How to Become a Nanny: Job Description, Salary & Training


Do you mind changing dirty diapers? How about becoming a personal tissue for runny noses? Do you like to sing nursery rhymes over and over like a broken record only to hear “again again!!” shouted at you upon completion? Well if you haven’t run for cover by now, we’ll go ahead and assume that you are indeed interested in becoming a nanny. If this is the case keep on reading because we have some really awesome information for you.

How to Become a Nanny

Before we dive into the in depth discussion of how to become a nanny, let’s first decide if you even really want to have a job like this. First ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I like kids enough to be around them for hours upon end?
  • Do I mind cleaning, doing laundry or tutoring said children?
  • Can I keep up with the constant demands and mood swings…not to mention the copious amount of snot that is produced by little people?
  • Do you want to be an integral part of the growth and development of young minds?
  • Are you prepared to love and nurture some little munchkins as if they were your own?

If you feel like these demands are not too much for you, then keep on reading because we are going to teach you everything that you need to know to become an amazing nanny!

Step 1: Get Some Child Care Experience Under Your Belt

Getting some experience in child care is a very important step to becoming a nanny because without it, you will be unprepared and in for a bit of a shock once you are ready to begin work. You can gain experience by babysitting, working in a daycare, being a teacher or even through your own parenting or sibling relationships.  The amount of experience that will be required to become a nanny will certainly vary from family to family, but a good amount of experience will be needed.

Step 2: Earn an Associate’s, Bachelor’s Degree or Child Care Certification

While a degree or certificate may not be required by some families to become a nanny for them, there are those families that look more favorably upon those with them. Having a degree or certificate can provide you with a very wide berth of experience in the areas of child behavior, development and special needs.

Here are a few examples of programs you could look into:

Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program. You'll learn new strategies and techniques for your classroom while expanding your knowledge and skills as an educator.

Programs:

  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Curriculum & Instruction: Early Childhood Education

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Programs:

  • Undergraduate in Early Childhood
  • Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Administration

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Programs:

  • Early Childhood Education - EdS
  • Early Childhood Education - Doctor of Education
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Programs:

  • Master's (M.Ed.) - Secondary Education
  • Master's (M.Ed.) - Leadership of Educational Organizations
  • Master's (M.Ed.) - Elementary Education

Step 3: Join a Profession and Reputable Organization

This is also a very important step to becoming a nanny. It’s a good idea to get onboard with a professional organization because they have many helpful resources available that will help your career to advance. The International Nanny Association (INA) is a great example of an organization. They offer continuing education programs, mentoring programs and also offer two basic skills exams. These two exam options will test your childcare knowledge in areas like health, safety, nutrition as well as your professionalism. The other exam will test you in child guidance, family communication, multicultural awareness and management skills. If you are able to pass these two exams you will earn some credentials that can help you to shine brighter than other applicants for a nanny job.

Step 4: Obtain Additional Credentials

It is a good idea to complete the Child Development Associate (CDA) program that is offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. This program can also help nannies stand out as more professional than nannies without it. The CDA is a program that helps to assess your knowledge and childcare abilities. In order to earn the title of a CDA, you will have to show that you are knowledgeable in the areas of safety, health, teaching, communication, creativity, socialization, family child care and managements. You may also earn additional certifications in bilingual development too.

Here are a few additional success tips to becoming a nanny:

  • Collect references: As you build your experience as a nanny, be sure to collect references to use for your next nanny job. If you have a solid list of references it will make it easier for the families that you are applying with to verify your experience
  • Volunteer with children: Becoming a volunteer within an organization that specializes in the care of children is a great way to gain both references and experience. Take a look for volunteer positions in hospitals or after school programs for starters.
  • Attend extra classes and lectures: Attending parenting classes or other lectures on early childhood development is also a great way to expand your knowledge base and make yourself stand out among a vast sea of other nannies.

What are Some Important Skills and Traits that a Nanny Should Have?

This is a very good question! It’s always good to know what type of skills and abilities are needed for any job, but especially one like being a nanny. Here are some important things to keep in mind when you are tossing around the idea of becoming a nanny!

