Babies are full-time care, and toddlers require more attention in a day than one person can feasibly give. Yet, when kids are old enough to go to school and stay busy in their own extracurricular activities, many parents start to look for other ways to occupy their time.
Returning to the workforce can be difficult for stay-at-home (SAH) parents.
Though it might only be a matter of a few years since leaving work, parents can suffer from such a gap in their employment history. Technology and practices can advance in that period, leaving some parents confused and out-of-date. Additionally, during their SAH period, many parents discover a deep appreciation for childcare, and when their little ones leave for school, some parents seek more opportunities to care for kids.
Fortunately, there are plenty of childcare jobs available to ex-SAH parents. Here are just a few favorite jobs and career paths for those interested in rejoining the workforce once their kids are in school.
Daycare workers spend their hours giving babies, toddlers, and kids the best possible care while their parents are busy at work. For SAH parents, this job could feel just like raising their own kids: changing diapers, preparing meals, putting them down for naps, and keeping their minds and bodies active.
Both states and individual daycares have their own required qualifications for daycare workers. For example, daycares that rely on specific philosophies, like Montessori and Waldorf, might require certification for their programs before SAH parents can provide childcare in these spaces. Daycares that provide a preschool-type education might expect some level of education in early childhood development.
Other daycares might expect attendants to have nothing more than a high school diploma — and the requisite safety certifications, including first aid and CPR. Often, daycare attendants earn an hourly salary, which depends entirely on the type of facility at which they work. Usually, a SAH parent can expect to earn between $16k and $29k per year working in a daycare.
Like a daycare worker, a nanny tends to a child when their parents cannot. Unlike a daycare worker, a nanny typically provides services to at most a few families at a time, and they will work out of the family’s home instead of a large, dedicated facility. As a result, a nanny is usually much more involved in a child’s life, which can be exceedingly rewarding for a SAH parent missing the dependence of little ones.
As with daycare work, all nannies need essential child safety certifications, but how much a nanny can earn will depend on their existing qualifications. Full-time nannies with degrees in child development and years of experience can take home over $60k per year, but most full-time nannies earn closer to $40k per year. Part-time nannies can earn an hourly wage between $15 and $19 per hour.
The United States public school system is suffering from an extreme teacher shortage, which is keeping American kids from earning the best possible education. SAH parents can help improve academic outcomes in their community by going to work in their local school system. Then again, if working with school-age children isn’t appealing or if a SAH parent already has advanced knowledge or skill — they might consider beginning a career in higher education by obtaining a teaching certificate online.
Undeniably, teaching is a difficult profession, but it can be immeasurably rewarding. The average
teacher salary in the U.S. falls between $52k and $69k, and it comes with some noteworthy benefits, like summer vacation.
If you aren’t ready to commit to a career in the classroom, you can also consider working as a tutor. Tutors work one-on-one or with small groups of students, helping them improve in specific areas of study. You can find work with a tutoring facility, which will pay you an hourly wage, or you can freelance, finding your own clients and setting your own fees and schedule.
School Bus Driver
It might not seem glamorous at first, but driving a school bus is one of the best jobs for ex-SAH parents who don’t want the hassle of obtaining new credentials and crave a childcare-related job that is low-stress and has high flexibility. School bus drivers need a commercial driver’s license, which requires renewal every two years, and the best bus drivers are personable, calm, safe, and fun for kids to be around. As a bus driver, a SAH parent has a large chunk of free time in the middle of their day, when they can perform additional bus driving work or get other responsibilities done.
Different states (even different school systems) maintain different rates for school bus drivers, but SAH parents can expect to bring home somewhere between $22k and $50k per year.
SAH parents with school-age kids are an untapped resource, especially for childcare jobs. The jobs and careers listed can provide both salary and satisfaction for parents eager to keep busy by caring for little ones.
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