If you’re considering joining the ranks of the 1.3 million Americans who have careers in the field of child care, you may be in the market for a nanny job. Before you decide if a nanny job is right for you, make sure you understand the role and job expectations, and consider the skills and background required to be a top-notch nanny.

What is a Nanny?

A nanny is a child care specialist who works in a family’s home to provide customized, personalized care for children. A nanny job may be full or part-time, and may or may not be a live-in nanny arrangement. Nanny jobs require a love of children and genuine interest in their well-being, growth and development.

Nanny Background and Skills

Nanny job candidates typically have experience caring for children, either babysitting or caring for their own kids, or working with children as a teacher, counselor, nurse, or daycare provider. Typical core skills for a nanny job include dependability, emotional maturity, high-energy, and adaptability. You should have the ability to focus on a each child’s needs, provide a safe and stimulating environment, and remain patient and calm under pressure.

“In addition to understanding how to protect and enrich the lives of the children in their care, a professional nanny needs to be able to communicate effectively with his or her employers,” says Marcia Hall, first vice president for the International Nanny Association (INA). “Good nannies excel at caring for children, the great ones can also interact with the child’s parents with ease and honesty.”

Nanny Training and Certification

While there is no formal training required for a nanny job, there are many specialized classes and certification programs that will help you become a more knowledgeable caregiver, and make you more attractive to parents looking to hire a nanny. These include:

  • CPR and First Aid Certification— According to the INA nearly 83% of nannies are CPR and First Aid Certified. You can find a class for training and certification (certification typically lasts only two years, so you may need to be re-certified) through the American Red Cross, which also offers Water Safety Education classes; or the American Heart Association.
  • Early Childhood Development and Education—It’s difficult to care for a child and meet his developmental needs without an awareness of typical development. You can find a course at a local community college by searching the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
  • Newborn Care—Local hospitals provide basic newborn training classes to teach diapering, bathing, infant behavior, sleep patterns, recognizing illness, and comforting techniques.

Typical Nanny Duties

Just as no two families are the same, no two nanny jobs are exactly alike. The key to being a successful nanny is understanding a family’s unique needs and knowing how to best use your skills set to nurture, care for, and manage childcare so the family can function to the best of its ability. Here are some typical nanny job duties:

  • Attending to each child’s safety and needs.
  • Planning and providing developmentally appropriate play and learning activities for children in and out of the home.
  • Providing intellectual stimulation and helping older kids with homework.
  • Providing necessary transportation to school and activities.
  • Reinforcing the family’s rules and discipline techniques for the children when appropriate.
  • Meal planning and preparation for the children.
  • Basic household management related to the children, such as doing their laundry and keeping their belongings clean and organized.
  • Traveling with the family.

Nanny Job Specialties

There are several nanny specialties—in addition to a general nanny who cares for one or more children. Specialty nanny jobs, which typically require more experience and training, and therefore, offer higher pay, include a newborn nanny, who provides care for the first months of an infant’s life; a multiples nanny, who specializes in caring for twins, triplets or other multiples; a temporary nanny, who provides sick care or short-term backup care; and a special needs nanny, who has extensive knowledge and experience caring for children who need specialized care, such as those with ADHD, Autism Spectrum, or developmental or physical disabilities.

Expected Pay for a Nanny Job

Nannies salaries vary based on location (bigger cities tend to pay higher wages), experience, job duties, and number of children. An INA Salary and Benefits Survey shows that live-out nannies (nannies who do not live with the family) who work part-time are paid, on average, an hourly rate of $7.25 to $20 or more per hour. Full-time, live-out nannies earn a weekly salary of $350 to $1,000 or more. To see what nannies are making in your area, view UrbanSitter’s nanny salary survey.

Finding the Nanny Job That’s Right For You

A nanny job can be a rewarding, fun experience that provides you with the opportunity to have an impact on a child’s life. To find a nanny job that is right for you, have open and honest conversations with potential employers about job duties and expectations to be sure you are in synch. A good rapport is also essential for a successful relationship.

If you are interested in child care, but are not certain that a nanny job—which often requires a full or part-time commitment—is for you, you may want to consider babysitting opportunities, which offer excellent experience if you decide to pursue a career as a nanny at a later date.

To find babysitting and nanny jobs, let family and friends know you are available, check local job boards or sign up with UrbanSitter, which allows you to create a personal profile to showcase your skills, experience, and availability so you can easily connect with parents searching for child care.

You can also browse babysitting and nanny jobs on UrbanSitter to find job opportunities near you.

By Dawn Van Osdell, Contributing Writer for UrbanSitter

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