Childcare Careers Guidance

There are lots of different roles to choose from when you are working in childcare, each with their own amazing benefits, the following are but a few examples:

  • Nanny, living out or with the family you are supporting, working around school hours.
  • Nursery or Crèche - working set hours and helping babies and toddlers to learn, play and discover the world around them which can develop into management.
  • Childminder looking after local children when it suits you.
  • Pre-school Playgroups
  • Holiday Clubs
  • Working Abroad while travelling with families or even providing childcare on board cruise ships or in holiday clubs, villas.


If you are looking to become a childcarer, then here is some additional information on the three main childcare roles:


Nannies look after children in their own home, normally whilst both parents are working. You can be caring for children from the age of six months to 13 years, and the role can be part-time or full-time.

To become a nanny, you normally have to have had experience working with children before and it is good to have a childcare qualification but it is not a requirement.

Once you've become an experienced nanny, you may then go on to become an international nanny, working abroad or you could go on to become a maternity nanny, which is where you take on short term jobs, helping new mums care for their new born babies.

What support is available:

VOICE provides support and help to nannies as well as childcare professionals and teachers as does BAPN, the British Association of Professional Nannies. Alternatively, visit a local nanny agency to ask for more information.


Childminders are similar to nannies, except you look after children in your own home. As a childminder you normally look after children from different families and the ages of the children can vary.

Childminders have to have an Early Years Level 3 qualification, have an up to date Paediatric First Aid certificate and have to be registered with Ofsted (either on the Early Years Register or the Childcare Register or both). Ofsted will need to carry out suitability checks on you (and people who live in your property), and will, amongst other things, inspect your home to see that it is suitable. PACEY has worked with CACHE, the main awarding body for childcare qualifications in England, to create a childminder training course. The course, Preparing to Work in Home-Based Childcare (HBCA), is a level 3 award that covers every aspect of being a registered childminder - from child nutrition to costs and charges and from meeting children's learning needs to working in partnership with parents and other professionals. The HBCA course has been created by childcare experts to give a person who wants to become a childminder the very best foundations for a successful career as a registered childminder in England. Some local authorities will fund you to take the course so it's worth checking with your local authority first.

There are now many childminder agencies set up to help people become childminders and offer them advice and support in becoming registered with Ofsted. This makes the process much easier. It is quite common for a nanny to become a childminder later in life, particularly after the nanny has had his or her own child. It's the ideal way to combine caring for your own, whilst keeping up a career.

What support is available:

PACEY, is an organisation that helps all childminder professionals in England and Wales with guidance and information including how to become a childminder. If you live in Scotland you can contact SCMA for guidance and if living in Northern Ireland you can contact NICMA. Alternatively, find a local childminder who is willing to provide further information.

Nursery or Crèche Worker

If you don't like the idea of working on your own, but still want a career in childcare, then you should consider working in a nursery setting or a crèche. You will then be able to work alongside other childcare professionals. Nurseries tend to look after babies and children up to the age of 4, with a set number of children being cared for by a nursery practitioner.

You will need to have a qualification in childcare, such as a Level 2 certificate in childcare or Level 3 Early Years diploma, but you can start off as an apprentice whilst studying, earning an "apprenticeship wage".

In terms of career progression, you can move up the ladder and end up as a Nursery Manager, Regional Manager or even a Nursery Owner.

There are many organisations out who can provide support and guidance to individuals who wish to pursue a career in childcare:

What support is available:

You can seek support from a number of organisations, including the NDNA which is the National Day Nurseries Association, as well as from the charity Pre-School Learning Alliance and the organisations mentioned above. Alternatively, visit a local nursery to ask for more information.

Where to go to find out more about the options available to you in childcare:

There are a variety of sites available to offer you Careers Guidance and advice, here are just a few options for you:

  • The National Careers Service can provide you confidential and impartial information and guidance on a number of early years careers including Childminders, Nursery Workers, Nursery Managers and Early Years Teachers.
  • If you live in Scotland you will find the following Scottish government site useful for guidance on qualifications and careers in Early Year Education.
  • If you live in Wales you will find the following Care Council for Wales careers guidance useful.
  • If you live in Northern Ireland you find the following NI Direct Government Services careers.
  • Guidance on work experience is available through Fair Train who are the national experts on work experience and who own the national work experience quality standard accreditation.
  • CACHE is the leading sector specialist in qualifications for the care and education industry and can provide advice on what careers might suit your needs. To access Early Years Career Information and a useful Career Progression Map visit the CACHE choosing a career page.
  • Careers Maps who are a leading website for 15-19 year olds looking for a pathway into apprenticeships and review the health and childcare apprenticeships that are available.
  • Foundation Years, Action for children, an early years knowledge site.
  • Or go to Tinies Training to find out how you can apply for an apprenticeship in childcare.
  • EYupskill is an independent training and development directory for anyone interested in Early Years in England.


quotation mark
The whole kids programme went great - we were really pleased with everything from start to finish. The crèche built a great level of confidence amongst the children.
Mike, Ataxia, Hertfordshire