If you love children, and relish the idea of helping to mold and shape young minds into productive and healthy adults, then choosing a child-focused career may be for you. People who want to work with children can pursue a career in a variety of fields, including education, psychology, medicine, and many others. Some of these take extensive training while others are easier to get involved in. Devoting your life and career to children can be extremely rewarding, but it is not for everybody.
If you love spending time with children of all ages and all capabilities, one of the careers outlined below may suit you well. Children are unpredictable so, if you are flexible and can remain unflappable in any situation, a child-centered career may be right for you. Maintaining your composure in emergencies can be challenging, but it is a necessity when working with children. Children are very susceptible to reading people’s emotions so you may need to work on this point by practicing and perfecting your best poker face! You will be kept on your toes and no two days or weeks will be the same.
You need to be energetic and in touch with your inner child to be able to keep up with active and often boisterous children who rely on their creativity and imagination. “Patience is a virtue, virtue is a grace, and Grace is a little girl who wouldn’t wash her face.” That little rhyme is an explanation in dealing with children in a nutshell. Being able to multitask as well as focus on an individual are further important qualities you need if you plan to work with children. You will also need a willingness to learn and adapt so that you can implement up to date knowledge into your service.
Below are some career ideas you may want to consider if you want to work with children.
There are numerous ways in which you can apply your interest in working with children to a career path. Education is a large area of this and includes many facets and avenues for exploration. Should you want to work with younger children, a career in Early Childhood Education and Development may be a good fit for you. These professions are involved in preparing younger students for their future schooling but setting the tone for their educational future. Job titles include:
- Preschool Teacher
- Childcare Worker
- Special Education Teacher
- Childcare Center Director
- Education Administrator
Whether you decide you want to teach or hold a more administrative role, there is something for everyone with room for growth and climbing the ladder to the top.
Elementary and high school educators are the next step of teaching. School counsellors and school psychologists are also important roles with a particular set of expertise that complement education. These professions often address learning disabilities or behavioral issues in children. They can also counsel children or young adults for grief, loss and mental illnesses like depression or suicidal tendencies.
Dance teachers play an important role in helping children gain self-confidence, strength and grace. Life skills taught in these extra-curricular activities are vital in many children’s lives as they provide an outlet for frustrations and show them a world away from school and formalized learning.
Medicine and Healthcare
This is an extensive route that holds many options and opportunities in various roles and designations. Pediatric nurses are said to be the backbone of good child healthcare. These specialized nurses provide primary and preventative care to children. Patience, compassion, critical thinking, good communication and attention to detail are great attributes to have if you decide to pursue this career. Should you wish to become a forward-thinking nurse leader with the potential to change the future of healthcare for children, you might want to check out Baylor University, which offers various options to study to become a pediatric primary care nurse practitioner.
School nurses work within a school environment to deal with injury or illnesses that occur onsite. They often deal with wound care, administering medication, CPR and other mental health treatments.
A pediatrician is a physician who works with children up to the age of sixteen. Working closely with the pediatrician is the pediatric medical assistant who can take vital signs and record patient history for the doctor. They are usually charged with updating medical records and can assist with medical examinations.
Other Therapists and Social Services
Pediatric occupational therapists are highly trained and skilled therapists who deal with children who need help with their motor skills, cognitive skills and sensory integration. Speech therapists or speech-language pathologists assess, diagnose and treat communication disorders. Music and art therapists play an important role in helping children to work through issues or problems by using alternative types of therapy. Family therapists need to be compassionate and good listeners. This is another path that could be followed in your journey to assist children in becoming their best possible selves.
Social workers improve the lives of children who are living in difficult circumstances such as abusive or neglectful households. They provide services that include child protection, adoption and fostering, and also work with young offenders. School social workers help students to thrive developmentally as well as academically. Clinical social workers can diagnose and treat mental, behavioral and emotional issues.
Other options of career paths that will have you actively involved with children include camp counsellor, sports coach, family photographer, nanny, juvenile corrections officer, museum curator, and librarian. The list is endless and many more options are not even mentioned here. To check whether you will do well working with children long-term, it may be advisable to volunteer with various organizations that deal with children. This can give you a good idea of what you may look forward to in your future role.
If you want to make a difference in the lives of children as a profession, there are numerous options to explore. The future of our communities is at stake and if you can play a part in guiding children when they need it most, this is a worthwhile and rewarding path to follow.