Is Working as a Nanny Skilled or Unskilled Labor?

Nannies without any specialized training are unskilled and nannies with childcare training and experience lean more towards skilled labor.

Being a nanny is a huge responsibility. Families trust you with the care and well-being of their most precious family members – their children. Some families seem to think caring for children is an innate talent that doesn’t require any specialized training or experience. Other families want to hire a fully trained childcare specialist.


When talking about wages, it helps to understand some basic workforce terms and how they relate to pay. One main concept that needs to be understood is the difference between skilled and unskilled labor. This difference is not as clear cut as you may think.


According to, “Skilled labor refers to persons or positions requiring a specialized skill set in order to complete some of the assigned tasks”. This generally requires advanced education or training beyond high school and can sometimes be acquired through experience. Skilled labor is not limited to white-collar positions, but also includes many blue-collar professions such as auto mechanics, HVAC specialists, plumbers and electricians.


Typical unskilled labor positions require no specific higher education although many prefer a high school diploma or GED, no specialized experience, and are often comprised of common and/or repetitive tasks. They are often basic positions and are generally low paying. “Unskilled labor is used to refer to a segment of the workforce associated with limited skill set or minimal economic value for the work performed” (


These seem cut and dried, but what about all the positions that fall in between these extremes? What about the home health care worker who is trained by their agency, but not a licensed medical professional? What about the foodservice and retail position worker who has completed require company training? Are these positions deemed skilled or unskilled? There is a continuum between unskilled and highly skilled labor. Positions requiring years of education and training, such as doctors and lawyers, are not referred to as skilled labor but fall under the umbrella of professionals.


Many of today’s positions fall into a mid- or semi-skilled category. With the advent of technology, jobs that were once simple and didn’t require training, now do. For example, a call center employee used to be able to perform their job by talking on the phone and writing the necessary information on forms. Now, they have to have computer entry skills, so all data are correctly captured in the company database.


So how do Nannies fit into this ever-evolving picture? We entrust nannies with the care and well being of our children – a daunting responsibility. However, there is little to no documented skill set requirements for nannies. Thus, many families view childcare as an unskilled, common-sense position with a low salary. This may be true for babysitters who provide for the safety and well-being of children for short periods of time.


However, Nannies differ from babysitters in that they are a consistent childcare provider over a longer period and assist with the development of the children. Nannies may be responsible for one or more children throughout the workday while family members are at their places of employment. In addition to providing for the safety and well-being of the children, a nanny may also provide meals and activities, take them on outings and providing additional support such as transporting children to and from school, from school to clubs, sports practices, playdates, and other activities. Nannies work autonomously and may have full responsibility to care for the children overnight or when families are out of town. Many people view these tasks as unskilled while some families recognize nanny training and view the position as skilled.


Nannies without any specialized training are unskilled and nannies with childcare training and experience lean more towards skilled. Some nanny positions may include responsibilities for early childhood education to ensure the toddler is ready for preschool. The optimal candidate for this position would not only understand the age-appropriate basics of care but would also understand the preschool requirements and how to create and implement lesson plans. Other nanny positions may require a special needs caregiver. This position would require very specialized training and experience.


If a family is desiring to hire a nanny – they should list the job responsibilities and assess their desired level of training and skill set. When they interview prospective candidates, they should ask about specialized education and training as well as experience. The compensation package they offer should be commiserate with the training and skill level of the candidate.


When it comes to compensation, the US Department of Labor Fact Sheet 79B: Live-in Domestic Service Workers Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), states “Persons employed in domestic service in private homes are covered by the FLSA; they must be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay at time and a half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek, unless they are subject to an exemption.” Domestic service workers who reside in the employer’s home and are employed by an individual, family or household are exempt from the overtime pay requirement, although they must be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked.


Being a nanny can be a rewarding career. If you are just starting your career or want to improve your skillset, consider taking courses focused on the responsibilities you will encounter on the job. Many nannies may have qualifications that include college degrees in Early Childhood Education, Special Needs Education, or Psychology with diverse work experiences as a nanny, in daycares, teaching, or advocacy positions. Some nannies have specialized training in Montessori, Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE), or Waldorf child development approaches. Nannies who are highly skilled and work for high profile and/or high net worth families and find themselves extremely desirable within the nanny market.

