What You Need to Know About Being a Nanny

Job Description

Baby and Nanny
••• A baby being held by her nanny. Alexandra Grablewski / The Image Bank / Getty Images

A nanny cares for a family's children in their home. He or she works for one family at a time and may live with them.

Quick Facts

  • 1,261,000 people worked as childcare workers, including nannies, in 2014.*
  • They earned a median annual salary of $20,320 or hourly wages of $9.77.
  • Nannies work for one family at a time.
  • Job outlook in this field is good. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment will grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2024.

    *The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report separate employment figures for nannies, but instead includes them with childcare workers.

    A Day in a Nanny's Life

    We looked at job announcements on Indeed.com to help us learn about nannies' typical job duties.

    • "Change diapers, feed meals and bathe"
    • "Provide enrichment and stimulation to children's day"
    • "Interact and involve children in play, both inside and outside"
    • "Transport children to activities"
    • "Keep household clean, tidy and well-maintained"
    • "Participate in activities that help to develop the child's education including music classes and other stimulating activities"

    The Truth About Nannies

    • They often work long hours with few days off in between.
    • Nannies are sometimes expected to care for family pets as well as children.
    • Some jobs provide room and board in addition to a salary.
    • In addition to child care duties, nannies are often responsible for household chores including cleaning and cooking.

      How to Become a Nanny

      There are no formal educational requirements for nannies, but a particular family may a have its own stipulations. For example, some will only hire a college graduate while other families accept applicants who have a high school or equivalency diploma or less. The International Nanny Association, an organization that describes itself as "the umbrella association for the in-home child care industry," has a set of professional standards for nannies that includes graduation from high school or its equivalent.

      What Soft Skills Do You Need?

      • Interpersonal Skills: Nannies must have social perceptiveness—the ability to understand what the children for whom they care are feeling without being told. They must also be able to negotiate with, persuade, sympathize and empathize with them.
      • Speaking and Listening: You must be able to communicate well with the children under your care as well as with other members of the family.
      • Problem Solving and Critical Thinking: Nannies should not only be able to identify problems, but they must choose the best solution when trying to solve them.
      • Service Orientation: The desire to help others is an essential skill for those who want to work in this occupation.

      What Will Employers Expect From You?

      To find out what families are looking for when they hire a nanny, we again turned to job announcements listed on Indeed.com. Here's what we found:

      • "Ability to pass background check"
      • "Driving license with a clean driving record"
      • "Must be CPR certified"
      • "Long term commitment"
      • "Must be kind, responsible, reliable and be capable of organizing a household"
      • "Have lots of energy and love to have fun"
      • "Reliable, sweet and proactive"

      Is This Occupation a Good Fit for You?

        Occupations With Related Activities and Tasks

         DescriptionMedian Annual Wage (2014)Minimum Required Education/Training
        Home Care AideHelps clients with activities of daily living


        On-the-Job Training
        Fitness TrainerInstructs people in exercise and related activities$36,160H.S. or Equivalency Diploma
        Childcare Center WorkerCares for children in childcare centers and preschools$20,320H.S. or Equivalency Diploma
        Residential AdvisorsOversees activities in a residential facility such as a college dormitory or group home$24,990Bachelor's Degree

        Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 (visited June 6, 2016 ).
        Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online (visited June 6, 2016).