Skills:

  • Social perceptiveness be aware of how and why others understand and react
  • Speaking – Effectively speak to others to convey your true meaning
  • Active ListeningPay very close attention to what those around you are saying. You’ll need to take the time to understand and absorb the key points that are being made by the speaker.
  • Judgment and Decision Making – Being able to weigh the pros and cons of a situation and selecting the most appropriate one
  • MonitoringMonitoring the children and their environment for areas that are in need of improvement or tweaking
  • Complex Problem Solving – It will be very helpful to have the ability to problem solve on a deeper level. You’ll be able to assess and put some changes into action.
  • Critical ThinkingUsing reason and logic to break down situations will also be very important.
  • Service Orientation – This is just a fancy way to say that you are going to try to help the parents that you are a nanny for as well as the little kids that you will be caring for.
  • Time ManagementGiven that you will be managing the day to day lives of children, having time management skills will be super important.
  • Coordination – It will be a challenge to maintain everyone’s schedule, so being able coordinate the schedules will be super helpful

Abilities:

  • Problem Sensitivity – Being in touch and in tune with those around you will help you deal when something goes wrong or even sense it before it happens.
  • Oral Comprehension – You’ll want to have the ability to really listen and comprehend what is being said to you.
  • Deductive Reasoning – This will give you the skills needed to apply a general rule to a specific issue. With this ability you will be able to solve the issue with your awesome problem solving skills
  • Inductive Reasoning – This is the ability to  meld tid bits of information together to get a hold on general rules
  • Speech Clarity – This is especially important since you will be working with little people that are just learning how to speak. The best way for them to learn from you is to hear clear and concise speech
  • Speech Recognition – It’s super important to be able to understand another person’s speech to effectively communicate. This is true for nannies that may work with families that speak multiple languages as well.
  • Written Comprehension – Since you will be around kids all day you should definitely know how to read and write.

How to Become a Nanny with No Experience

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You can certainly become a nanny without any schooling experience, but it may be a bit difficult to find a nanny position without any experience in childcare…not to mention you may not want to become a nanny without first having dipped your toe into the kiddie pool. You may also run into an issue with finding a family that will employ you without any experience with actual children.

So while it is totally possible to get a job as a nanny without having any experience, it’s not necessarily going to be the best way to find a job. If you can get a bit of experience babysitting whether it be for family or other unknown people, that is ideal. This is especially the case if you don’t intend to go to school for any sort of child education degree.

What are the Requirements to Become a Nanny?

This is a very good question with a multilayered answer. There aren’t any additional educational requirements to become a nanny, but having some degrees or certifications under your belt will certainly help you to expand your job pool. Let’s take a quick look at the job requirements to become a nanny:

  • Degree Level: As we’ve said, there isn’t a required degree to become a nanny. You can however receive an associate’s, bachelor’s or other specialized certification is child development, psychology or other appropriate area.
  •  Certifications: It is a very good idea to become CPR and first aid certified. Kids tend to get into things and may even test their abilities to fly like their favorite super hero. Having a good foundation in first aid may really come in handy.
  • Experience: The amount of experience that is needed will vary because each family will have their own personal preferences.
  • Additional Requirements: Most families want their nannies to be at least 18 years old, in good health, up to date on immunizations and have negative tuberculosis test results. You must also be able to pass a criminal background test as well as have negative drug test results.
  • Key Skills: As a nanny, you will also want to have some key skills in order to successfully become an amazing nanny to some pretty cool little rug rats. As a nanny, you will want to have the following skills:
  • Strong communication and instructional skills
  • Patience when working with challenging tots
  • Loads of stamina to keep up with the little whirling dervishes that children can often represent
  • Active listening and critical thinking skills are very helpful when dealing with and relating to children as well

Education of a Nanny

By now we know that you don’t absolutely have to go to school to become a nanny, but you will be doing yourself a pretty big favor by having some education under your belt. You can approach this from a few avenues too. You can shoot for getting an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or a certification of some sort. Let’s take a quick look at a few education options that will hopefully help to lead you in the right direction.

Jefferson State Community College

Jefferson State Community College offers an Associate’s degree in Child Development. This is a course that has a strong focus in childhood development and all of its elements. In this degree program you can expect to take classes like, Introduction of Early Care and Education, Child Growth and Development Principles, Child Growth and Children’s Creative Experiences. You’ll be armed with some very useful knowledge upon completion of this associate’s degree.

Lesley University

Lesley University offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Studies. This Child Studies BA program is designed with the intent to submerse students into the world of youth populations. You will learn a lot during your studies about family, community, culture, society and psychological development. Some of the classes that you can be expected to take are Child Psychology, Sociology of Family and Critical Issues in Infancy.

Council for Professional Recognition

The Council for Professional Recognition offers a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential. This credential program is available in the areas of preschool, infant/toddler, family care and for home visitors. The point of the CDA credentials intent is to earn recognition for your preparedness to care for children of all ages and backgrounds. This is a great credential for nannies to have in their arsenal as it lends a real sense of credibility and families will likely value it.