Professional Childcare Graduate Shares Her Experience with Amslee Institute

Crystal has also completed the International Nanny Association Basic Skills Assessment and is a Certified Personal Trainer.

Amslee Institute Chats with Crystal Terry, Professional Nanny and Amslee® Professional Childcare Graduate. As a new training organization licensed by the Florida Commission of Education, No. 5951, Amslee Institute is introducing our faculty, strategic partners, and industry leaders to the childcare community. Elizabeth Malson is President of Amslee Institute.

Our Facebook live guest is Crystal Terry. Crystal has been a nanny for over ten years after earning a Bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education and Teaching from Purdue University. Crystal has also completed the International Nanny Association Basic Skills Assessment and is a Certified Personal Trainer.

Can you share a bit about your nanny career and the types of families you’ve worked with?

Crystal: I started as a nanny in 2007, as a part time nanny after school while I was in college. In 2011, I started nanny work full time with older kids doing household management. Since then I have done a lot of work with toddlers, newborn, infants. I’ve been a live-in nanny and live out. I’ve also worked overnights caring for infants.

With your degree, you have a range job opportunity available including teaching, what makes being a Nanny such a good fit for you?

Crystal: When I was 8, I decided I wanted to be a nanny when I grew up. It was funny as my mom always laughed and she said, “that’s not a real job”. I was determined throughout my childhood and adulthood that I was going to be a nanny. I think I just love the personalized aspect and individualized care with 1 on 1 time with the kids to help them grow and develop. It’s just an amazing thing that you don’t get in the classroom or a school. It’s so different from any other job as it’s so personal. You get to forge a great relationship with the kids and family you work with.

As you’ve cared for older kids, like 13 who can’t drive themselves around yet, what do you do differently?

Crystal: It’s a more complex relationship. You have to get on their level and respect that they are older and developing a personality. They want to be independent. It’s not about teaching them but be more of a mentor. You’re not there to care for them but mentor.

In addition to being a Professional Nanny, you also match Nannies with employment opportunities at Nanny Nation Agency. Can you share some of the traits that make a Nanny great?

Crystal: Number one is to be responsible as you are taking care of someone’s most precious thing in the world. Responsibility is huge. You have to be compassionate and caring as you’re taking care of a child and they have child level feelings. You have to be patient as you have to stay calm. I think being organized is important to be responsible and have it together.

With these traits and so much nanny experience, what encouraged you to invest in the Amslee Institute’s Professional program?

Crystal: I think professional development is important and I like to find new opportunities to develop and learn. When I saw Amslee, I was intrigued by the college faculty and so much information was provided. Each class provides depth and the overall curriculum was so thorough.

What was your experience with the program? Did the classes meet your expectations?

Crystal: The classes were information and I like to think that I know a lot. I feel like I learned something from every course and I didn’t get 100% on every quiz. So, there were definitely new things. Like STEM – I have never experience STEM before so that was a new thing. I think the program, no matter if you have 1 year or 20 years of experience, there is something that Amslee can teach you.

What would you share with Nannies thinking about enrolling but worried about the tuition?

Crystal: Talk with your employer and see if they will help with professional development and provide for some of the cost. Amslee now has scholarships that are available, so that’s an option. It’s worth investing in education, just like you would in any career. Training is important to gain skills to be the best nanny you can be.

Do you think the training will help nannies find a better job or ask for a raise?

Crystal: Education is a huge factor when I’m negotiating for a new position for myself or for a nanny I’m working with. If someone hands you a resume without education but 5 years of experience and someone else has 5 years of experience with 200 hours of education, parents are more inclined to interview and hire the person who stands out. No only do you learn more about childcare, but it helps you stand out from other applicants.

Elizabeth: Crystal mentioned a scholarship and we are excited to announce the 2018 Nivens Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to two recipients and it will provide full tuition and fees for the Basic and Intermediate Childcare programs. The scholarship is available online at and applicants have until September 15th to complete the two essays and forms.

