How to Become a Certified Nanny

By Flora Richards-Gustafson
Nannies support the needs of children and their families.

In the U.S., there are no state or federal requirements regarding the professional certification or licensing of nannies. Earning a certification through a reputable organization, however, demonstrates that you’ve received professional training, proved your skills and knowledge and take your role as a nanny seriously. The best programs are those offered by respected programs in the child care industry that are transparent about their practices and offer a nanny-related credential or a title like “Certified Professional Nanny.”

Pass nanny-related training classes. These classes may be part of a professional nanny program at a college or a nanny training program. Classes vary by program and generally include those related to child development, family dynamics, infant care, communications, travel planning, cultural enrichment, cooking, working as a professional nanny and nutrition.

Earn a first aid and CPR certification. Most nanny certification programs require you to complete CPR and first aid training and pass the respective certification tests. Depending on the program, you may also need a certification in water safety and/or a child and infant first aid and CPR certification.

Pass a background check and screening. The extent of a background check and screening varies by nanny certification program. It generally includes a criminal history check to ensure that you haven’t committed a crime that would disqualify you from earning a nanny certification and verifying that you are not on the Child Abuse and Neglect registry or a sex offender registry. A background check may include health screenings that test for drug use and/or tuberculosis. A nanny training program may also verify your professional and personal references, your driving record and your credit history.

Complete the necessary work experience. The amount of work experience needed to earn a certification varies by program and can range between 200 hours and 2,000 hours. Work experience can include working with children in a classroom setting or a family’s home while under the supervision of an instructor.

Pass the nanny certification or credentialing exam. In addition to passing the exams given in your training classes, some certification programs require you to pass a comprehensive credentialing exam that tests your knowledge of child development, safety, health, professionalism, communications and management skills.

Tip

Nanny training programs vary in length. Some take as little as 3 months to complete, while others take 12 months or longer. Certification programs may be available to nannies who specialize in a certain area of care. Specializations may include caring for multiples or newborns and sleep training. A governess is an individual who offers in-home education and tutoring. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that this type of professional is a child care worker. Some states require a child care worker to hold a Child Development Associate certification from the Council for Professional Recognition or a Child Care Professional credential from the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation.