How to Get a Job as a Nanny

Nanny with baby
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Are you interested in working as a nanny? Wages for premium nannies have been increasing steadily over the last couple of years. For many nannies, the position comes with great benefits, such as off-duty use of the car, health insurance, and paid vacation time. As with housing costs, the wages for nannies tend to fluctuate greatly depending on location, with big cities (e.g., New York, San Francisco, D.C.) having higher pay than smaller cities.

Is a job as a nanny right for you? Learn more about the typical responsibilities and wages for this position, as well as where to find jobs, below.

Nanny Job Qualifications

Obviously, the first criteria is loving children. Experience working with children is a must (babysitting counts).

For positions caring for infants, documented infant care experience is often a requirement. A degree in Early Childhood Education or Elementary Education, or some coursework in either area, is a significant plus. The more education and experience you have, the higher your earning potential.

For example, the English Nanny and Governess School offers a certificate program including courses on child behavior and development, child care, and cultural development. Several references will typically be required. Some organizations will require applicants to have CPR or first aid training and certification prior to placement.

Depending on location, nannies may be required to have a driver's license and accident-free driving record.

Nanny Job Listings

How can you get hired as a nanny? You will find nanny job listings in the classifieds of most majors newspapers. However, many nanny positions are filled by agencies. If you do decide to work with an agency there should be no fees charged to the prospective nanny—all fees should be paid by the employer.

The International Nanny Association has published guidelines that member agencies should follow. When working with an agency, review these guidelines to make sure your agency is handling your application and placement appropriately. Don't be afraid to request references—ask to speak to nannies who have been placed by the agency you are considering using.

If you are interested in working internationally, visa restrictions apply in many cases. The agency you work with and your sponsoring family should be able to help you obtain the required documentation. Escape from America has employment, immigration and embassy information for a lengthy list of countries.

Nanny Interview Tips

Whether you are interviewing for a nanny job or hiring a nanny, it's a good idea to review sample interview questions so you can prepare in advance for the interview.

The most important questions will revolve around the skills, education and experience that are essential to do the job well. Other questions include availability for work, the tasks that need to be done on the job, how to handle children in difficult situations and emergencies, and childcare philosophy.

It's important that both the nanny and the parent(s) have a similar approach to raising children, so the children are treated consistently.

For both nannies and parents, one of the most important criteria is that there is a good match between the nanny and the family. The more questions that are asked during the interview, the more you will learn about each other and the easier it will be to make a hiring decision. In addition, setting up a time for the applicant to meet with the children prior to offering the job to see how the nanny and child(ren) interact is another way to help determine if there is a good fit for all.

Nanny Interview Questions

  • Why have you chosen to become a nanny?
  • What do you find most appealing about working with children (of specific ages)?
  • Have you ever had to handle a medical emergency? What was it? How did you handle it? What was the outcome?
  • What is your system of discipline?
  • Would you be willing to work with the family's system of discipline, once you fully understand it?
  • Do you have CPR and first aid training?
  • What would be your typical daily routine with an infant?
  • What would be your typical daily routine with a pre-schooler?
  • What would the before and after school routines be with school-age children?
  • Are you comfortable preparing meals, and doing light housework around the house with the children?
  • Do you prefer a live-in or live-out arrangement?
  • Are you willing and available to travel with the family on occasion?
  • Are you available for overnight or weekend stays?
  • Are you willing to watch an extra child if a friend comes over?
  • Do you have early childhood education or certification?
  • How would you deal with a child who is physically aggressive towards you?
  • How would you deal with a child who is physically aggressive towards other children?
  • What would you do to draw out a shy child?
  • What is your strategy for maintaining authority when you are out with the children? How does it differ from your strategy in the home?
  • How would you handle a child who has been sent home from school with a discipline problem?
  • How would you handle a child using profanity, with you or his/her peers?
  • How would you handle a young child touching themselves inappropriately?
  • How would you handle a school-age child touching themselves inappropriately?
  • How would you answer a young child who asks where babies come from?
  • What kind of a discussion would you have with an older child who asks questions about sex?
  • If a child was seriously hurt while in your care, what would you do first?
  • What would you do if a child refused to go to school?
  • What would you do if you saw a child behaving inappropriately (cheating, bullying) with his/her peers, but they weren't aware that you saw? Would that be different from what you would do if they knew you were there?
  • Have you ever bullied or been bullied? How does that color your attitude towards bullying?
  • How do you feel about non-traditional families?
  • Do you feel that you have any prejudices that could influence the way you would deal with certain situations, families, or children?
  • How do you feel about multicultural families?
  • What are your thoughts on interracial adoption?
  • Do you believe that children should have age-appropriate household chores to complete?
  • What types of chores do you think are appropriate for (pre-school, school age) children? What rewards do you find are effective for different ages?
  • Is it more important for a child to be safe or happy?
  • How do you try to balance playtime with chores and schoolwork?
  • When would you be available to start?
  • Can you provide me with a list of personal references?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Salary Information

The International Nanny Association does a yearly survey on salaries and benefits for nannies. According to the organization's most recent survey, the average hourly salary is $18.77. While most nannies are paid an hourly wage, a significant percentage (27 percent) are paid a weekly rate. Wages are correlated with experience and education—nannies with more experience or education receive a significantly higher wage.​