Additional Credential Options

We also want to mention that there are other ways to receive child care credentials that will help you to get a job as a nanny. A few websites that you may want to take a look at that offer credential programs are for the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation, International Nanny Association and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

How Much Does a Nanny Make?

Now we know you are surely wondering how much you are going to bank after you spend hour after hour and day after day wiping noses, changing diapers and cleaning up the messes of little people. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a nanny makes an average of $19,510.40 a year or $9.38 an hour as of May 2012. There is a bit of a range here with the lowest 10% of nannies earning $16,328 annually or $7.85 a year. The top 10% are earning a bit more, bringing in $29,515.20 annually or $14.19 an hour.

Pay will definitely vary by family, state, work experience and education experience. Your pay as a nanny will likely be based upon how many hours you actively work a week as well as how many children you are caring for on a daily basis. You may be able to increase your rates a bit for weekend, evening and holiday hours too.

Nanny BLS

How Can I Find a Job as a Nanny?

There are many great ways to find a job as a nanny. Do keep in mind that there are a lot of other people out there trying to promote themselves and score a spot with an awesome family.

Care.com

The website care.com is a great tool for nannies that are looking for a job caring for some little kidlets. This website allows you to make a profile for yourself that details all of your experience with children, educational background as well as space for personal reviews from your previous employers. Care.com is widely used by parents seeking childcare, so it is really a viable option for you to get a good job.

Sittercity.com

Another notable site to take a look at is sittercity.com. This website functions similarly to care.com in that it allows a nanny the opportunity to place a profile in hopes of a family in need of nanny services to see it and offer employment. Parents really like this website as well and frequently check it out for new applicants.

Nanny-isms – Funny Tales of a Nanny

As you can imagine, the life of a nanny can be pretty amusing. We thought it would be a bit funny to grab a few of our nanny friends to get the scoop on some of their funny stories.

Meet Bonnie – Nanny to twin boys in Manhattan, New York

Bonnie shares with us how funny her twin wards are and how they have no issues with throwing their parents under the bus. The boys told Bonnie “My Daddy is so lazy! He leaves his dirty underpants on the floor and Mom gets so mad” and “My Mom spends way too much money and she snores really loudly. That’s probably why Daddy sleeps on the couch”. We can only imagine the other funny things that she has heard during her time as a nanny.

Meet Georgia – Nanny to 4 children under 7

Being that Georgia is a nanny to a gaggle of giggling kiddos that are spread out in age she tends to hear lots of funny bathroom humor. Bella is 7 years old and told Georgia on a regular basis how badly the bathroom smells after she is done or how it is worse after her Dad leaves the bathroom. Sounds to us like it would be hard not to dissolve into giggles being a nanny for this family.

Final Grade

It’s time to get the A, B, C’s or what we like to call the final grade for the job of a nanny. In this section we like to give you our true feelings on a job path based upon all of the information that we have gathered thus far. So, with that in mind, let’s go ahead and give this career a report card.

  • Degree vs. Debt: C

We know that a C seems a bit harsh, but we feel that it is the best grade when considering the degree to debt ratio. The reason we gave this job a C is because the pay is not that high when you consider how low the pay actually is for nannies. Getting an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is not cheap and you will likely incur some debt that you will be required to pay off. It will take you a good amount of time to pay off the debt with the annual salary that you will be earning.

  • Difficulty of Degree: B

Remember that you are not required to have a degree to become a nanny for starters, so if that is the approach you are going to take there isn’t any difficulty involved. For those of you that are interested in pursuing a degree in early childhood education, this will be the section that you want to pay attention to. We feel that the degree programs available are really more than reasonable on the difficulty scale. There isn’t a whole lot of math or technical skills needed…yay! The course work is loaded up with tons of reading, retaining what you’ve read and often writing wicked long papers about said reading.

  • Happiness Quotient: A+

We can think of a job that would be more enjoyable than hanging out with some rambunctious rug rats all day. You have to admit that it would be kind of cool to help shape the lives of little dudes and dudettes each day during their formative years.

  • Job Outlook: A

The job outlook for potential nannies is actually not too shabby. The guys and gals at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are projecting the growth to be about 14% from 2012 to 2022. This growth is a good deal faster than average for all occupations that were researched. We can assume that since more parents are joining the work force that the demand for solid childcare workers is on the rise.

Sources and Recommended Reading

 We love our sources and this hasn’t changed one single bit since our last article. We have some exceptionally great sources this go round that has given us oodles of information to pass on to you. The amount of information that you will be able to review on these websites will a lot to take in, so get your tablet ready to tap away some notes!

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