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Career and Education Opportunities for Child Care Workers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Child care worker career and educational opportunities abound in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. There are currently 16,560 working child care workers in Iowa; this should grow by 20% to about 19,870 working child care workers in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for child care workers, which sees this job pool growing by about 10.9% over the next eight years. In general, child care workers attend to children at schools, businesses, and child care institutions.

Child care workers earn about $8 per hour or $16,860 per year on average in Iowa and about $9 per hour or $18,970 per year on average nationally. Child care workers earn less than people working in the category of Child Care generally in Iowa and less than people in the Child Care category nationally.

The Cedar Rapids area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can get a degree as a child care worker. Child care workers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a child care worker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Child Care Worker

Child Care Worker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, child care workers attend to children at schools, businesses, and child care institutions. They also perform a variety of tasks, such as dressing, feeding, and overseeing play.

Child care workers observe and monitor children's play activities. They also support children's emotional and social development, encouraging understanding of others and positive self-concepts. Equally important, child care workers have to organize and participate in recreational efforts. They are often called upon to discipline children and recommend or initiate other measures to control behavior. They are expected to instruct children in health and personal habits, such as eating and toilet habits. Finally, child care workers organize and store toys and materials to insure order in activity areas.

Every day, child care workers are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for child care workers to keep records on individual children, including daily observations and data related to activities and medications administered. They are often called upon to identify signs of emotional or developmental problems in children and bring them to parents' or guardians' attention. They also sanitize toys and play equipment. They are sometimes expected to care for children in institutional setting, such as group homes or schools for the handicapped. Somewhat less frequently, child care workers are also expected to sanitize toys and play equipment.

They also have to be able to read to children and teach them simple painting and songs and sterilize bottles and ready formulas. And finally, they sometimes have to operate in-house day-care centers within businesses.

Like many other jobs, child care workers must be reliable and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Child Care Worker Training

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Kirkwood Community College, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2068. Kirkwood Community College is a large college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,241 students. Kirkwood Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Child Care Provider/Assistant which graduated five and sixteen students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Preventing Disease Transmission: A two-hour training module for employers and employees who, while on the job, may be exposed to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.