There are many types of professionals who work with infants. A few of these careers are nurses, therapists and mental health specialists. Some of these professionals require just a year or two of education, while others require an extensive education that includes a master's degree.
Newborn Nurse Specialist
These are nurses who train specifically to work with infants during the newborn phase. To become this type of specialist, you need to complete some type of RN nursing program. Although the basic educational training is not oriented completely toward babies, it is important to have overall health training. Once this two- to three-year program is complete, a newborn nurse specialist can intern with a pediatric center or the postpartum area of a local hospital. You should also take other specialized pediatric courses after graduating from a nursing program.
Infant Massage Therapist
This professional helps premature infants develop their muscles and functionality. You need to take an infant massage therapy program and become licensed to practice. Some programs specialize in infant massage, while others do not offer this specialty, so prospective students should ask about infant massage coursework. Some professionals in this area first become certified as massage therapists and then take special infant massage therapy courses and workshops. To find this type of program, call your local community college or visit websites like Loving Touch, liddle kidz or Body Therapy Associates (See Resources). These specialized courses and workshops can be as short as a few weeks, while others take a year or two.
This field is varied, but people who choose this career path deal with autism-specific therapy. These specialists work in early intervention with infants who show signs of autism, helping them before further developmental problems occur. The autism therapist spots early warning signs and helps parents interact with autistic babies. This career path takes a great deal of preparation, and candidates must have a bachelor's degree and often a master's in a mental health field to be eligible for state certification.
Infant Care Worker
Childcare workers teach, nurture and take care of infants and children who are too young to enter kindergarten. People who work in this field influence a child’s early development by socializing with and caring for them. They help children explore their interests and grow emotionally and intellectually. The education requirements for this position vary. Entry-level positions might require nothing more than a high school degree, while higher positions require a college degree.