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As the need for child day care has increased in the last decade, the child day care services industry began to fill the need of non-relative child care.

Preschool teachers, teacher assistants, and child care workers account for almost 8 out of 10 wage and salary jobs. About 42 percent of all child care workers have a high school degree or less, reflecting the minimal training requirements for most jobs. More than a quarter of all employees work part time, and nearly 18 percent of full-time employees in the industry work more than 40 hours per week. Job openings should be numerous because dissatisfaction with benefits, pay, and stressful working conditions causes many to leave the industry.



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 Child day care needs are met in different ways. Care in a child’s home, care in an organized child care center, and care in a provider’s home—known as family child care—are all common arrangements for preschool-aged children. Older children also may receive child day care services when they are not in school, generally through before- and after-school programs or private summer school programs. With the increasing number of households in which both parents work full time, this industry has been one of the fastest growing in the U.S. economy.

Two main types of child care make up the child day care services industry: center-based care and family child care. Formal child day care centers include preschools, child care centers, and Head Start centers. Family child care providers care for children in their home for a fee and are the majority of self-employed workers in this industry. This does not include persons who provide unpaid care in their homes for the children of relatives or friends or occasional babysitters. Also, child care workers who work in the child’s home, such as nannies, are included primarily in the private household industry, not this industry.

The for-profit part of this industry includes centers that operate independently or as part of a local or national company. The number of for-profit establishments has grown rapidly in response to demand for child care services. Nonprofit child day care organizations may provide services in religious institutions, YMCAs and other social and recreation centers, colleges, public schools, social service agencies, and worksites ranging from factories to office complexes. Within the nonprofit sector, there has been strong growth in Head Start, the federally funded child care program designed to provide disadvantaged children with social, educational, and health services.

Some employers offer child care benefits to their employees, recognizing that the unavailability of child care is a barrier to the employment of many parents, especially qualified women, and that the cost of the benefits is offset by increased employee morale and productivity and reduced absenteeism. Some employers sponsor child care centers in or near the workplace, while others provide direct financial assistance, vouchers, or discounts for child care or after-school or sick-child care services. Still others offer a dependent-care option in a flexible benefits plan.

[ Excerpted from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Career Guide to Industries, 2008-09 Edition - Child Day Care Services ]