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How to Become a Nanny

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Making Bright Smiles and Bright Futures

If you enjoy every aspect of children, including caring for their well-being, teaching them new skills and planning physical activities, you might want to become a nanny. Nannies generally work in a family’s home so the children are in their own environment and comfortable there. If you are planning on becoming a mother, working as a full-time nanny can help you learn all aspects of caring for children in advance.

Job Description

A nanny has many duties when supervising and caring for children. You’ll make sure they are safe, prepare meals and snacks, feed smaller children and maintain good hygiene. You'll organize their activities and make learning new items fun. Depending on the ages of the children in a family, you might also be responsible for driving them places such as to school, daycare or after-school activities. In a home with more than one child, you'll teach each child how to handle social interactions with others, like how to share toys and take turns. You also need good communication skills to report to the parents on the children’s well-being, progress, interests and routines.

Education Requirements

There isn’t a legal requirement for a nanny to have any special education; however, having some postsecondary education or an early childhood accreditation will likely open up more opportunities for work. This is especially true if you apply with an agency to find placement with a family.

The Council for Professional Recognition and the National Association for Family Child Care offer nationally recognized credentials. Each program provides experience and training in the field and a period of work when you’ll be observed working with children while under observation.

Another important certification that can give you a leg up in being hired as a nanny is a CPR and first-aid certification. Contact your local American Red Cross for a schedule of classes in your area, or contact the National CPR Foundation to get online training and certification. These types of certifications look great on your resume and show your dedication to agencies or families when you are applying for a position as a nanny.

About the Industry

About 29 percent of nannies are self-employed, so you might be able to control your hours and work part-time to have time with your own children. Depending on a family’s work schedule and school schedule, you might be needed for only half a day to drive children to activities or appointments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that two in five nannies work part-time around their schedules and their clients' schedules, although some nannies work over 40 hours a week to watch smaller children while the parents commute to and from work.

Years of Experience

The middle hourly wage of a nanny is $10.18, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The range of pay is dictated by the amount of experience and education you have. The lower 10 percent of the workforce earns less than $8.26 per hour, and the top 10 percent of hourly wages is more than $15.25 per hour.

You can expect to make more money as you gain experience as a nanny. Here is a projection of what to expect as an annual wage by years of experience:

  • 0 to 5 years: $26,000
  • 5 to 10 years: $30,000
  • 10 to 20 years: $31,000
  • Over 20 years: $31,000

These average compensations include bonuses, tips and overtime pay for a nanny position, which are common when working for a family in their home.

Job Growth Trend

Employment of nannies is expected to grow 7 percent through 2026. This growth rate is about the average for all occupations in the workforce.

Childcare will always be needed for families where both parents work. The importance of childhood education is widely recognized for the intellectual and emotional growth of children in a home setting as well as in daycare centers.

Job opportunities for nannies are favorable due to the need to replace workers who retire or leave this profession. If you have some extra education in childhood development and life-saving courses, you'll have the best job prospects.