what is a child care professional

Child care workers supervise children in their care, taking time to make sure they reach developmental milestones, socialize, learn, and grow. If you’ve dreamed of working with children, a career as a child care professional might be the perfect fit for you. Trained child care professionals can fill a variety of roles and responsibilities, which is why we’ve put together this resource guide to help you understand exactly what they do!

What does a child care professional do?

Child care professionals provide care for children in a child care center, preschool, or home-based setting, and on a daily basis might perform the following tasks:

  • Supervise and monitor the safety of children
  • Prepare and organize meals and snacks for children
  • Help children keep good hygiene
  • Organize activities or educational curriculum
  • Develop schedules and routines to balance physical activity, rest, and playtime
  • Keep records of children’s progress, routines, and interests

Some child care workers also help children prepare for kindergarten and help older children with homework and school assignments, depending on the age range of children in the child care center.

Read more: How to Become a Preschool Teach (6 Things to Know Before You Start)

Where do child care professionals work?

Child care professionals can work in a variety of settings, from preschools to daycares, and in private homes. The roles and responsibilities of child care professionals largely depend on the setting in which the professional works, so you could find yourself completing different tasks in different settings.

Child care centers

Professionals working in a child care center will often team up with teachers and teacher assistants to help teach children through a specific curriculum. They also help prepare daily and long-term schedules of activities for children in their care, while monitoring their daily progress.


Child care workers who are employed in preschools will often assist the head teachers in preparing healthy snacks and meals and supervising playtime. They’ll also be responsible for working with the teachers to ensure that each day’s lesson plans, from crafts to story time, go off without a hitch.

Family care centers

Trained child care professionals may also work in a family child care center, in which children are cared for in the providers’ own homes. For professionals running their own family center, tasks common in running a business - such as overseeing payroll, scheduling, and staffing - can be expected on top of traditional child care activities.

Read more: 10 Reasons to Become a Child Care Professional 

What skills does a child care professional need?

While a love for helping children learn and grow is a must, there are several other important qualities that child care professionals must have, including:

  • Strong communication skills. Child care professionals must work through situations with students, teachers, and parents.
  • Cooperation. Child care workers must be pleasant and helpful to both the children in their care and parents.
  • Sociability. Since child care professionals must work with others full-time, spending time with others should be fun and rewarding!
  • Creativity. To engage children and help them learn, child care professionals must know how to think out of the box.

Read more: How to Write a Lesson Plan for Early Childhood Education

How do I become a child care professional?

While education and training requirements vary by state, pursuing formal education in the field is recommended to gain the knowledge and experience beneficial to starting a new career as a preschool teacher. If you would like to set your own schedule and learn on your own time, consider a nationally and regionally accredited online child care professional program. With Penn Foster’s online child care training, you can prepare to take the first steps toward a rewarding career on your schedule and with confidence. To get started or learn more about our child care programs, reach out to our Admissions Department today at 1-888-427-6500!