If you enjoy working with tiny humans and impacting the leaders of tomorrow, perhaps a career working with children is right for you! We’ve highlighted five professions that work specifically with children. Within our highlight, we will briefly describe the role, review the required education, and link you to the median salary. Just an important FYI, half of employees make more than the median salary and half make less. There can be a lot of factors that play into this, such as experience level, location, education level, and type of organization.
1. Elementary School Teacher
This is probably the first profession that comes to mind when you think about careers with kids. Elementary school teachers instruct students (grades K-6) in all of the basic subjects (math, reading, science, social studies) and ensure they are socially and emotionally prepared to succeed in all future education.
To become an elementary school teacher, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree. To work in a public school, you must complete the experiential requirements of your state and take an exam to earn a state-issued certification or license.
You can learn more about an elementary school teacher’s salary here.
2. Social Worker
Social workers assist people with the problems and obstacles within their everyday lives. They also help to protect vulnerable children and families. Clinical social workers have the ability to diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional problems. Many social workers work with people of all ages, but depending on the setting you work in, you may have the opportunity to work exclusively with children.
To become a social worker, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in social work. If you would like to work in a clinical social work setting, you must have a master’s degree in social work in addition to two years post-master’s experience in the clinical setting under the leadership of a licensed clinical social worker. Clinical social workers must be licensed in the state they work.
You can learn more about a social worker’s salary here.
3. Child Life Specialists
Child life specialists work with infants, children, and families to help them cope with illness, injury, and treatment plans to reduce the fear and anxiety associated. They use developmentally appropriate interventions such as therapeutic play to help children understand what they are going through.
To become a child life specialist you must be certified. In order to become certified, you must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree in any field of study and have completed 10 college courses within specific content area in addition to having a minimum of 600 hours of a child life clinical internship hours under the direction of a Certified Child Life Specialist. You can also earn the coursework and internship hours needed to sit for the licensing exam by earning your master’s in Child Life. For more information about the requirements, check out the Association of Child Life Professionals website.
You can learn more about the salary of a child life specialist here.
4. School Counselor
School counselors work with students in the areas of academic achievement, career readiness, and social/emotional development within elementary, middle, and high schools.
To become a school counselor, you must have a master’s degree in school counseling or a closely related field. Some states will require school counselors to have previous classroom teaching experience or a teacher’s certification. You will also take a licensure exam and complete a required internship or practicum experience under the supervision of a licensed school counselor.
Learn more about the salary of a school counselor here.
5. Careers in the health field
People of all ages need health care so a career in the health field will provide you the opportunity to work with children if you’d like. Many students go into nursing school or medical school with the intention of working in pediatrics. Despite this interest in pediatrics, you will still be educated and complete hands-on training with patients of all ages within an array of specialties because you will be required to pass board exams that cover all ages. It’s not until after you complete your classroom education, that you will begin to specialize in pediatrics.
By no means is this a comprehensive list of all careers that work with children, but it’s a starting point. No matter what career you choose, it’s important to get hands-on experience so you can get a “day in the life” view. This will help you to decide whether that career is for you or you need to continue to explore your options!