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How to become a nanny

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Nannies take care of young kids and babies in their client’s homes — sometimes as a live-in nanny, or during set hours.

To find nanny jobs, start by asking around among people you know. Also, check online websites like Care.com to look for nanny jobs in your area.

Here's what you need to know before becoming a nanny:

What is a nanny?

A nanny is a person hired to care for children, usually young children who are not yet school-aged. 

Traditionally, the term nanny has applied to women. A more gender-neutral term that has gained popularity in recent years is “child care provider”—literally, someone who provides care for children. The term “manny” is tossed around for male caregivers in this role.

Nannies work out of the homes of their clients and often also perform other roles for the family, such as housekeeping, errand running, meal prep and food shopping. 

Nannies can work full-time or part-time hours for their clients, and some live in the homes of the family.

Parents might hire a nanny for full-time hours between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., when they are at work and need childcare. Because these nannies can only tend to one family at a time, they often charge higher rates than those who watch the children of multiple families at once. Alternatively, a family might only need a nanny on certain days of the week. In either case, their schedules tend to be consistent and regular. 

Babysitting and nannying are not the same thing. Babysitters are usually hired out on an as-need basis and for an hourly rate. Babysitters may watch children in their home or their client’s homes, and they may work any hours but especially during the evening. Nannies are paid as W2 workers for a set number of hours weekly or monthly.

What kind of tasks do nannies do?

Most nannies will perform a mix of the following tasks:

  • Supervise children and monitoring them for safety
  • Prepare meals and snacks
  • Change diapers
  • Administer medication to children
  • Organize games and activities
  • Help children with hygiene, such as brushing their teeth or bathing
  • Plan and initiate naps and nap times
  • Help children learn through reading or educational games
  • Teach children good manners
  • Drive children to appointments or activities
  • Care for sick children in some cases
  • Sometimes travel with the family
  • Housekeeping
  • Errands

Nannies who care for infants will need to be much more hands on in their care than nannies who care for older children. They will typically be responsible for feeding, bathing, and changing diapers, amongst other tasks such as entertaining the child. Nannies of older children typically act more in a supervisory role, and it is not uncommon for nannies of middle- and high-school aged kids to spend a lot of time running the children to activities and appointments. 

Nannies who work in their clients’ homes may perform other tasks for the family, such as housekeeping and laundry. They may also be asked to come along on family vacation and run errands such as picking up dry cleaning and grocery shopping.

Find local nanny jobs now >>

What qualifications do you need to be a nanny? Is there a nanny certification?

There is no legal qualifications for becoming a nanny, though many employers request or require you have at least CPR and first-aid training, which you can get through your local Red Cross.

It’s also possible to earn optional certifications which, while not required, will help you bolster your resume and stand out from the competition. The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), for example, offers a popular credential. Likewise, the US Nanny Association offers three certifications you may want to consider:

  • Nanny and Childcare Provider (NCP) Certification
  • Newborn and Infant Care Professional (NICP) Certification
  • Professional Nanny and Childcare Provider Credential (PNCP) Certification

Child Care Lounge offers very affordable online child care training courses including:

  • Infant and Toddler Care
  • Positive Dicipline
  • Potty Training
  • Dealing with Separation Anxiety

Get $5 off with code REFERRED-WSM now >>

While not required, completing an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education can also help you stand out from the pack, and might even empower you to command a higher salary. If you don’t want to earn a degree, completing courses such as water-safety classes, infant care classes, or special needs courses can likewise improve your hireability. 

Because you will be working with children in client homes, it’s very common to need to submit to a background check to ensure you haven’t been convicted of any felonies. Some clients or employers might even run a credit check. In either case, it’s a good idea to know what’s on both of those reports so you can either take steps to correct mistakes or else just be prepared to speak to any questions your potential clients or employers might have. 

What skills do you need to be a nanny or childcare provider?

In addition to any licensing or credential requirements, there are some personality traits that help with being a nanny. It is extremely helpful to have great communication skills since you’ll be dealing with both parents and children, for example. It also helps to have a lot of patience and the physical stamina to care for children all day long.

Finally, you need to be able to follow the instructions of either your employer or parents that pay you for childcare. And since you’ll be making many decisions throughout the course of a day, it also helps to have excellent analytical and decision-making skills.

How to become a home health aide: 5 HHA training classes to get certified

How much does a nanny make in a year?

How much you’ll earn as a nanny depends on where you live, your experience and what you negotiate with the family you will work for.

Your pay can also depend on how many kids you watch and the ages of the children. Providers caring for an infant can charge more than those watching a toddler or school-age child, for example.

Still, there are some average pay rates to be aware of. According to the 2021 Cost of Care survey conducted by Care.com, nationally the average nanny charges approximately:

  • $15.30 per hour for one child, or about $612 per week
  • $16.35 per hour for two children, or about $654 per week

Since these are national averages, however, nanny rates vary by where you live.

