How to Become a Nanny: Career Guide

Oct 20, 2021

Research the requirements to become a nanny. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in as a nanny.

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Should I Become a Nanny?

A nanny is a childcare provider who also handles other duties in the home, such as cleaning, doing laundry, or tutoring children. Nannies aid in the intellectual and emotional growth of the children they care for and often work for a family for the minimum contract of one year. They can be employed part-time or full-time, and they often live with the families who employ them. The median annual salary for nannies, according to in February 2020, was $33,405.

Career Requirements

Education None; associate's degree and/or certifications in early childcare preferred
Certification CPR and first aid certification common; voluntary certifications available
Experience Varies by position
Key Skills Strong communication and instructional skills; patience and stamina
Additional Requirements 18+ years old; good health, up to date on immunizations, and negative TB test; pass background and drug tests
Salary $33,405 (February 2020 median for nannies)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),,

There is no degree required to become a nanny, but an associate's degree and/or specialized certifications in early childcare development may help with career advancement. CPR and first aid certification are commonly required, though. Each family will have their own expectations for a nanny's previous childcare experience. Nannies are typically required to be at least 18 years old. Candidates must be in good health, up to date on immunizations and have negative results on a tuberculosis test. A clean criminal background and negative drug test are also required. You should also have strong communication and instructional skills. Patience is also needed and you need to have stamina to deal with high-energy children.

Steps to Become a Nanny

Let's find out what steps are required to become a nanny:

Step 1: Gain Experience in Child Care

Nannies should have as much experience as possible working with children, either through babysitting, daycare, teaching, or personal experience as a parent or a member of a large family. The amount of experience required will vary significantly from one family to another.

  • Collect references: As you build experience, you should collect references and letters of recommendation from the families, centers, or schools you work with. Having solid references and accurate, up-to-date contact information will make it easier for a family to verify your experience.
  • Volunteer with children: Volunteering through an organization that works with children, such as at a hospital or an after-school program, may expand your career opportunities. Volunteer work will also provide references and experience.

Step 2: Earn an Associate's Degree

A degree is not typically required, but some families may look favorably upon applicants who hold a college degree in early childhood education. An associate's degree program in this field can provide knowledge of child behavior, development, and special needs.

  • Attend parenting classes or lectures: You might benefit from attending lectures related to child development or from taking parenting classes, in addition to earning a degree. Lectures and parenting classes will teach you valuable communication and skills to use when working with children.

Step 3: Join a Professional Organization

Joining a professional organization for nannies can be highly beneficial since organizations often have a wide variety of resources available to members that can help advance their career. For example, the International Nanny Association (INA) provides access to continuing education information, mentoring programs, and other services. Additionally, the INA offers two professional exams for members. The basic skills exam tests a person's childcare knowledge in the areas of health, safety, nutrition and professionalism. The INA credential exam tests applicants on practical childcare knowledge, such as child guidance, family communication, multicultural awareness, and management skills. Passing these exams and earning their respective credentials can help you out to families when applying for jobs.

Step 4: Obtain Additional Credentials

Completing the Child Development Associate (CDA) program offered by the Council for Professional Recognition can help you stand out as professionals in the field. This national credentialing program assesses a person's knowledge and abilities in childcare. To earn the title of CDA, you must be competent in a variety of areas, such as safety, health, teaching, communication, creativity, socialization, family child care, and management. CDAs can also earn an additional endorsement in nurturing bilingual development in settings where English and a second language are regularly used. The CDA credential is required for child care center staff and preschool teachers in most states and thus may also provide nannies with alternate job opportunities.

To become a nanny, you need to gain experience and skills in working with children, which may include getting a degree, attending training classes, and obtaining certification and professional credentials.

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