Can you think of a great story where you were at work and had an experience with a child that caused you to laugh or just a really great moment?

Crystal: I have my favorite moment in my nanny career because it showed my how amazing and truly honest and wonderful kids are. A few years ago, I was watching some school aged kids that were 7 and 9. We were going to the swimming pool and I was a live-in. I was going upstairs feeling I look awful in this bathing suit, but she looks at me, she grabs me by the face, and she says, “Crystal, you are so beautiful.” In one of my weakest moments, this little child, she had no idea what she was doing, found a way to make me feel amazing. I think children are brutally honest and they are so awesome. It’s one of the reasons I love working with kids so much. Every day is so unexpected, you just never know what you’re going to get.

Thank you, Crystal, for your time tonight!! If you aren’t already, please follow Amslee Institute and Nanny Nation on social media to see weekly articles published by our faculty and other Facebook live chats.

Biggest Surprises for Families Getting Their First Nanny – Amslee Institute Chats with Heather, Co-Founder of Nicole’s Nannies Agency

Our second Facebook live guest is Heather, Co-Founder of Nicole’s Nannies Agency in Madison, New Jersey.

As a new training organization licensed by the Florida Commission of Education, No. 5951, Amslee Institute is introducing our faculty and strategic partners to the Childcare community. Our second Facebook live guest is Heather, Co-Founder of Nicole’s Nannies Agency in Madison, New Jersey.

Nicole’s Nannies was founded by two former nannies who have over twenty-five years of experience between them. Nicole’s Nannies has a detailed screening process that is in line with INA (International Nanny Association) and APNA (Association of Premier Nanny Agencies) standards, so they work with only the most qualified nannies to ensure the best fit for a family.

What is the biggest surprise when families work with their first nanny?

Heather: There are a ton of surprises as a lot of families first view nannies as babysitters and we help distinguish nannies. Our nannies are qualified and a lot of them have education, they are CPR and First Aid certified, and they love taking courses to further their education. Nannies don’t just watch your children, they help raise your children with you. That surprises families a lot.

How do nannies talk with families as they get comfortable in the position and realize it’s evolved into more responsibility?

Heather: It’s very hard and an awkward conversation talking money with employers, especially when you work in their home. That’s why we like to do contracts, so they can outline every duty – distinguishing doing the children’s laundry but not the families. We add a clause that says if anything were to be added, then additional compensation needs to be included.

What kind of things do you look for in a family to understand who might be a good fit for them?

Heather: We think of ourselves as match makers because a nanny is coming into your home and you will see them every day. The children will look up to the nanny, picking up their mannerisms. So, we like to find out the personalities of the families down to what they do on the weekends with their kids. We want to understand what they are looking for in a nanny, what skills they need, and they expect from a nanny. We love to hear they are expecting the nanny to become like family to them because that, to us, means they’ll be great employers. We do the same for the nanny – we learn their personality and hobbies. If we have a family that is sporty, we match them with a sporty nanny. Same for a family that’s shy, as we’d look for a more quiet and reserved nanny instead of a loud, bubbly nanny.

What types of experiences do you look for in an overnight nanny versus a full time or temporary nanny?

Heather: Our part time nannies are for older children, so we look for more experience with older children and doing homework. For full time nannies, we look for skills to run a house because nannies do a lot – laundry, errands, groceries. For night and baby nurses, we look for training including childcare certified and First Aid with CPR. They should have completed baby classes and have work experience.

What advice do you have for those early in their nanny career but have some experience watching their siblings or have cared for their own children?

Heather: I know it’s really hard to start out as a nanny because you have to have two years of experience but how do you get the two years of paid experience? I recommend they start with a part time nanny position and stay with that family for at least a year. Watching your siblings is great but that is not the same as caring for some else’s child in their home. Every parent has a different style and you need that experience.

What is unique about the nanny job and surprises those new to the work even when they have experience as a camp counselor or working in a daycare?

Heather: Nannies are often surprised they are doing more than just watching the kids. Nannies can help with dishes and other light housekeeping They can be Mary Poppins and help with everything as professional nannies enjoy running a household.

What are the distinctions between Household Manager, Family Assistant, and Nanny?

