Working with children may not always be easy, but when it comes to fulfillment and happiness on the job, there’s little better. According to Monster, for example, careers in primary and secondary education are in the top 10 for job satisfaction.
Whether you’re just out of high school or a university graduate, a stay-at-home parent looking to re-start their career, or a disillusioned white collar worker wanting a new direction, there are plenty of jobs out there that will give you an opportunity of working with children. We’ve compiled 5 of them, including a mix of jobs that require a degree qualification, and those that ask for a (shorter and cheaper) qualification.
From your time at school, you probably have an idea of what a teacher does. However, it goes much further than what you see in the classroom. Teachers also need to make up lesson plans, follow a strict curriculum, sometimes teach several subjects, as well as dealing with school administration and parents.
This description may not sound all too enticing, but there’s plenty to like about being a school teacher. You’ll be helping children in their formative years, the relationships you build with kids are irreplaceable, and the fulfillment that comes from adding value to society is priceless.
Qualifications required: You will usually need a bachelor’s degree to teach. The exact requirements vary according to where you live. In the United States, for example, preschool teachers usually require a two-year degree in Early Childhood Education. High school teachers, on the other hand, are often asked to have a degree in the subject they are looking to teach, plus an additional teaching certification. You will then need to satisfy your state’s requirements for teaching credentials, which can include passing a test or simply proving you have completed the required programs.
Family Day Care Educator
This job is particularly suited to those of you that need flexibility and prefer working for yourself. Family day care educators work from their own home, providing children with a stimulating social and educational environment. You will be working with under school age children in small groups, working with families and other educators.
Qualifications required: You’re going to need a vocational certificate. In Australia, for example, most will ask for a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education (which takes around 18 months). This certificate combines classroom teaching with hands-on experience. You will also need to have a First Aid qualification, a verified police check, and pass a government check (note that requirements vary from country to country, state to state).
This job is perfect for someone who likes working with children as an educator, but prefers to have a supporting rather than a lead role. Whether in a school or nursery setting, you will be assisting the teacher in their varied duties. Some schools look for specialized assistants, for example in a special needs program.
Unlike school teachers, you will not need to lead classes, create teaching plans, mark, or have any key children (i.e. children that you are solely responsible for). Depending on the school, you may have to assist in these duties, but the responsibilities will be entirely shared and you will have the support of your colleagues.
Qualifications required: Again, it varies depending on your location, but the good news is that you won’t need an undergraduate degree on the subject. Many, though certainly not all, schools will require a qualification related to the job. In the UK and Australia, for example, a certificate course will likely be suitable.
We’ve gone a little left field with this one, just to give you an idea of jobs with children that you wouldn’t necessarily think of straight away. Speech-language pathologists earn a very reasonable salary, with the median pay in the USA hovering around $80,000.
Speech-language pathologists are also known as speech therapists. 40% work in schools, with the majority of the remaining 60% employed by healthcare facilities. They help children (and adults, depending on the specific job) with communication disorders, often caused by brain injuries, cleft palate, and autism.
Qualifications required: You will need a dedicated master’s degree. In the United States, this means a CAA accredited program, of which there are 265. You will also need a license to practice from your state.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Nurse
Mental health nurses fulfill a challenging role. They assess a young person’s mental health, providing coping strategies, talking through issues, and managing risks. Nurses are also responsible for medication, ensuring the right dosage and monitoring any side effects.
Expect to work with children and adolescents struggling with a wide range of mental health illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression. The hours can be long and it’s stressful to have so much responsibility, but helping young people recover and get their lives back is more than worth it.
Qualifications required: For this job, you will need a nursing degree, with a specialization in mental health nursing. The latter often comes in the form of a master’s degree.
As long as you have a passion for working with children, you’ll be able to carve yourself a career. Even if you’re making a late career change, a one-year certification can often be enough to propel you into your new dream job.