Day Care Jobs for Teens

By Amy Sutton
A teenage girl and younger girl lay on a patch of grass.

When your teenager is ready to get her first job, it's important that she find one doing something she enjoys. If your teen enjoys spending time with children, then working at a day care may be a good fit. There are several types of tasks a teen can do at a day care facility, but it will be helpful for her to learn more about what the job entails before she commits.

Titles and Tasks

A young woman reads to a toddler at a day care center

Working in child care is one of the most popular teen jobs, according to the Hire Teen website, and there are a variety of support type jobs teens can do in a child care center, depending on where they live. Jobs may include child care worker helper or teacher assistant, notes the O-Net Online website. Some centers may hire teens to be a cook helper. Teens working in a day care center may be responsible for tasks that include helping child care workers watch after children, assisting with the cleaning and sanitizing of play equipment, helping change diapers and lending a hand at preparing and serving food, notes the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics website. When teens work in a day care center, it's important that they are dependable, show concern for others, are independent and have self-control.

Predicting Pay

A young woman helps three toddlers with an art project at a day care center

The amount of money a teen should expect to be paid per hour for working in a day care center will vary depending on where you live, which center she works at and how much, if any, experience she has working with kids. It's estimated that the 2012 median pay for a child care worker was around $9.38 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Typical Day Care Schedule

A young woman reads a story to a group of toddlers at a day care center

Each individual day care center has its own daily schedule, but generally mornings start off with drop-offs and free play or structured play time. Breakfast is served soon after; then the day care workers begin cleaning up. Mid-morning usually involves learning activities, story-time, crafts and sometimes outdoor play. By mid-day, the day care workers begin preparing and serving lunch to the children. After lunch, it's time to clean up and get the children ready for nap time or quiet time. When nap time is over, day care workers often allow more play time, followed by an afternoon snack.

Rules and Regulations

A teenage girl gives a piggyback ride to a younger girl

The age at which you can work at a day care depends on where you live and which day care center you want to work in. Each state has its own rules or laws regarding teen jobs. In Massachusetts, for example, if you're under 18 you must obtain a work permit before you begin working, according to Mass.gov. Other states only require a work permit if you're under 16 or plan to work during the school year.

Depending on which state you live in, there may not be any education requirements for working an entry-level position at a day care, but some states may require a high school diploma or other certification, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes. Teens are not allowed to do any tasks that are prohibited for teens by their state labor board. Prohibited tasks vary by state.

Landing the Job

A young woman helps a boy with homework at a day care center

To get a job at a day care, your teen should visit the center she wishes to work at. She needs to ask to speak with the day care director and inquire about any open positions that might be available, age requirements for working there and how she can apply for a job. When your teen is called for an interview after submitting an application, she should show up a few minutes early and dress appropriately. Teens need to avoid wearing anything that is tight or revealing. Your teen has to be ready to answer questions about why she wants to work in day care, and she should have a list of questions ready in her mind, such as what ages she would be working with and what her job duties may be. Remind your teen to bring along a list of references to help her land the job. This can include people she's baby-sat for or done other work with.