21 Careers Working With Children to Fulfill Your Purpose

Published January 4, 2022
Doctor examining toddler boy with a stethoscope

If you enjoy working with children and want to pursue a career that allows you to do just that, you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are a lot of career options for you to consider. Some require a college degree and/or graduate school, while others do not have extensive educational requirements. The job options listed below have one thing in common: they all involve working with kids.

High-Paying Careers Working With Children

Some of the best-paying careers that involve working with kids are in healthcare or educational administration. Explore a few of the highest-paying options.


Pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in caring for children. Some are primary care doctors who provide well-child care as well as diagnosing and treating a variety of illnesses. Some specialize in a particular field of medicine. For example, pediatric oncologists work with children who are diagnosed with cancer. The path to becoming a pediatrician is a long one, but the work can be fulfilling and rewarding. The median pay for pediatricians is more than $200,000 per year.

Pediatric Nurse

If you like the idea of working in healthcare but don't want to go to medical school after college, pursuing a career as a pediatric nurse is a good career path to consider. Pediatric nurses can work in any setting where healthcare services are provided to children. Some work in medical practices or clinics alongside pediatricians, while others staff the pediatric unit within a hospital. The median salary of a pediatric nurse is around $74,000 per year.

Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists are medical professionals who help people overcome communication difficulties. Many speech-language pathologists specialize in working with children, though some work with children and adults. They use assessments to determine what treatments will be the most effective for their clients, and work with them to improve their ability to communicate through speech and related concerns. The average pay for speech-language pathologists is over $90,000 per year.

Child Psychologist

Child psychologists are mental health professionals who work with children who need support for mental health concerns; behavioral issues; or challenges coping with anxiety, stress, or circumstances they are facing at school, home, or within their families. They provide diagnostic services as well as counseling and treatment. Working as a child psychologist requires a doctoral degree (either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D credential). On average, child psychologists earn more than $80,000 per year.

Family Therapist

Family therapists provide mental health counseling services to families. They often work with children and their parents or with groups of siblings. They focus on helping clients work through challenges or problems associated with family relationships. Doing this type of work requires a master's degree and licensure as a therapist. Some family therapists work for mental health centers, while others are in private practice. The average pay for family therapists is just over $51,000 per year.

School Principal

Portrait of male teacher with arms folded in school corridor

School principals provide administrative management and leadership in K-12 educational settings. Many of a principal's duties are administrative or managerial in nature, but they also regularly interact with the students who are enrolled in their schools, and with the families of their students. They hire teachers and other school employees and ensure that school policies are followed. The average compensation for school principals is more than $110,000 per year.

School-Based Careers Working With Kids

Working as a principal isn't the only school-based job to consider if you enjoy working with kids. Most principals have experience in one or more of the following jobs before they are hired to oversee a school.

Kindergarten/Elementary School Teacher

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers work with students during the first years of their academic careers. They are responsible for helping students master fundamental skills like reading and math, along with other age-appropriate subject matters that will help set them up for success as they move forward throughout their educational careers. Teachers must meet specific educational requirements. The median pay for kindergarten and elementary teachers is around $60,000 per year.

Teacher's Aide

Many schools employ teacher's aides, sometimes called paraprofessionals or teacher's assistants, to work in classrooms with teachers. While teachers have to meet education and licensure requirements, teacher's aides do not. They help teachers track attendance, monitor student activity, reinforce what is taught in class, prepare materials used in lessons and activities, and handle other tasks related to classroom management. The median pay for teacher's aides is over $26,000 per year.

School Counselor

Working as a school counselor is a great way to make a positive impact on the lives of children while earning a comfortable living. School counselors support students with their academic, social, and emotional development needs. They collaborate with teachers and school administrators and also provide outside referrals to specialists or services as needed. Working in this field requires a master's degree in school counseling. The average pay for school counselors is around $58,000 per year.

Child Development Careers to Consider

If you like the idea of helping children reach their potential, consider pursuing a career in child development. Explore some of the most popular careers in this broad field.

Child Care Director

If you want to combine your managerial skills with your love for children, consider working as a child care director. This type of job involves managing a child care center, such as a preschool or daycare provider. In this role, you'll oversee all aspects of the facility and childcare operations, including hiring and training employees and interacting with young children and their families. The average pay for child care directors is around $43,000 per year.