Heather: We share with families that nannies will do light housekeeping and that means picking up after the children, not picking up after mom and dad. If the family wants a household manager to help the parents, like scheduling doctor appointments, then it’s two jobs so nannies should be compensated for the additional services provided. We try to distinguish it but it’s hard and gets blended a lot.

What items are standard in a compensation package for a career nanny?

Heather: Our standard contracts have 2 weeks of paid vacation, 1 week of paid sick time, and at least 7 paid national holidays. Every family is different, so some nannies are hourly while others receive a salary. Our families rarely pay dental or health insurance, but a lot of families will add a monthly amount, like $40 a month, to help compensate for these expenses.

Has there been an increase in families with different needs such as medical or behaviors that nannies should learn more about?

Heather: We’ve noticed with our school age, part time positions that families are requesting caregivers who are aware of autism, ADHD, food allergies, and special needs. It’s a bigger range and nannies can be very skilled. We see a lot of autism and nannies can get specific training for autism.

Are you seeing any trends that will impact nannies or families in the next 5 years or so?

Heather: With Amslee’s school and classes, that’s amazing to us. We go in the business to help change how nannies are seen. We see nannies investing in the certification, taking the classes, and gathering to discuss childcare. I think in the next five years, nannies will be looked more as careers and not just babysitters. Nannies are respected as educated women who know what they are doing, similar to a teacher as there are these new certifications.

Elizabeth: That’s great and it’s one of the reasons Amslee Institute has a partnership with Nicole’s Nannies as it’s our core as well. We want to provide college level faculty taught classes in a community college or trade school manner, offering diplomas to increase the professional opportunities from an established career path. Diplomas help students go from babysitting to a career nanny and maybe even to a teaching career later on.

Thank you so much, Heather, for this Facebook live session!

Childcare Tips with Dr. Lauren Formy-Duval, Psychologist and Adjunct Faculty Member

Dr. Formy-Duval has worked with children and families for over 15 years in schools, hospitals, community agencies, and is currently in private practice.

As a new training organization licensed by the Florida Commission of Education, No. 5951, Amslee Institute is introducing our faculty and strategic partners to the Childcare community. Our first Facebook live guest is Dr. Lauren Formy-Duval, a licensed psychologist practicing in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Formy-Duval has worked with children and families for over 15 years in schools, hospitals, community agencies, and is currently in private practice. As an adjunct faculty member of Amslee Institute, Dr. Formy-Duval is the faculty instructor for the Understanding Children, Positive Discipline, Stress Management, and Self-Regulation courses.

With years of experience in psychology helping children and families, what made you interested in teaching 4 classes at Amslee Institute?

Dr. Formy-Duval: I know how hard it can be to find good nannies as I myself have 2 children and work. I wanted my kids in my home with one person and it was hard to find the right person; we went through several people. I had a hard time finding quality people and when I heard about Amslee, I agreed with the goals of being able to help Nannies have the qualifications families want in order to watch their children. I thought these courses were a good match with my experience and training.

What things should families do with children during the summer when the kids are out of school?

Dr. Formy-Duval: A lot it depends on whether you are a parent who works and has a nanny or one who can stay home with their kids. It also depends on the age of the children. Changing the schedule can be stressful, but summer can be a really fun time to reconnect with your children in a way that is less structured. Children can struggle with the transition of not having the same packed schedule they have in school where they are told where to go and what to do. The free time of summer or summer camps can lead to boredom. The kids complain, and parents feel they need to entertain their kids. But, boredom is developmentally good. Give kids time to be bored and they will creatively fill the time. It may take a few days of enduring the complaining but send them off to play or give them options of what they can do.

What roles do social media, being on the phone, video games, and chat rooms have on their behaviors?

