How to Become a Nanny (Duties, Salary and Steps)

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Reviewed by Chris Leitch

How to become a nanny

There are many rewarding career options out there, and nannying sure is one of them. If you enjoy working with young children and are a patient, caring and attentive person, then this is a professional path that is worth considering.

In this article, we dive into the most important details of this career, including the different types of nannies, their duties, working hours, and salary prospects. So, read on to find out what it takes to become a nanny!

What is a nanny?

Nannies are professional childcare providers. They are tasked with looking after young children within a family setting, usually on a full-time basis. A nanny’s role revolves around providing children with a safe and caring environment by being responsible for their wellbeing and early childhood development.

What are the different types of nannies?

Depending on a family’s individual needs, a nanny may provide different services, including:

  • Nanny housekeeper: This is a cross-functional nanny job that includes childcare and housekeeping services.
  • Live-in nanny: A live-in nanny is exclusively focused on childcare duties while residing in the family’s house.
  • Live-out nanny: Live-out nannies share the same duties as live-in nannies but do not reside with the families they work for.
  • Au pair: Au pairs are usually overseas students who live with a host family. In exchange for room and board, they help with childcare and housework.
  • Night nanny: As their title suggests, night nannies take care of newborn babies during the evenings.

What does a nanny do?

A nanny’s duties and responsibilities will vary based on the family they are working for. However, the job often involves:

  • Getting children ready for school and bedtime
  • Preparing children’s meals and snacks
  • Dropping off and picking up children from school
  • Organizing games and activities
  • Helping with homework
  • Setting up doctor’s appointments
  • Monitoring playtime
  • Following a routine defined by the parents
  • Assisting during family trips and vacations

Where do they work?

Nannies work in their clients’ homes and often live on the premises, too. Depending on their assigned duties, they may also need to travel short distances during their working hours to accompany children to school, extracurricular activities, doctor appointments, and so on.

What is more, in some cases, a nanny may also be asked to join the family they work for on a trip or vacation to look after the children when needed.

How many hours do they work?

The typical working time for nannies is variable, spanning from 9 to 12 hours a day. They may also vary from day to day, based on the children’s and parents’ schedules.

It is common for nannies to have guaranteed hours, which is a set number of hours they will be paid for each week. Any hours that exceed that amount are usually covered as overtime pay by their employer to ensure they are fairly compensated.

What do nannies earn?

Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey, childcare workers, which include nannies, earn an annual wage of $28,520, and an hourly wage of $13.71, on average.

At the lowest end of the income scale, the 10th percentile can expect to earn $10.22 per hour, or $21,250 annually, while on the other side of the scale, the 90th percentile can earn $18.79 per hour, or $39,090 a year.

The highest-paying states for childcare workers across the US include the District of Columbia ($40,370), Massachusetts ($38,840), California ($37,430), Washington ($36,920) and New York ($35,190).

In a snapshot:

Nanny Salary Graphic

What is the job outlook for nannies?

The employment of childcare workers is expected to decrease by 2% between 2022 and 2032. So, while there were 945,900 childcare providers in 2022, this number will decline to approximately 927,400 by 2032. What is more, the BLS has projected about 153,100 annual openings for childcare professionals, on average, over the next decade.

What are the entry requirements?

To pursue this career path, you’ll need to meet a certain set of requirements:


While there aren’t any specific educational requirements for nannies, a bachelor’s degree in early childhood development or education could be beneficial since will equip you with the necessary knowledge to work with children and better understand them through different development stages.

Skills and qualities

As a nanny, you’ll need to have a range of skills and qualities. For example, patience, good verbal communication and time management will be crucial for dealing with young children and overseeing their daily schedules and routines.

Training, licensing and certifications

There are no formal licenses or certifications you’ll need to work as a nanny. However, completing certifications such as newborn care, children’s nutrition and special needs care could be beneficial. Additionally, first aid and CPR training is usually a prerequisite.

Do you have what it takes?

Working as a nanny requires patience, compassion and real commitment. It can be a highly rewarding career path, albeit also challenging since you will be responsible for the safety and wellbeing of young children.

If you’re questioning whether you’re suited for this profession, then the CareerHunter test could help. Through this six-part assessment, you can discover which career paths are tailor-made for you based on your interests, skills and passions.

How to become a nanny

Are you interested in pursuing this profession? Then the following steps will help you get started:

Step 1: Gain experience in childcare

Before you can work as a nanny, it would be wise first to expand your experience as a childcare provider.

A good way to get started is through babysitting gigs. You can also gain more informal experience by looking after the children of your friends and family on some occasions. Another option is to assist at childcare centers or schools.

The more familiar you are with looking after children, the easier it will be to transition into a full-time role.

Step 2: Attain training and certifications

Despite there not being any specific certifications or training you will need as a nanny, upskilling for this role can only increase your job prospects.

For example, if a family is looking to hire a nanny who can look after their newborn baby, having completed training in infant care will help you stand out from a pool of candidates. Similarly, a certificate in first aid and CPR will be a big plus in your job application.

Importantly, it can also prepare you for dealing with various situations as a nanny, hence making you a better caretaker.

Step 3: Consider a higher education degree

There are no educational prerequisites to work as a nanny, but a college degree could be a wise step.

If you’re passionate about childcare, then a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject, such as early childhood education, could not only help you land a job as a nanny but also pursue other opportunities in the long run. For example, after working as a nanny, you may decide to pursue a teaching career. Having a bachelor’s degree will make these opportunities available to you.

Step 4: Familiarize yourself with the profession

As a newcomer in this field, the more you are aware of, the better.

For starters, you should familiarize yourself with the available agencies and organizations you could work for and the average rates for different types of nannies in your area. Having this information at hand will help you find the best opportunities for you and negotiate better terms when interviewing for a job.

Step 5: Build an online presence

The easiest and fastest way to get hired as a nanny is to set up an online profile on different job platforms. Make sure to include a detailed list of your skills, qualifications and experience when doing so.

If you want to take the extra step, then you should also touch upon your professional objectives and values as a nanny; this will help prospective clients get a better idea of who you are and whether you would be a good match for their family.

How to become a celebrity nanny

If you’re interested in childcare with a bit of glamor, then becoming a celebrity nanny, where you’ll be looking after the children of high-profile clients, could be a thrilling option. Here’s how to make this happen:

  • Become a seasoned childcare professional with extensive experience
  • Attain a specialization such as infant care, language teaching or children’s nutrition
  • Pass an enhanced background check to prove you have a clean criminal record
  • Collect solid references from your previous employers
  • Register with a celebrity nanny agency to be hired by VIP clients

Final thoughts

Working as a nanny is a highly rewarding occupation. It is also a job that requires responsibility, accountability, and lots of patience. After all, working with children calls for a unique set of skills and abilities that can ensure their safety and wellbeing.

If you feel that this is the career path for you, then the above steps will set you on the right track!

Got a question about becoming a nanny? Let us know in the comments section below.