If you’re looking for a rewarding career, working with children might be the perfect one for you. Offering a great diversity of roles and opportunities, there’s enormous scope to progress your personal career goals while supporting children through their early to late childhood. But as always, great choices can also give way to confusion on which career path is best. The most important question to ask yourself is which career path is best for YOU?
Once decided, it’s time to work out the HOW to get started. In this guide, we want to help you by delving into several of the most rewarding careers, looking at the skills that are most important to be successful in these roles, and how to get started. So, if you’re ready to jump into a career that is both challenging and rewarding, keep reading!
Some of the most popular careers are:
Teaching is a demanding profession, but it is also one of the most rewarding. Seeing your students succeed and grow is an incredible feeling and knowing that you played a role in their development is truly priceless.
There are two avenues to becoming a primary or secondary level (post-primary) teacher. These are the concurrent route via completing a suitable undergraduate degree, or the consecutive route for postgraduates.
To become a teacher through the concurrent route you will need to complete a Bachelor of Education (or similar) degree. If you already have a degree in another field, you can follow the consecutive route and complete a Professional Masters in Education (PME) in primary teaching, or secondary level (post-primary) teaching.
To teach at primary school level, teachers must be qualified to teach the full range of primary school subjects. To become a primary school teacher through completing an undergraduate degree, you can apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO). If you are a mature student with an undergraduate degree in another area, you can apply to do a PME in primary education.
There are four state-funded Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) which offer four-year fulltime programmes of primary initial teacher education. The PME in Primary Teaching is provided by Hibernia College, which is a private, non state-funded provider, and offers a blended learning programme which takes place over two years.
To become a secondary level (post-primary) teacher you must achieve a full-time teacher education qualification, and must meet the Teaching Council’s Curriculum Subject Requirements for at least one subject. Following the concurrent route, you will apply through the CAO application process and meet the various course entry requirements. To apply through the consecutive route, you must hold a Level 8 degree which satisfies the curricular subject criteria as set out by the Teaching Council and can then apply to do a postgraduate course via a Teaching Council approved course provider.
Teaching is a great career for people who are patient, creative and enjoy working with children. If you have strong organisation and communication skills, then teaching may be a great career choice for you.
Another rewarding career working with children is that of a doctor. Doctors who specifically work with children such as paediatricians, paediatric surgeons, GPs, or child and adolescent psychiatrists, play a vital role in ensuring the health and well-being of children. They can also make a significant difference in the lives of their patient’s families.
To become a doctor, you will need to complete a Bachelor of Medicine, or Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree. Alternatively, if you have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you can complete a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. There are many different types of doctors who work with children, including paediatricians and neonatologists. See here to find out more about where to train as a specialist in Ireland.
Doctors must have excellent communication and people skills, as well as the ability to work well under pressure. If you have these skills and qualities, then a career as a doctor may suit you perfectly.
Nurses play a vital role in the healthcare of children, and they also provide support and care to families. Nurses can specialise in various areas, working for example as a paediatric nurse, neonatal nurse, or mental health or learning disabilities nurse. Through this work, a nurse will often form strong bonds with their patients and their families which can be extremely rewarding.
To become a nurse, you will need to complete a Bachelor of Nursing (or similar) degree. Alternatively, if you have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you can complete a Master of Nursing. Check out this guide here on where to train to be a nurse.
If you have a compassionate and patient manner, then a career as a nurse is a great option. As a Nurse, you must also have excellent communication and people skills and be able to work well under pressure.
Psychologists play an important role in the mental health and well-being of children and can specialise in several different fields such as educational psychology, neuropsychology, or clinical psychology for example. As a psychologist you will work with children to help them understand and cope with their emotions. This can be extremely rewarding.
To become a psychologist, you will need to complete a Bachelor of Psychology (or similar) degree. Alternatively, if you have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you can complete a Master of Psychology. See here for more information.
Psychologists must have excellent communication and people skills, as well as the ability to work well under pressure. If you have these skills and qualities, then a career as a psychologist may suit you perfectly.
Social workers play a crucial role in the lives of many children and families. Working in areas such as, but not limited to, family support, adoption and fostering, or the supervision of young offenders, social work can be a challenging but also extremely rewarding as it allows you to make a significant difference in the lives of those you work with.
To become a social worker, you will need to complete a Bachelor of Social Work (or similar) degree. Alternatively, if you have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you can complete a Master of Social Work. See here for more information.
Social workers must have excellent communication and people skills and be able to work well under pressure. If you are compassionate and enjoy helping others, then a career as a social worker could be a very good fit for you.
Special Needs Assistants play an important role in the lives of children with special needs. They provide support and care to their patients and work closely with families. SNAs often form strong bonds with their patients and their families, which can be extremely rewarding.
There is no one set route to becoming an SNA. However, most assistants have a leaving certificate and may hold a certificate or associate degree in special education. See here for more information on training courses.
If you are empathetic, and patient, and enjoy working with children, then a career as a special needs assistant may be the right choice for you. Special needs assistants must work well under pressure.
Working for a children’s charity gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children who are in need. In this type of role, you may be required to do several different tasks. Some of which may include working directly with children and some of which may include working behind the scenes.
While there are many different types of careers working for a children’s charity, there are certain qualifications that you will need to have to secure a position with one of these charities. You first need to decide on the type of job you want to have. Would you like to work behind the scenes as part of the planning process, or do you want to be directly involved and work with children? Those who want to work directly with children will need to have the qualifications required by law. Next, it’s important to research the different children’s charities. It can be useful to use the advanced search function on the Charities Regulator website as a starting point.
To work with a children’s charity, you will need a desire to work with children and young people, a good level of communication skills, both written and verbal, a good level of organisational skills, adaptability and flexibility, and a high level of patience and resilience.
Childminders and nannies play an important role in the lives of children. They provide care and support and work closely with families. Childcare can be extremely rewarding, as it allows you to make a difference in the lives of those you work with.
There is no specific degree required to become a childminder or a nanny, but you must have a certification in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and first aid. You should also have experience working with children.
If you love children and enjoy being around them, then a career as a childminder or nanny may be perfect for you. You must also be patient, reliable, and have excellent organisational skills. If you are interested in becoming a childminder or nanny, why not set up a sitter account with SureSitter or browse available childminding jobs.
We hope you’ve found our guide helpful.
Remember, different people like different things. Look around and find the right career for you.