types of licenses—a “small” and “large.” For in-home childcare facilities, the smaller license typically allows individuals to provide home care to fewer children. In comparison, a larger license enables them to look after more depending on the specific state a person lives in. For example, California-based childcare providers can acquire a large license that authorizes them to serve up to 14 children at once.
Start the Application Process
Starting a childcare business can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for those who wish to dedicate their time to helping others. It is crucial, however, to properly understand the regulations and procedures associated with obtaining a valid childcare license in the state before beginning the application process. It is essential to fill out the paperwork accurately and double-check everything for errors to avoid delays.
The application fee is likely part of this process and attending an orientation. Additionally, adults living in the home must submit for fingerprinting, background checks, and Tuberculosis testing for safety reasons. A detailed schedule of all tasks required by the licensing procedure is recommended to ensure all deadlines are met.
Prepare for a Home Inspection
Licensing for a business or home living situation can be tedious, usually involving an inspection from a licensing analyst. Inspectors will look to see if a caregiver follows environmental and health safety ordinances while checking the premises. Some of these measures include childproofing certain areas, ensuring that all appliances are safe and up-to-date, all emergency equipment, such as fire alarms, telephones, and fire extinguishers, are maintained, and making sure any swimming pools or hot tubs have adequate fencing around them.
Before the inspection, the care provider should speak with their caseworker to get more insight into what inspectors will expect to see in the home when they check it. That way, it’s one less thing an individual has to worry about when they finally meet the analyst.
Complete Any Necessary Training
While having their licensing application approved is the primary goal for any aspiring childcare provider, having that extra time to complete any necessary training can be beneficial. In most states, attending a course on child first aid and CPR is seen as good practice and required to maintain a license. Beyond this requirement, having basic CPR training is an excellent asset as a care provider.
It’s natural for parents to prioritize their child’s safety when selecting a caregiver. As such, demonstrating dedication toward safety protocols can go a long way toward client trust and satisfaction. Therefore, even before childcare providers receive their license, they use this downtime to equip themselves with anything they may need and prove their qualifications.
Becoming a licensed childcare provider is a fulfilling way to enter the workforce and provide an essential service to families in the community. By taking the time to research the steps involved in becoming certified and ensuring that one meets all of the qualifications, an individual can streamline the process and be one step closer to opening their doors to children and parents alike.