A report by PayScale.com determined that the average nanny earns approximately $15.30 per hour, or about $32,800 per year. Nannies with higher levels of education or greater experience can command up to $20 per hour or more. Nannies rarely have many professional expenses.

By comparison, in-home providers also pay for their own licensing costs and may have expenses for rent, payroll, food, toys, and supplies.

Pros and cons of being a nanny

Like any other job, a career in childcare can have pros and cons that vary depending on the type of position you end up in.

Before you consider a future caring for children, consider these advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of working as a nanny:

  • You get to work with children and provide them with important care
  • You do not need a lot of education to get started
  • You can earn more with more experience, college education, and credentials
  • You may be able to work flexible hours
  • Child care is in demand, which may make it easier to find a job
  • You may be able to bring your own children with you on the job
  • You may be asked to travel with the family. While you will be working on this trip, you may enjoy seeing a new location

Disadvantages of working as a nanny:

  • Caring for children can be stressful and demanding
  • Pay in this field isn’t as high as some other fields
  • You won’t likely receive workplace benefits such as a 401(k) match, health insurance, life insurance, or disability insurance
  • You will have to negotiate your pay and the terms of your work on your own in most cases
  • Work can be unpredictable as you are the mercy of your employer’s needs and whims

How to become a nanny FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about working as nanny:

How to become a professional nanny?

Employers will want to see relevant work experience, any additional education or credentials pertaining to childcare, CPR training, a clean background check and professional appearance, punctuality, and overall great attitude.

And of course, experience and passion for working with children is extremely helpful!

How to become a nanny with no experience?

Start your nanny career by getting paid babysitting jobs, working in a daycare center, and networking with families who hire nannies — as well as with current nannies.

You can also find work through child care agencies.

How do I gain experience to be a nanny?

If you don't have paid experience, you can promote the fact that you have mothered your own children, as well as cared for loved ones. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities at after-school and day care centers.

How to become a nanny for the rich?

If you have experience, good references, a clean background check and typically some higher education, you can apply to be a nanny through a nanny agency that specializes in placing childcare providers with families who need them.

Most cities and towns have local agencies, and you can also find work through Care.com. Many of these high-paying nanny jobs are through word-of-mouth — either referred by other nannies or past employers. Leaving past jobs on good terms is critical!

This article gives the 411 on what it is really like to nanny for a rich family.

As a nanny, am I expected to clean the house?

Many times the job description of a nanny requires some housekeeping, as well as child care. Explicitly outline in writing with your employer what is expected of you during your employment.

How do you find nanny jobs?

If you’re looking for work as a nanny, ask around with people you know — and specifically people who have children. There are many nanny agencies that hire nannies, or match nannies with families. 

The internet is also a treasure trove if you’re looking for childcare work. Some websites where you can find nanny jobs include:

Care.com is an excellent resource since it lets you set up a profile and find families seeking nannies and other childcare arrangements in your area. With Care.com, you can browse family profiles to find a good fit for your needs then contact them when you’re ready.

If you’re ready to begin your career as a nanny, open a free account with Care.com and start your search today >>

Other jobs a nanny can do

Find other career-level work-at-home jobs that are great for moms in this post, or explore 7 business ideas that are great for moms.

What is a nanny?

A nanny is a person hired to care for children, usually young children who are not yet school-aged.

What kind of tasks do nannies do?

Supervise children and monitoring them for safety, prepare meals, and much more. Nannies who work in their clients’ homes may perform other tasks for the family, such as housekeeping and laundry.

What qualifications do you need to be a nanny?

The requirements to become a nanny really depend on the type of nanny position and where you work. 

How much does a nanny make in a year?

Your salary can also depend on how many kids you watch and the ages of the children. Providers caring for an infant can charge a lot more than those watching a toddler or school-age child, for example.

How to become a professional nanny?

Employers will want to see relevant work experience, any additional education or credentials pertaining to childcare, CPR training, a clean background check and professional appearance, punctuality, and overall great attitude.

How to become a nanny with no experience?

Start your nanny career by getting paid babysitting jobs, working in a daycare center, and networking with families who hire nannies — as well as with current nannies.

How do I gain experience to be a nanny?

If you don't have paid experience, you can promote the fact that you have mothered your own children, as well as cared for loved ones. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities at after-school and day care centers.

How to become a nanny for the rich?

If you have experience, good references, a clean background check and typically some higher education, you can apply to be a nanny through a nanny agency that specializes in placing childcare providers with families who need them.

Robyn Evans is an award-winning writer, inspirational author, and occasional songstress (especially in the shower). Born and raised in Baltimore, she focused on helping women make healthy choices for body, mind and soul. She’s a grateful bonus mom to a photographer son and activist daughter and works with young writers through a nonprofit called the Youth Writers Challenge. Robyn writes for corporate clients, is a former feature writer for The Carroll County Times, has written for The Baltimore Sun and is the author of three books.
Robyn's website | Robyn's LinkedIn profile

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