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 investopedia.com, “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” (investopedia.com).

 

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.

Is Your Daughter Ready to be a Babysitter?

Supervising children is an important responsibility and there are many considerations for new sitters.

Your daughter is growing up so fast and now she wants to take on part-time babysitting jobs to earn spending money. While admiring her work ethic, you may wonder if she’s ready. What if one of the children gets hurt? What if there is a fire while she is babysitting? What if a child wanders off? Supervising children is an important responsibility and there are many considerations.

 

Babysitters supervise children while the parents are temporarily away or nearby and focused on other activities. Babysitters are usually hired by the hour and work in the family home. Typical duties include playing with children, preparing simple meals and/or snacks, cleaning up play areas, and putting children to bed. The underlying assumption is that the babysitter is responsible for keeping the child safe.

 

  1. Is your child old enough? Some states have specific age requirements for babysitting while others simply offer guidance on what age children can be left home alone. The most common state minimum age for children to be left alone with siblings or other children is 12 years old. The American Red Cross has a minimum age of 11 years old to take their babysitting course. Be sure to check if your state has a minimum age requirement.

 

  1. Is your child mature enough? The right age to allow a young person to start babysitting is a judgment call that should be based on training, maturity and experience. Before letting your child babysit, encourage her to take CPR and First Aid. These courses are basic childcare requirements and will better prepare your daughter for emergency situations. In addition to training, honestly assess your child’s personality, work ethic and maturity level. Does she like playing with younger children? Is she responsible enough to put her phone away and focus solely on the children in her care? Would she be able to keep track of several children at one time?

 

  1. Does your child aware and comfortable with the responsibility? The type of babysitting job is also critical as some focus on entertaining and playing with children while other sitter jobs include bath time and overseeing children as they complete their homework and chores. Will the parents be close and available to come home quickly if need be? Are the parents at work and less able to return? Will you be nearby and able to assist? Is the job for a few hours on a Friday night or a summer job while the children are out of school? If the job requires more than a few hours of supervisory childcare or working with an infant, does your daughter have the childcare skills?

 

  1. Does your child have experience? Many sitters start as mother’s helpers to learn more about childcare, especially caring for toddlers and preschoolers. Being a mother’s helper allows your daughter the opportunity to shadow and work with a mother under the supervision of the mother. This reduces stress and anxiety for both the family and the new sitter until both are comfortable.

 

Each sitter position is unique to the needs of the family so it’s important to have a written document to clarify the expectations and job requirements. A simple letter that documents the expectations by defining what the sitter should and should not do and rules for the children can help avoid misunderstandings. This agreement should be reviewed by both the sitter and the parents and should contain the hourly rate for the sitter and emergency contact numbers for the parents.

 

  1. Are you comfortable with the risk? It’s rare, but things can go wrong. Babysitters are expected to keep the children in their care safe and conduct themselves in a ‘reasonable’ manner. Unfortunately, the definition of reasonable is not always cut and dried and is determined on a case by case basis.

 

If a child is injured, liability decisions are affected by many factors including how the injury occurred, if the injury was the result of a known medical condition and the actions of the sitter. Children are active and skinned knees and bruises from falling while playing a game are expected. These can occur no matter who is watching the child and it is considered ‘unreasonable’ to try to protect children from every possible injury. However, if a parent says the child is not to ride their bike, and the sitter lets them ride – the sitter may be liable for any injuries incurred – especially if the instructions were written in a babysitter agreement.

 

Babysitting is a wonderful first job for your daughter as it teaches responsibility, communication skills, and work ethic. Childcare is also a potential career as many sitters advance to nanny positions that provide flexible income while they are in college or entering the workforce. While sitters earn about $10 per hour, nannies can earn $15-20 with advanced training. Sitters who are at least 16 years old and are seeking to be summer nannies can enroll in the Basic Childcare Certification program.

What is the Difference Between a Babysitter and a Nanny?

You need someone to care for your children – but do you need a babysitter or a nanny?

You need someone to care for your children – but do you need a babysitter or a nanny? If it’s an evening out with your spouse and friends, you need someone who will keep the children safe and put them to bed for the night. That’s easy – hire a babysitter. If you are looking for someone to care for your toddler at home while you and your spouse work – you need a nanny. But what about all the situations in between such as before or after school care, school holiday care, or summer care? In order to get the person with the right skill set – you need to understand how babysitters and nannies differ.

 

Babysitters

 

Babysitters provide for the safety and well-being of children for short periods of time. Family members are often nearby and available by phone. Usually working for a few hours in the evening or during the weekend, Babysitters may supervise playtime, provide parent-approved snacks, and help children get ready for bed. Babysitters may also do light housekeeping, such as washing the dishes and putting dirty clothes in the hamper.

