Child Care Professional

Online Child Care Classes

If you want a career that allows you to work with children to help them grow and learn, our online Child Care Professional Career Diploma Program can help you prepare to take the next steps toward your dream job today. Through flexible, online classes, you'll build the skills and knowledge to work with children in a variety of settings while fulfilling the education requirements needed to earn your Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential.

  • Our online Child Care Classes can help students prepare for a variety of child care careers such as teacher aide, preschool aide, in-home child care provider, or nanny.
  • Your child care course will fulfill the 120-hour educational component necessary to obtain a CDA. Earning a CDA can often be a requirement for work or promotion in licensed child care facilities.
  • Choose between two specializations, family child care or center-based care, to tailor your lessons to prepare you to work in the setting you prefer.
  • Penn Foster is an official partner of Bright Horizons Family Solutions and The Learning Care Group, which means you may be able to complete your optional work experience component in a facility near you. 
  • Our online programs are flexible enough for you to finish them at a pace that works for you, based on how much time you can dedicate to your coursework each week.
Self Paced

Save up to $300 Ends 7/16/2024

Cost of Program


$1,199 Save $300


$69/month, Start for as low as $20

1-800-275-4410 (10AM - 6:30PM ET)

child care professional teaching with students.

What You Will Learn

  1. How to supervise and monitor the health and safety of children in your care.
  2. How to organize developmentally appropriate activities and implement curricula that support healthy social and emotional development, along with healthy growth and development in areas including math, science, social studies, art, music, literacy, and language.
  3. How to recognize signs of social, emotional, physical or developmental delay in children, including the range of development disabilities among young children. Students will understand how to plan for children with special needs and communicate those issues to the proper authorities, including teachers and parents.
  4. How to keep records of children’s progress, routines, and interests, including daily observations and information about activities, meals served, and medications administered.
Full Program Goal & Outcomes

Child Care Professional Career Outcomes

Childcare Workers





Your online child care classes can help you prepare to start a new career working with children at an in-home or center-based facility. Graduates of the program can qualify for entry-level jobs like preschool aide, nursery school aide, or child care provider. Additionally, the online Child Care Professional Program can fulfill the 120-hour education requirement necessary to earning your CDA Credential.

State Licensing Requirements

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in certain fields are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your program. See the State Licensing page for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Child Care Program Curriculum

  • 10 courses
  • 31 exams
  • 51.6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
  • 2 work experience options

Estimated completion time:

  • Fast track = 4 months
  • Average time = 9 months

With Penn Foster, you can learn at whatever pace works best for you. Some learners will be more comfortable moving faster, and dedicating more time, and the fast track estimate will apply to them. The average track will apply to most learners who can dedicate a few hours per week to completing their coursework. The estimated completion times are based on completion times for learners enrolled in this program from May 2021 - April 2022, excluding withdrawals.

Our Child Care Program curriculum will help you build the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary to work in an entry-level child care role. This includes classes in child development; curriculum and lesson planning; and health, safety, and nutrition.

The program also offers two specializations for you to choose from — family home-based child care or center-based child care. The choice of specialization courses allows you to receive concentrated training for the area of employment you want to pursue in the early childhood care industry. Your online courses include:

  • Child Growth and Development
  • Observation and Assessment
  • Curriculum, Activities, and Lesson Planning
  • Health, Safety, and Nutrition for the Young Child


Non-US residents: This is a United States-based institution with course materials that are geared toward US job and labor standards. Learners from outside of the US may find that some information and materials will differ from the current standards of their country. Please note, the materials for this program are in English and use the Imperial unit of measurement, not the metric system.

Show Full Curriculum
child care professional teaching with students

Child Care Professional Work Experience Option 

As part of our Child Care Professional Program, we offer a work experience option where you can gain practical experience working with children in licensed child care environments. Each specialization track has its own work experience option and requirements. Completing both work experience options will meet the 480 hours of professional work experience needed to for the Child Development Associate Credential earned separately through the CDA Council for Professional Recognition.

Students who choose to complete one or both work experience options are required to find a site on their own. Penn Foster does not assist with placement. However, through our partnerships, you may be able to be placed in a Bright Horizons or in a center under The Learning Care Group's family of brands near you.

Child Care Professional Success Stories

Penn Foster’s Child Care Professional Career Diploma can help prepare you for the first step in your child care career. This program has helped recent graduates find new jobs or start their own businesses while learning at their own pace. Learn more about Penn Foster graduates' experiences and how Penn Foster worked for them. 
View Student Success Stories
quote icon

Abigail S.

Penn Foster Graduate, 2023

“The format is consistent and easy to understand. There is built-in room for mistakes. Reading material is always accessible, which is helpful with subjects that are harder to teach.”

Looking for training in early childhood education for your workers?

Penn Foster currently works with hundreds of leading employers to meet their unique organizational needs.
Learn More

Child Care Professional Program Tuition

Take the first steps toward a new career with our online Child Care Professional Program. Simply choose from one of our low-cost customized payment plans below and get started today! 

Option 1: Pay in full

Save up to $300 Ends 7/16/2024

Cost of Program1


$1,199 Save $300

  • Best price. Best value.
  • Pay the full cost today
  • No monthly payments
Enroll Now

Option 2: Monthly Auto Pay Plan

Save up to $100 Ends 7/16/2024

Cost of Program1


$1,199 Save $100

  • Pay $69 per month
  • Start for $20 down
  • All major credit and debit cards accepted
Enroll Now

Option 3: Monthly Mail Pay Plan

cost of program1


  • Pay $69 per month
  • Start for $49 down
  • Mail your payments
Enroll Now

California residents please click here for Required California Disclosures.

Need more info or ready to enroll?

Looking for more information on transfer credits, military benefits, or our refund policy? Find this information and more about tuition and enrollment here.

Tuition & Payment Options

We're here to help. Call 1-800-275-4410 (10AM - 6:30PM ET)

Request Info

Our Proven Childcare Learning Model

Empowering students to reach their goals


  • Start anytime
  • No exam due dates
  • Self-paced


  • Digital study guides
  • Self-check quizzes
  • Simulations and videos


  • 24/7 access to online resources
  • Online student community
  • Dedicated Learner Center


  • Expert faculty
  • Robust learning resources
  • Dedicated student services

Related Programs

Online Childcare Classes FAQs

Where can I get a job as a child care professional?

Child care professionals work in a variety of settings under numerous job titles. Some of the most popular places where child care professionals work include child care centers, elementary schools, and private households. Many child care providers are self-employed. Some potential positions that you could pursue after completing your online child care coursework include child care aide, child caregiver, teacher aide, nursery school aide/helper, and au pair.

How much does a childcare professional make?

The salary or hourly pay for a child care professional can vary based on work experience, education, the facility you work for, and more. According to national averages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for entry-level child care workers in 2021 was $27,490 per year or $13.22 per hour.* Child care workers can potentially increase how much they can earn by gaining their CDA Credential. 

What is the role of an early childhood professional?

A child care or early childhood professional plays a vital role in helping children in their care learn and reach developmental goals. Child care professionals provide care for children in a child care center, preschool, or home-based setting, and on a daily basis might perform tasks like organizing educational activities, developing routines for children in their care, and ensuring children meet developmental goals.

What is the job outlook for a childcare worker?

As more and more households rely on both parents to hold full-time jobs, the need for child care providers can be expected to remain steady. In addition, the demand for preschools and childcare facilities, and consequently childcare workers, should remain strong because early childhood education is widely recognized as important for a child’s intellectual and emotional development.