Dr. Formy-Duval: Electronics are embedded in our day to day life and we are welcoming technology in our homes in so many ways. It can be hard to understand how much exposure to technology is too much or if it’s bad. There is a wide spectrum since some families allow unlimited access while others have strict rules. It’s unrealistic to think our children won’t be exposed to and use technology. It can be great for entertaining and web-based education. I think the key is to figure our how social media and electronics can be used as a tool but don’t use it to replace healthy physical and educational activities. It’s a matter of moderation and for older kids, being on the phone is a great way to stay connected through text messaging. I do really caution parents about social media apps like SnapChat, Instagram, and Facebook. A lot of kids can’t manage the social nuances of these apps – that is, arguments and fights can be viewed by 300 people and blown out of proportion. As adults, we struggle with context and have a hard time with it too. I am really cautious with social media and believe they should be limited to older children. However, but messaging and face timing can be a lot of fun at younger ages too.

What are some ideas for parents to re-connect with their kids?

Dr. Formy-Duval: Most of our time with our kids is spent on instructional actions – telling them what to do like brush their teeth and get their shoes on. One of the best ways to reconnect with our kids is sitting down and asking them to tell us about something they are interested in. Now, this might mean that you have a 10-minute conversation about Minecraft or Pokémon or Daniel Tiger or something else you aren’t interested in, but it is worth it. Take the time to put your phone down, make eye contact, and listen to what they are saying. If parents pause and pay attention, it’s a great way to reconnect and only takes 5 to 10 minutes a day. Actively listening really goes a long way.

In our culture, parents and kids are stressed. What can we do to help?

Dr. Formy-Duval: We are a stress society and kids inherently feel the stress from their parents. We need to share stress management tools like helping kids take deep breathes, pausing, counting to 10, and being physically active (running, going up and down stairs, doing jumping jacks, or stomping feet). I really encourage parents to teach our children more ‘feeling’ language (“tell me how that made you feel” and “it sounds like that made you feel frustrated). When we feel stressed there is usually something around us that needs to change. We have to help kids understand what is going on inside of them, so they can use coping skills. We also need to make sure they have really good habits like getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, having balanced meals, and getting enough physical activity to proactively manage stress.

If you can share one more thing, what would it be?

Dr. Formy-Duval: In this day and age of 24 hours news and information, I really want to caution parents and childcare providers to remember we have our phones on all the time and often televisions are on in the background. We should focus on allowing our kids to keep their innocence. Children don’t need to know about mass shootings and other adult events on the news. As parents, we are anxious in many ways about the state of the world and many parents are reacting by holding their kids close. Kids need to be allowed to play and to have some freedom. Research shows that our kids are safer today than ever before so let’s shield our young kids from traumatic events that they may not understand. Kids who fear danger at any moment may have anxiety and we want our children to preserve that innocence and enjoy childhood.

Thank you, Lauren, for this session as our first Facebook live video!

To learn more, an Understanding Children course is available with enrollment in the Basic Childcare program.

Why Parents are Struggling to Find Trusted Childcare

Nearly 30% of parents do not hire a potential sitter due to safety concerns.

Follow @AmsleeInstitute to see weekly childcare articles that help nannies, au pairs, babysitters, and parents better care for kids. Amslee Institute nanny training programs and babysitter classes are 100% online and licensed by the Department of Education.

Parents are struggling to find qualified childcare and 55% of parents surveyed by the American Red Cross* have chosen to stay home because they could not find a trusted nanny or babysitter. The survey also revealed that nearly 30% of parents did not hire a potential sitter due to safety concerns. The great news is that a majority of parents are willing to pay more for trained and certified childcare providers. So how can you become a certified childcare provider?

Parents need to have trust and confidence in a provider before leaving their children in their care. Safety and confidence in the sitter are top criteria sought when meeting with potential babysitters and nannies. It’s becoming increasingly common for parents to ask about CPR, First Aid, and childcare certification.

CPR and First Aid training are easy to complete through online programs available for $25 by the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross, American Heart Association, and local community colleges also offer in-person training. If you are already certified, the videos below on child and infant CPR can provide a quick refresher.

If you are a babysitter, nanny, or aspiring to work as a childcare provider, it is worth the time and effort to learn first aid and CPR. Although you never want to use these skills, you can have the confidence in your abilities that if needed, you may save a life.