 

Babysitters are usually hired on a short-term basis, often once a week or once a month for a few hours at a time. They are generally younger and because of their intermittent work, they are often exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and may not be covered by other regulations that cover wages, overtime, or workman’s compensation.

 

At a minimum, babysitters should be CPR and First Aid certified. When hiring a babysitter, ask if they have any basic childcare training, especially in areas such as emergency care, safety in the home, food safety and water awareness (if you have a pool).

 

Nannies

 

Nannies may be full or part-time but differ from babysitters in that they are a consistent childcare provider over a longer period. Nannies usually have contracted, consistent work for a year or more, although there are some positions for shorter periods of time, such as summer nannies. Nannies are 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.

 

Daryl Camarillo describes the role of a professional nanny. “Families think of [professional] nannies as in-home professionals who do everything to care, nurture, and develop the children. These include household duties related to childcare and the upkeep of the home such as washing bottles, meal preparation for the children, emptying diaper bins, and the child’s laundry. Families are seeking nannies to take the child to activities and invest in their development and growth. They view the nanny as part of the childcare team.”

 

There are a wide range of nanny positions and the duties vary greatly. Some nanny positions are focused solely on the child(ren) and the nanny is responsible for chores associated directly with that care such as the child’s laundry, fixing meals for the child, washing bottles, ensuring the child cleans up their playroom and completes homework. Nannies also assist with the development of the children and should understand the age-appropriate basics of care as well as being able to identify developmental milestones for the children in their care.

 

There are many different types of specialization based on training and experiences that elevate a nanny’s skillset as a family assistant, early childhood educator, or special needs caregiver. Family assistants (sometimes referred to as Household Managers or Nanny Managers) perform childcare duties with additional responsibilities such as managing a weekly schedule, scheduling and attending doctor appointments, picking up the dry cleaning, planning and hosting birthday parties, household organization, shopping, pet care, meal planning, and preparing meals for the family. They are often committed to the role as their primary employment and have the maturity to work unsupervised while remaining responsible for several children and an allocated budget.

 

Specialist Nannies have varying qualifications that often 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. Specialists may also be travel nannies or have specialized training in Montessori, Resources for Infant Educators (RIE), or Waldorf child development approaches. Specialist Nannies are passionate about their work and are often leaders in the nanny industry. Many Specialist Nannies work for high profile and/or high net worth families and find themselves extremely desirable within the nanny market.

 

Like babysitters, all nannies, whether part or full time, should be CPR and First Aid certified. When hiring a nanny, ask if they have invested in childcare training that teaches age-appropriate growth, development, and activities from newborn through primary years. Nutrition, fitness, health, art, music, and communication courses provide practical skills to help nannies excel as in-home childcare providers. If not, discuss childcare training and consider investing in their education. Amslee Institute offers 5 levels of certifications and diplomas that are cost-effective and can be completed online in 4-5 weeks. These courses provide the skills and training to help nannies perform at their best.

Nanny jobs can be customized to each family and when nannies are hired, either part-time or full-time, the nanny is considered a household employee when they earn $2100. Thus, families who hire nannies are legal employers and are required to pay taxes and have worker’s compensation insurance.

 

If you would like additional information on hiring a nanny, the Ultimate Guide on How to Hire a Nanny is a free resource designed to help parents successfully navigate the hiring process.

8 Nanny and Sitter Diplomas and Certifications to Advance Your Career

While there are training programs and state requirements for daycare workers and teachers, no qualifications are required for nannies and sitters.

While there are training programs and state requirements for daycare workers and teachers, no qualifications are required for nannies and sitters. “Licensed childcare diploma and certification programs for nannies are vital to help families ensure their children are cared for by qualified persons” shared Dr. Lauren Formy-Duval, a child psychologist, adjunct professor, and a mom who works with Nannies to help care for her children. “Nannies and Sitters investing in affordable and high-quality training not only gain practical skills but also enable a career path, just like teachers and other professionals.”

To qualify for more advanced Nanny and Babysitter positions, there are numerous training programs and online resources and organizations that support career advancement. Nanny training demonstrates a commitment and makes you stand out when applying for jobs. Trained and experienced Nannies and Sitters also earn more, according to the 2017 Cost of Care Survey published by Care.com. In the survey, parents acknowledged they are more willing to pay nannies and sitters higher wages if they had additional training, skills, and experience.

