How to Become a Nanny: Skills, Requirements & Expectations

Brandi Glass
5 min read
How to Become a Nanny: The Tools You Need to Succeed

So, you want to be a nanny?

Nannies were and continue to be an essential part of busy households around the world. These hardworking professionals care for the physical and psychological wellbeing of children and establish strong bonds with families. Although the job isn't for everyone, it can lead to excellent opportunities and experiences – and many find it a knack and calling.

Nannying is not babysitting; it comes with more intensive responsibilities. Knowing how to become a nanny can help you refine your skills to land high-paying jobs with great benefits. In this guide, you'll learn the skills, requirements and expectations of this role and how you can stand out among applicants.

What is the Role of a Nanny?

Nannies provide childcare assistance to households of varying sizes. You can choose live-in or live-out arrangements depending on your circumstances and your employer's needs.

Although responsibilities are unique to each environment, nannying involves:

  • Providing customized and interactive childcare
  • Protecting the children while on-duty
  • Preparing healthy and nutritious meals
  • Performing light housework and laundry
  • Shopping for food or items for the children
  • Changing diapers and maintaining the children's hygiene and outward appearance
  • Taking children to their scheduled appointments and activities
  • Providing children with a stimulating and fun social environment

Nannies advocate for the needs of the children and spend a significant portion of their time with them. Your clients expect you to be a well-rounded expert who works closely with their kids but always maintains an appropriate emotional distance.

Building trust relationships with children and their families is key to an enjoyable and enriching experience.

What Skills Do Successful Nannies Have?

Merely liking children is not reason enough to pursue nannying. You must also build skills that successfully help you manage them, such as:

  • Cooking healthy and nutritious kid-friendly meals
  • Knowledge of First Aid and crisis management
  • Having exceptional interpersonal and communication skills
  • Strong attention to detail and alertness
  • Organization and time management
  • Social and emotional intelligence
  • Bilingual or multilingual abilities
  • Conflict resolution and problem-solving methodologies

Some employers have specific skills that they want their nannies to have that may not fit these criteria. For example, some may want a nanny who knows how to ski, while others require experience with a musical instrument. The more skills you have that enrich a child's development, the better your salary range and likelihood of long-term employment.

Are There Educational Requirements?

You don't need any formal educational requirements to become a nanny. However, some employers require a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, while others expect a bachelor's degree.

A nanny with an educational background in any field that involves childhood development has the edge over other applicants, but don't forget that experience is an equalizer in this field.

If you are great at what you do and have the references to prove it, your opportunities are still solid, even if you don't have a college degree.

Do I Need Training or Certifications?

Training and certifications are not a requirement for this position – but they are very much worth considering. Nanny schools exist throughout the country and provide certifications for skills that employers value, such as advanced childcare, nutrition, newborn and infant care, STEM, music, and defense.

If you want to learn how to become a nanny in a structured environment, you can take college-level courses. Programs vary in length and cost and can be remote in some cases. Certifications are an excellent investment for your future career that can open doors to lucrative offers.

What Is the Average Nanny Salary?

According to the BLS, the average nanny salary in the United States is $25,500 per year. However, highly-skilled career nannies can make up to $200,000 annually.

High-profile employers, for example, have different needs and requirements that extend beyond general nanny duties. They are willing to pay top dollar for nannies with those specializations.

What Is the Most Overlooked Aspect of This Position?

The risk of attachment – even if you believe it won't happen to you. Although you will (and should) establish strong bonds with the children, you cannot take their parents' place.

Getting too attached is a major no-no in the industry, but it still happens frequently. It can lead to emotional trauma for you, the children, and the family in case of separation.

In some cases, a parent will address the issue with you directly. In others, they will not make it explicit and suddenly inform you that they are ending your employment. If you feel this dynamic brewing, address the issue immediately using tact and sensitivity to avoid conflict.

What Are the Advantages and Cons of Being a Nanny?

As with all positions, there are positive and negative aspects of nannying. Your job comes with many perks, such as:

  • The bond you develop with families and the children while positively impacting their lives
  • Your method is independent and less rigid than many childcare roles
  • The pay can be pretty high depending on your credentials and the employer
  • You do not pay for airplane tickets, food, or accommodation during family trips and vacations
  • Nannying is fun and gratifying work in the right environment As for the cons, they include:
  • Being with the children all day, which can cause stress and burnout
  • Overly-long commitment contracts or ones that are too short
  • Lack of privacy and the intrusive use of new technology
  • Some parents may be challenging to work with
  • Cultural differences between parent and nanny

Remember that during the screening process, scrutinization goes both ways. If you sense red flags or feel uneasy, clarify before you commit.

Understanding what the employer expects and truthfully evaluating whether it's within your capabilities reduces the chances of getting into a situation you cannot handle.

How Does a Successful Nanny Portfolio Look?

Potential employers want to know everything about you. They perform drug and background tests, screen, and expect a trial period before you commit. One of the ways to pique interest and establish a relationship of trust before starting is by creating a nanny portfolio.

The portfolio doesn't have to be fancy – but it has to be current and highlight your accomplishments. Here is a list of what to include:

  • A career-specific nanny resume from Rocket Resume
  • A recent and professional headshot
  • Copies of licenses and training certificates
  • A well-thought-out personal statement with background information about yourself and your methodology
  • References from former employers

Remember that parents and guardians entrust you with their children and have high expectations. The more effort you put into your portfolio, the better your chances are of finding high-quality employment.

How Do I Get Started?

Nannies are companions to children and families. If this career path sounds appealing, but you're not sure where to begin, start with a custom resume from Rocket Resume.

Rocket Resume's templates help you stand out by highlighting role-specific skills that get you noticed. Building your resume is easy, fast, and enjoyable with our tools and prompts that help you along the way.

Rocket Resume templates are ATS-friendly, so you don't have to worry about agencies contacting you to change their format.

Are you ready to launch your career as a nanny? Get started today with a custom nanny resume template from Rocket Resume.