If you enjoy spending time with children, consider a career as a child care worker. The majority of child care jobs can be found at private daycares, but these positions are also available at afterschool and daycare programs sponsored by elementary and secondary schools, civic and religious organizations. While the pay may not be as high as many other occupations, a career in child care requires no formal education beyond high school, and jobs are plentiful.
Average National Income
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, child care workers earned an average of $10.25 per hour in 2012. This works out to an average income of $21,310 per year. Child care workers reported a range of incomes: half earned between $8.46 and $11.51 per hour and between $17,600 and $23,940 per year, while 25 percent reported lower incomes and 25 percent earned higher incomes.
Income by Employment Sector
Private daycares, which employed about half of all child care workers in 2012, paid an average of $9.48 per hour and $19,710 per year. Child care services sponsored by civic organizations reported a comparable average income: $9.52 an hour and $19,800 a year. Child care services sponsored by religious organizations offered a better average income: $10.78 an hour and $22,430 per year. Elementary and secondary schools offered some of the highest income for this job: an average of $11.51 an hour and $23,940 a year.
Income by Location
In 2012, the District of Columbia offered the highest average income for child care workers, $30,490 per year. Massachusetts was the highest-paying state, at $25,500, followed by New York at $24,770, California at $24,460 and Colorado at $24,410. West Virginia was the lowest-paying state for this occupation, with an average pay of $17,890, while the territory of Puerto Rico reported the very lowest average pay for child care, $17,130.
As of 2010, there were an estimated 1,282,300 child care workers employed in the United States. The BLS expects positions for child care workers to increase at a fast rate of 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, creating about 262,000 new child care positions by the end of the decade. Many additional positions will become available as current workers leave the professions. While daycares have historically preferred to hire those with some postsecondary education or at least a high school diploma, even those without formal education should have excellent employment opportunities in the current job climate.
2016 Salary Information for Childcare Workers
Childcare workers earned a median annual salary of $21,170 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, childcare workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $18,680, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $25,490, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,216,600 people were employed in the U.S. as childcare workers.