28 Jobs Working With Children (Including 8 High-Paying Careers)
By Luke Redd
| Last Updated November 26, 2020
Satisfaction is something that we all want from our jobs. Working with children offers the potential to find exactly that, especially if you love kids. And there are plenty of possibilities. When it comes to careers involving children, the variety is wider than ever.
After all, in 2018, America was already home to 73.4 million young people under18. And by 2050, that number could rise by an additional 4.8 million, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Plus, just think of the extra support that kids require in comparison to adults. They are in the earliest stages of their development. So each child relies on a diverse assortment of adult professionals—either directly or indirectly.
That's why many jobs involving children are in career fields with strong demand and good employment prospects. And many of them allow people to benefit from their day-to-day work with kids in other significant ways. In fact, they often have unique advantages.
So check out this list of careers working with children that offer benefits, including a sense of purpose, exposure to fresh perspectives, high pay, and lots of fun. You can read more about these great benefits here.
1. Pediatric registered nurse
Helping sick or injured kids can be very fulfilling, especially when you see them regain health and vitality thanks to your efforts. Plus, a lot of nurses who specialize in pediatrics earn good money.
- Average salary for a registered nurse: $77,460
- Top-end salary: $111,220 or more
2. Pediatric dental hygienist
With a warm and assuring personality, you could help children overcome their fear of the dental chair. And being able to clean the teeth of young people and educate them about good oral hygiene is something that might make you very proud each day.
- Average salary: $77,230
- Top-end salary: $103,340 or more
3. Child psychologist
Some children benefit a lot from the innovative psychological assessments and cognitive therapies of professionals in this field.
- Average salary: $87,450
- Top-end salary: $132,670 or more
4. Speech-language pathologist
Being able to communicate is a basic but vital skill. Yet, many children are born with cognitive disorders or other impairments that make speaking or understanding language difficult. Imagine the satisfaction of getting to help kids find and use their voice.
- Average salary: $82,000
- Top-end salary: $121,260 or more
5. Juvenile justice attorney
Many young people enter the criminal justice system each year. It often takes dedicated legal professionals to ensure that they get treated fairly.
- Average salary for attorneys: $145,300
- Top-end salary: $208,000 or more
6. Pediatric dentist
A lot of kids indeed fear going to the dentist. But that's why pediatric dentists are often so special. They know how to make children feel more comfortable and less scared during checkups and restorative procedures crucial to their oral health and general well-being.
- Average salary: $178,260
- Top-end salary: $208,000 or more
As a doctor who specializes in children's medical care, you could enjoy their youthful spirit while earning an excellent salary.
- Average salary: $184,410
- Top-end salary: $208,000 or more
8. Child psychiatrist
Just like adults, many children experience mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Plus, the rise in childhood autism makes this field an especially important one. By assessing young patients and prescribing the right treatments and medications, you could do a world of good for a lot of them.
- Average salary: $220,430
- Top-end salary: $208,000 or more
9. Early childhood educator
As a preschool teacher, you could watch young kids develop and gain confidence while providing warm guidance and fun learning projects.
- Average salary: $34,650
- Top-end salary: $55,050 or more
10. Child and family social worker
According to the Forum, in 2017, almost 18 percent of children in America lived in poverty. And many of them lived in single-parent households, with abusive or neglectful parents, or in foster care. As a social worker, you could make a vital difference in hundreds of kids' lives by helping to protect them and working to give them better home environments.
- Average salary: $51,030
- Top-end salary: $78,230 or more
11. Respiratory therapy technician
According to Forum data from 2017, about 13 percent of children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with asthma. By helping such kids breathe easier and manage their respiratory illnesses, you could give them a better shot at growing into healthy and vibrant community members.
- Average salary: $63,950
- Top-end salary: $86,980 or more
12. Elementary school teacher
The early years of school are essential for providing kids with a stable foundation that they can build on. And being a teacher at this level of education is often one of the most fun and rewarding ways to contribute to a child's development, again and again.
- Average salary: $63,930
- Top-end salary: $97,900 or more
13. Occupational therapy assistant
Some kids have physical, cognitive, or physical disabilities that make it difficult for them to live normal day-to-day lives. By helping them improve their motor skills or other basic functions, you could give them better opportunities to succeed in school, play with other children, and grow into thriving and confident young people.
- Average salary: $61,880
- Top-end salary: $82,210 or more
14. Pediatric nutritionist or dietitian
As an expert on nutrition, you could help parents and schools choose the best foods for their children and students' health and development.
- Average salary: $62,330
- Top-end salary: $87,360 or more
15. Private nanny
Many parents in America are full-time professionals or business owners who choose to keep working at a high level when they have children. And that creates a lot of opportunities for childcare workers who want to look after or help raise the same kids day after day. In a lot of cases, nannies even get to live in the households where they work. As a result, nannies often develop deep bonds with kids and enjoy experiencing their more innocent outlooks on life. Many nannies also receive free or discounted room and board.
- Average salary: $25,510
- Top-end salary: $35,800 or more
Hairstylists and other beauty professionals often get to carry out their services on children and engage them in fun and memorable conversations. Your income potential can also grow substantially by starting your own salon or mobile service.
- Average salary: $31,530
- Top-end salary: $51,870 or more
Like cosmetologists, barbers also frequently have opportunities to engage kids in interesting or wild discussions. Some barbershops are known for exactly that. Yearly wages can significantly increase if you become the owner of a barbershop.
- Average salary: $35,190
- Top-end salary: $56,630 or more
18. Museum educator
If you've been to popular museums, then you know that kids usually make up a large percentage of their visitors, especially on days with school field trips. So just imagine all of the wide-eyed curiosity and inspired conversations that take place between kids and museum guides.
