Another great option to get an idea of working with kids is nannying. I babysat through high school, and while studying abroad and the summer before starting at Google, I nannied in Spain! You can definitely work with children and not just be a babysitter (Teacher, pediatrician, etc), so I'd encourage you to keep your options open!
You should go to college if you want to go to college. It's a great life experience. It's definitely possible to work as a nanny without a degree. You'll be more competitive with a degree however. My girlfriend got her bachelors degree and works as a nanny now. It does make job hunting easier.
Jared ChungCareerVillage.org Team BACKER
Since you love kids, I would encourage you to consider more job options than just babysitting. Usually babysitting is something that you can start doing in high school to make a little extra cash on the side. It usually doesn't require a college degree, but you also need to be aware that under normal conditions, it's not a job that provides steady work nor significant compensation. If you're talking about working at a day-care center, then you might be able to get closer to a sustainable compensation, but you might want to find a day-care center that is in a more affluent neighborhood if you want to increase your chances of making ends meet personally. I also have to warn you that there aren't necessarily a lot of natural careers to jump to after working in day-care. Working at a school might be one exception. If you want to work with kids, have you considered being a teacher? There's a lot to learn about how children develop, how they learn, and how they behave, and you can go to college to learn about that, before becoming a teacher.
I would also encourage you to consider what age of child you would like to spend time with. Are you talking about toddlers? Adolescents? You need to make sure to aim for a career that will allow you to work with the kind of children you want to spend time with. The difference between being a kindergarden teacher and a high school math teacher is just huge!
If you love kids, you should keep working with kids! Maybe one way to get started is to babysit now. When I was in high school, I did some babysitting for families in my neighborhood and it helped me earn a little bit of money on the side. It also helped me to appreciate the responsibility required to care for a young person. Go for it!
As a parent myself, I do not think babysitter requires degree but it is always considered as a big plus if he/she is educated. Parents always prefer to hire nannies/babysitters with knowledge in both academic and non-academic areas. We all care about what our kids do when they are around different sitters/nannies. In short, I'd say it's not a requirement but it is highly recommended for a sitter to have higher education level.