CPR and First Aid

child with hurt arm

CPR and First Aid training are the foundation and the most important certifications for a childcare job. Many families require these certifications to be considered for an interview. CPR and First Aid training is taught locally and online at community colleges, the American Red Cross, and the American Heart Association, as well as other local businesses. If you are working with infants or young children, the infant CPR course is recommended.

1. CPR Certification. There are more than 300,000 cardiac arrests each year and by performing CPR, you can help the person’s blood keep circulating until an ambulance arrives. The chance of surviving more than doubles when CPR is started early. Guidelines now offer a hands-only CPR approach which provides chest compressions without doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

2. First Aid Certification. These skills are essential as children are less coordinated and can fall while playing. Getting certified not only provides confidence to provide care, it also increases the comfort of the injured child and can prevent many situations from getting worse.

Professional Nanny Diplomas and Certifications

When considering training programs, take time to investigate the organization’s reputation and licensing. The quality of an educational experience depends on the instructors and students should learn positive discipline from a child psychologist, health from physician assistants, nutrition from dietitians, legal requirements from a lawyer, and early childhood development from experts.

A common question is, “what is the difference between a diploma and a certification?” Diplomas are awarded through community colleges and technical schools, often as an alternative to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Certifications can be issued by an organization or business for completing a class or series of classes.

woman with baby

Amslee Institute offers 5 post-secondary programs taught by college faculty that require courses, exams, references, and childcare work experience. These online programs are self-paced and take 4-12 weeks to complete. New nannies and babysitters qualify for the Basic program while experienced nannies and family assistants can earn the Professional Diploma and Certification.

3. Basic Childcare Diploma. Families and employers expect nannies and babysitters to provide a safe environment when caring for their children. A robust Basic Childcare training program should include understanding children of all ages, emergency planning, advance the childcare provider’s skills in water safety, and educate nannies and sitters on their legal requirements when working in childcare. The Nannies and Babysitters also need to be armed with skills to help them manage stress and use positive discipline skills when children need help expressing themselves or for correcting an undesired behavior.

4. Intermediate Childcare Diploma– An Intermediate Childcare program should focus on age appropriate childcare that includes milestones for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and the primary years. To best support children, especially during the first 5 years of life, classes by age level should focus on physical care, nutrition, motor skill development, and enrichment activities that include reading and STEM.

5. Advanced Childcare Diploma – Advanced childcare courses should include providing the caregiver with the training needed as children need support academically and seek to gain more independence. Specialized courses in art, music, fitness, learning environments, and helping with homework teach Nannies and Sitters how to engage with children in a way that makes learning more fun. Nannies and Sitters also gain better communicating skills with children and families.

women smiling

6. Specialist Childcare Diploma – As the family dynamic changes and children grow, the role of Nannies and Sitters often evolves. Family assistants and household managers are increasingly popular with families and employers. Not just a nanny, family assistants can support special needs including medically required diets. Family assistant jobs have elements of household management so additional training in etiquette, scheduling, and pet care is valued. For those not pursuing family assistant roles, this program provides training to care for special needs and children that require special diets.

7. Professional Childcare Diploma– The Professional Childcare Diploma and Certification shows that you’ve successfully passed a rigorous training program with a curriculum specifically designed for nannies. Earning this reputable and valued distinction requires 45 hours of training, passing 5 proficiency exams, completing a student project, submitting 5 professional references, and providing documentation of at least 2 years of full-time childcare care or equivalent.

8. Newborn Care Specialist Certification. If you plan to work exclusively with newborns, consider a Newborn Care training and certification program. Nannies and sitters learn about newborn care, night nanny work, the difference between a nanny and doula, and tips to build a nursery.

Continuing Education Programs

Continuing education provides enhanced skills and increases the value of offered childcare services. Continuing education also helps you stay up-to-date on important issues such as car seat regulations and nutrition or fitness recommendations. Also, plan to take First Aid and CPR refresher courses as these certifications are only valid for two to three years.

Nannypalooza

Many state agencies and some local healthcare systems and hospitals offer car seat installation classes and certifications. Local community colleges may offer courses that will enhance your knowledge and skill set. Conventions and events, such as Nannypalooza and interNational Nanny Training Day offer seminars and classes on various topics important to the Nanny community.

When investing in continuing education, talk with your employer about sharing or covering the tuition as many employers recognize the benefits of childcare training. Whether part of your compensation or you pay on your own, keep the receipts as job training from a licensed program may be tax deductible. Investing in training from reputable and licensed programs can advance a Nanny or Babysitters career. Distinct qualifications communicate the value and skills of an individual applicant.

Loading cart ⌛️ ...