There are several options for childcare certifications that include in person and online program. When looking for a childcare certification program, check the organization is licensed as a post-secondary school. It’s also important to know who authored the training. If needed, see if the program offers job training or placement support. For information about childcare certification programs, visit

If you are a parent seeking certified childcare, join our network at

Top 10 Benefits to Nanny or Babysitter Certification

Families, agencies, and employers are always looking for high quality babysitters and nannies so set yourself apart as a certified childcare provider.

Want to be a babysitter or nanny? How can you compete? Families, agencies, and employers are always looking for high quality babysitters and nannies so set yourself apart as a certified childcare provider. According to Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce*, on average, certificate holders earn 20 percent more than high school-educated workers. Moreover, even when certificates don’t provide an earnings boost, they make individuals more employable.

With 5 licensed and industry respected certification programs from Basic to Advanced and Professional, you can pick the certification that patches your career goals. Here are the top 10 reasons to invest in certification.

1. Childcare Knowledge.

Having solid knowledge of child development is a key piece of quality childcare. Knowing what is typical or common at different ages is important in providing appropriate and effective care for the children placed in our supervision. This training includes the major developmental stages of infancy through elementary and middle school age; discussion of the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional milestones within each stage; and activities that encourage healthy child development. Learn the basics on positive discipline from a child psychologist, nutrition for children from a clinical dietitian, and important employment information from a lawyer.

2. Practical Skills.

From diapering infants to temper tantrums to helping with homework, these courses provide practical advice and tools that you can apply when caring for one child or a group of children. Faculty experts also share how to create daily schedules, support the child athlete, and help children learn to cope with stress.

3. Better Job Opportunities.

Are you applying for your dream job working with children? Training and certification increases family and employer’s confidence in your skills and creates a competitive advantage for positions. With advanced certifications that require work experience, you may even earn a higher wage. If certified by Amslee Institute, you get job placement support including resume writing and interview preparation.

dad and child feeding kangaroos at zoo4. New Places.

Want to travel or live in new and exciting locations? Certified applicants have greater opportunities to work at resorts, on cruise ships or find employment in another city or country. Completing a well-designed curriculum demonstrates broader childcare knowledge as well as specialized skills required for in home care.

5. Demonstrated Commitment.

Children need stable environments so families as well as employers look for someone who will commit to the position – often for at least a year. An investment in training and certification demonstrates this type of commitment to a childcare career.

6. Confidence.

By completing the courses and passing the proficiency exams, you can be confident knowing you’ve learned the skills you need to be successful. Attaining a professional certification shows that you have done the work – you set a goal, worked towards completion, and earned a certification.

woman using laptop7. Continuous Learner.

According to the Guardian**, there’s a strong correlation between learning and sustained employment. Employees who demonstrate that they’re conscientious about their personal development are likely to be seen as highly motivated and engaged. With 5 certification levels, you can improve your skills and knowledge over time to demonstrate you are a continuous learner. Part-time babysitters can start with the Basic certification and as they gain experience, seek additional certifications. Experienced nannies may start at the Advanced or Specialist level and progress to the Professional level.

8. Leadership.

The Professional certification program includes a student project that requires the students to share their expertise with others. Mentorship opportunities are also available to allow Professional certificate candidates the opportunity to help those early in their careers.

certification9. Simplified Hiring Process.

Amslee Institute certification programs require completion of First Aid and CPR certification, passing of proficiency exams, written recommendations, and documented work experience. These job requirements and achievements can be shared with an official transcript. This will streamline the hiring process with potential employers. In addition, when certification is completed, Amslee Institute will help connect graduates with potential employers.

10. Community.

Students become part of the Amslee family and can network through classes, join the private Facebook group with other students and faculty, and participate in on-line discussions where fellow students and faculty share best practices and answer questions.

Certification can fast track a childcare career in weeks with training that is specifically designed to provide students with the mental, emotional, and social skills needed to positively influence the development of young children. With job placement support and demonstrated skills, an industry respected certification may earn higher compensation.

For more information about childcare certification programs, visit Amslee Institute at

*Carnevale, Anthony P., Rose, Stephen J., Hanson, Andrew R. (2012, June). Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees. Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Retrieved from

**Mills, Corinne. (2013, May 6) Keeping your professional development continuous. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Loading cart ⌛️ ...