This article focuses on the nanny job description, the qualifications needed for the job, the essential skills you need to have, the job prospects, working hours, and more. A nanny is a professional caregiver who is responsible for the daily care of one or more children.
Often hired from agencies that do extensive background checks on workers before sending them into the field, nannies usually have more experience and handle more duties on the job than a standard babysitter would. Nannies offer care at home and will also travel with children, including going with them to school and taking care of them on vacation.
Job Overview: What Does a Nanny Do?
A nanny typically works from early in the morning until the parents come home from work. They are responsible for getting the child ready for school in the morning, including personal hygiene care and dressing the child. Parents may ask that the nanny make lunch for the child and take him or her to school. Some nannies do light cleaning around the house and run errands during the day before picking the child up later. Those who work with younger kids who are not in school are responsible for bathing, cleaning, and playing with the child, as well as taking him or her to scheduled appointments.
Nanny Job Duties
- Dress and bathe children.
- Prepare meals and snacks for kids to consume at home and away from home.
- Manage emergency situations to keep children safe until help arrives.
- Organize and keep track of daily schedules, including those of kids and their parents.
- Do simple activities with the kids during the day.
- Take care of light cleaning and other chores around the house.
- Run errands and do other simple tasks for employers.
- Help children clean up after playing or working.
- Provide help to older children as they do assignments for school.
- Prepare children for trips away from home.
Nanny Job Essential Skills
Time management skills. As nannies often work with kids who take part in activities around town, as well as those in school, the nanny job description requires strong time management skills and the ability to get to appointments on time.
Eye for detail. Some nannies spend more time with kids than other adults do, which is why then need a good eye for detail. They are the ones who will look for kids who have problems interacting with others and those who show signs of developmental delays or handicaps.
Curriculum design. Designing a curriculum allows nannies to teach kids the skills they will need in school. They can help kids with reading, writing, and other basic tasks.
Becoming a Nanny
Nannies generally only need a high school diploma and some experience working with kids. Becoming an expert in the field requires a degree in early childhood education and one of the certificates that are available from professional agencies. The National Association for Family Child Care and the Council for Professional Recognition both offer certificates for child care workers.
Qualifications and Training
The minimum qualification in the nanny job description is a high school diploma, but many agencies also look for those with an early childhood education degree. These degrees are available at vocational schools as well as community colleges. Most states do not have any licensing requirements and let anyone become a nanny, though agencies will often do a background check on applicants.
Those working in private homes may need a license. They will need to pass a background check and present medical records that show they received all their immunizations. Those records show that the nanny will not pass on any diseases to the children.
Several organizations offer certificates for professional nannies too. The requirements for getting a certificate vary, but most organizations require that nannies take an exam. Nanny certificates are valid for a period of two to three years. Some agencies will require that nannies go through some training in the field too.
Getting a job as a nanny without any experience is difficult, but those hoping to work in this field can gain experience working with kids without working as a nanny. They can work as camp counselors, volunteer in after school programs, sign up for school programs and even babysit kids. Nanny agencies look for applicants who have experience working with kids in supervisory positions.
Students enrolled in college programs can gain more experience working with kids too. Early childhood education programs usually require that students do work in a child care center. Some programs require that students do fieldwork for course credit too.
There are no set or standard hours in the nanny job description, because so many parents have different schedules. Some work from six in the morning or earlier until five at night or even later. Other nannies work early in the morning and then after school with older kids. Busy parents may need nannies who can stay at home and care for their kids at night while they work second or third shifts.
Nannies may work extra hours and travel with the parents to care for kids while on vacation. Parents will often provide the workers with detailed schedules during the interview stage.
Job Outlook and Advancement Opportunities
The median salary for nannies working in the United States is $24,476 per year or about $14.54 an hour. Some agencies require that nannies call in when they start work and when they finish for the day, but others allow workers to keep track of their hours on an app they can download on a smartphone. Nannies typically do not receive health care benefits or paid time off, though this can vary between agencies.
Nannies have the option of working on their own or for an agency. Those working on their own are responsible for finding clients. These nannies may juggle two or more families and work 10 or more hours every day.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the need for trained nannies will grow by 5% in the future. Nannies can use the skills they learn on the job to work in child care centers or as teachers later.
The nanny job description involves the daily care of children. Nannies can work with young or older kids alike. They have the option of working on their own or for an agency. While the salary for this job is on the lower side, nannies can translate their skills into different positions, such as teachers and similar jobs working with kids.