Preschool Teacher

Teacher with a group of preschool children in a nursery

Preschool teachers provide hands-on care and education to very young children. They generally work with toddlers and youngsters up to four years of age, which represents the group of kids who are too young to enroll in kindergarten. Some work within schools that also have programs for higher grade levels, while others work for preschool-specific organizations. An associate degree is generally required for this kind of work. Preschool teachers earn around $30,000 per year.

Child Care Worker

Working in a child care center is another option for people who like the idea of directly interacting with kids in a day-to-day job. Child care workers are employed in daycare centers. Their focus is on watching, taking care of, and playing with the young children who are in their care. They often plan, organize, and oversee activities for the kids. The median hourly pay for child care workers is just over $10.00 per hour, which works out to just under $21,000 per year.

Community-Based Jobs Working With Children

Many community-based agencies and programs focus on providing services to children. If you like the idea of working with children in your career, you may find community-based jobs like the ones listed below to be appealing.

Children's Librarian

Many public libraries hire children's librarians who specialize in children's books. They oversee the facility's collection of children's literature and manage literacy-based programs for children. They often work with school groups that visit the library facilities, organize or lead storytime for young children and their caregivers, and schedule other events and activities of interest to young readers. The average salary for children's librarians is around $46,000 per year.

Child Advocate

Sad girl stands with a bear in an advocate office

Child advocates are social workers who work with children who are in the foster care system. They focus on ensuring that the youngsters they are tasked with assisting are safe and receive proper care and shelter. They work with children in difficult situations, often placing them with foster and/or adoptive families and then following up to ensure that the children's needs are being met. The average pay for a child advocate is around $39,000 per year.

Juvenile Justice Officer

Sometimes referred to as juvenile corrections officers, juvenile justice officers work with children who find themselves in the juvenile justice system as a result of criminal or delinquent behaviors. Most commonly, juvenile justice officers work with youthful offenders who are placed in secure facilities. These centers focus largely on working with children to get the help they need to avoid reoffending. The average pay for juvenile justice officers is around $42,000 per year.

Juvenile Counselors

Juvenile justice facilities also employ social workers and other mental health professionals to work as juvenile counselors. Their role is to provide counseling services and emotional support to the children who are in the facility in order to help them cope with difficulties in their lives that may have led to their placement in such a facility. Some also work with youthful offenders after their release. The average annual pay for juvenile counselors is around $49,000.

More Careers Working With Children

Not all careers with kids are in healthcare, education, or community-based settings. There are a number of other interesting options to consider.

Museum Educator

Museums employ museum educators to organize educational programs and coordinate field trips for school classes, youth groups, and other organizations. This type of job requires a combination of event planning skills and the ability to effectively educate young people. Museum educators are responsible for providing visitors with fun and inspiring experiences that will educate them about the museum's collections. The average pay for museum educators is around $40,000 per year.

Youth Pastor

If you are a religious person with a passion for working with children, consider pursuing a career as a youth pastor. Youth pastors provide support for the spiritual needs and education of young people who are members of the churches for which they work. They lead the children's ministry within churches, which usually includes teaching bible study classes to kids and leading youth groups and activities. The average annual salary for a youth pastor is approximately $49,000 per year.

Dance Instructor

Ballet school class

If you have a passion for dance and want to share your love of this art form, consider becoming a dance instructor, also referred to as a dance teacher. Professional dance instructors usually work for dance studios or arts organizations, where they teach dance classes to preschoolers during the day and to school-age children during afternoon or evening hours. The median pay for dance teachers is around $42,000 per year.

Music Teacher

If you're a talented musician who loves working with kids, consider working as a music teacher. To teach music in a K-12 school, you'll need a degree in education and a teaching certificate, but not all music teaching jobs require those credentials. For example, youth orchestras and arts organizations often employ people to teach music classes. You could even offer music lessons as a self-employed small business owner. The average pay for music teachers is around $44,000 per year.

Private Nanny

Working as a private nanny is a rewarding job for people who like the idea of providing in-home care to a child or a group of siblings. Nannies look after children for families who need assistance with childcare. Some provide live-in caregiving services while others work during specific hours, such as when one or both parents are working or are otherwise occupied. The average hourly pay rate for nannies is just over $15 per hour. Pay is higher in households with multiple children.

Many Options for Working With Kids

These are just a few of the many types of careers that involve working with children. Whether you are just getting started in your professional career, or you are thinking about making a career change, there are a lot of options that will allow you to combine your passion for helping children with the practical matter of earning a living.

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21 Careers Working With Children to Fulfill Your Purpose