- Median salary: $35,9441
- Top-end salary: $45,000 or more
19. Art therapist
By fostering creative self-expression in troubled kids, you could help them discover more about themselves as they learn how to talk about or cope with the challenges in their lives. Plus, you'll likely get to see just how diverse the imaginations and inner lives of children really are.
- Median salary: $45,2201
- Top-end salary: $63,000 or more
20. Family therapist
Counselors in this field often devise creative strategies for helping children express their feelings, concerns, and desires. Through therapy, kids often provide windows into fascinating inner worlds that remind us what it's like to be young.
- Average salary: $54,590
- Top-end salary: $87,700 or more
21. Radiologic technologist
Children tend to have a lot of energy. So when they're active, many of them play hard and take risks. As a result, many kids break bones or get other internal injuries that require diagnostic images. That's why being an x-ray technician or MRI technologist can mean getting to interact with children as they tell their stories of adventure.
- Average salary: $63,120
- Top-end salary: $89,760 or more
Introducing young people to the magic and power of books and other sources of stories and knowledge can be highly rewarding. As you help them discover new wonders, they often reflect that sense of possibility.
- Average salary: $61,920
- Top-end salary: $94,520 or more
23. Recreation worker
Many communities have parks and recreation centers where kids can play, have fun, and engage in organized activities. That means plenty of opportunities are available for people who want to participate in those activities and help kids take advantage of what their communities offer.
- Average salary: $29,330
- Top-end salary: $44,000 or more
24. Child portrait photographer
Even though almost everyone now has a phone with a built-in camera, professional photographers are still sought-out by people who want extraordinary photos of their special events or loved ones. For pros in this field, taking pictures of kids is often one of the most fun and playful ways to make money. You simply never know what to expect, which makes it exciting.
- Average salary: $45,440
- Top-end salary: $79,440 or more
Few things are more rewarding than helping kids set goals, playing a direct role in their personal development, and watching them achieve what they've set out to do. Coaching is often full of joyful moments. And even when kids come up short of their expectations, coaches have the opportunity to provide encouragement and restore the big smiles that they love so much.
- Average salary for paid coach positions: $44,910
- Top-end salary: $78,890 or more
26. Camp director
Did you ever get to go to summer camp? If so, it was probably one of the most exciting and memorable times of your life. Often, summer camp is where kids get to be themselves while discovering that they are capable of much more than they realized. So just picture being the person who gets to coordinate everything while witnessing kids enjoying some of the best experiences they'll ever have.
- Median salary: $40,1381
- Top-end salary: $66,000 or more
27. Recreation director
As the person in charge of a youth recreation program (such as those offered by the YMCA), you could enjoy many of the same benefits that camp directors experience. But in this case, your job may be closer to home and less seasonal.
- Median salary: $59,8711
- Top-end salary: $99,000 or more
28. Child party entertainer
Do you have any special talents or like being the center of attention? Many parents go out of their way to make their kids' birthday parties or other celebrations as memorable as they can. So being a clown, magician, or other entertainer-for-hire can be a great way to share in the fun and create joyful memories for both you and the kids that you captivate.
- Median salary: $35,6282
- Top-end salary: $89,622 or more
4 Huge Benefits That Careers With Children Provide
1. A Deep Sense of Purpose
We've all heard the cliché that children are our future. But have you ever paused and considered just how true that is? Today's kids will inherit the world, and many of them will become tomorrow's leaders, caretakers, inventors, and artists. That means you have the chance to help shape the future by contributing your talents toward the positive development and growth of young people in your community.
Few things are more fulfilling than knowing that your work means something. In the case of working with children, jobs are frequently infused with real purpose. That's especially true in career sectors such as education, healthcare, and counseling and human services. By helping kids flourish, you can play a crucial role in giving them great head starts on all of the possibility and potential still ahead of them.
2. Exposure to Wildly Fresh Perspectives
Do you remember what it was like to see the world through young eyes? As a kid, you were probably curious about everything. And you probably didn't edit your thoughts or ideas the way that most adults do. It meant that you were fascinated by even the most mundane stuff, and you felt like a real visionary when you crafted your own theory about something.
As an adult, you can learn a lot from kids. Even a brief interaction with a young person can be powerful enough to break holes in the mental box that clouds or restricts your thinking. It can be a boon to your creativity and help you spark new solutions. At the very least, it can remind you that it's always possible to tap back into that youthful mindset.
And that's the bottom line: For anyone who values seeing the world in new ways, being able to interact with creative people is often the key to finding jobs that work. With children around, there is rarely a shortage of fun or unusual ideas. It's something that a lot of people who've studied or worked in the social sciences have learned firsthand.
3. Opportunities to Earn High Pay
It may not be immediately obvious, but following your passion for kids can lead to high-paying jobs. Working with children is something that many top-level professionals get to do daily.
Several professional sectors offer paths to specialization in exactly this area. They include psychology, law, nursing, and many other areas of professional health care. Some people even become experts in business and start companies that provide entertainment or other services to kids.
4. More Play, More Laughter, More Smiles
We've all seen it: Young kids seem to enjoy life a lot more than adults. They often display vibrant and playful energy that many of us lose somewhere along our paths to adulthood. At any given time, they are much more likely to be dancing, singing, smiling, laughing, or engaging their imaginations. Is it any wonder that people who work with kids often have more joyful careers? Dealing with children on this level is just plain fun.
The above examples are often wonderful careers for people who enjoy experiencing that kind of youthful and adventurous spirit. With children as a major focus, they include occupations in areas such as entertainment, sports and recreation, and the arts.
Discover Your Own Path Forward
Take a moment to find out where you can get training for meaningful kid-related jobs. Working with children may just become a big part of your future.
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