• Shannon Parola

How To Boost Your Nanny Career

Updated: Jun 15


I'm a firm believer that a nanny's resume and portfolio should be like Mary Poppin's bag. An endless showcase of your skills, talents, achievements, certifications, and specialties. Nannies are some of the most versatile humans on the face of the earth. We, as nannies, also have to remember that not all kids follow one specific style. We may have to use different techniques from multiple methods for something to work. If a nanny doesn't have anything else to pull from the bag, they can't help their nanny families effectively.


During my fifteen years as a nanny, I was always on a mission to gain as much knowledge as possible through training courses, certifications, and degrees. Each of these new learning experiences allowed me to build my resume and slowly increase my hourly rate. It also happens to be what can set me apart from the other candidates applying for a job. Parents can't resist a versatile nanny that's experienced and educated. Many nannies ask about ways to level up their nanny game, and I've got the list for you here.


First things first, update your resume and portfolio so you know where you are starting. I spend at least an hour every 6 months to year updating my resume. It can really show your gaps and things you need to work on to achieve the next step. Many nannies aren't using Linkedin at all and it's to their detriment. Nannying is a career and a job therefore it should be on your Linkedin profile. Stop trying to hide your childcare superpowers! Due to COVID, nanny agencies have been stretched like never before so some agencies are posting nanny jobs on there that you could be missing. Plus, networking is huge in the nanny community. While there are some great nanny groups available on Facebook, having professional connections and a network can help you in the long run. Especially when you run into a problem and need advice from trusted members of the nanny community.


College Degree: Is a college degree necessary is the biggest question I get asked by nannies. Obtaining a college degree is not a quick, easy, or cheap accomplishment. But the results will wield you with higher pay and give you a considerable boost in your resume. The question that really needs to be asked when considering getting a degree is WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO LONG TERM? Are you looking to be a career nanny, or does your heart desire something else? Being a nanny for many is just a stepping stone in their career path, so I always remind nannies to take a step back and think about their long term goals. I got my BS in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Children's Motor Development because I wanted to get my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. My specialty as a nanny became special needs families. These families valued nannies with degrees in Special Education, Motor Development (Kinesiology), or Physical Therapy. Nannies with these bachelor's degrees usually understood their child and the medical aspect better. For those who want to be career nannies, teachers/educators, or run a daycare center, Education or ECE degree would be your best bet. I've also seen very successful nannies get degrees in Public Health (specifically maternal & children's health) and Nutrition. In the end, no one else can make this decision for you.


Teaching Credentials: Due to the rise of virtual learning and home pods, some nannies with bachelor's degrees in other areas are currently applying to get their teaching credentials. Of course, all of this is based on your state's requirements for teaching credentials, which varies. Some states make it easy, and others have a very rigorous process. However, obtaining your teaching credentials would open up more career opportunities for you down the road. It is equivalent to achieving another college degree, so time and energy have to be considered.


Medical and Safety Training: CPR And First Aid certification is required for nanny positions. There are, though, other medical and safety certifications you can take to level up your nanny game. Swim Safety and Lifeguarding certification can be a priority for parents who have a pool at their home or live close to the water. Once again, families with medical complexities or allergies benefit from nannies with training/certification in various medical-based tasks. The Red Cross has Advanced Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support training available to take. Some nannies continue with this kind of training to become Paramedics, CNAs, Nurses, and Doctors in our community. For those high-profile families who worry about safety, self-defense and gun safety are also great options to have in your back pocket. Now, I'm not advocating for nannies carrying guns by any means here. For me, it was the opposite. I worked in the homes of police officers, military personal, and hunters who had guns. While every family I worked with followed gun safety to the T, it made me feel better knowing how to handle the situation safely and correctly if it arose.


New Languages: Any international nanny will tell you this is a big way to get jobs abroad. But even if you're not looking to travel, learning another language can set you apart from other candidates. Parents are looking for bilingual nannies who can reinforce what kids learn in school or learn their families' native language. French, Hindi, Mandarin, and Spanish are among the top asked for languages by nanny families. American Sign Language is one most people forget, but it works with people of all ages. There are so many ways to learn a new language now, from apps to actual courses. Just make sure that if you choose to put a foreign language in your resume or portfolio, you describe your fluency level, and it's accurate.


Certifications / Training: This is the biggest and best way to set yourself apart as a nanny. There are so many different certifications and training at various levels that a nanny can do. This topic could be an entire blog post in itself. The options are endless from nanny accreditation, play/education methods, discipline techniques, and parenting styles. During my career as a nanny, if a parent were interested in a specific process (ex: Montessori method), I would take the course/training. 95% of the time, the nanny family was happy to cover the costs as it benefited their family. The added perk was it was a resume booster for me. I always enjoyed watching parents light up during interviews when I would tell them I was familiar with a specific style or method. Any seasoned nanny will tell you that being educated in many techniques can come in handy working with various families.


Here are some areas where you can obtain more training:

  • Nanny Basics Skills Assessment

  • Discipline Methods

  • Sleep Training Methods

  • Potty Training Techniques

  • Parenting Styles & Techniques

  • Education/Play Styles & Methods

  • Nutrition and Eating Habits

  • Children with Special Needs Training

  • Postpartum - As a mom and nanny, I feel postpartum education should be mandatory for nannies working with newborns and first-time parents. While most believe postpartum is just the first 12 weeks after birth, mothers need that support the first year to translate into complete family success. Many nannies entirely miss their Mom Boss's signs for Post Partum Anxiety and Depression because they don't have the tools or education.

There are specialty certifications that are longer, mentally intensive, and more expensive. Each though offers a new career path and the ability to raise your rates. These are the top certifications for nannies:


Newborn Care Specialist: This is a popular one that many nannies try to accomplish once they have been in the field for a few years. Multiple organizations offer a Newborn Care Specialist (NCS) program, which often takes time and experience. It's also a very rigorous certification with a lot of material to cover. Most Newborn Care Specialists are hired by first-time parents looking for childcare guidance in everything from feeding to sleeping. So they are expecting you to know your stuff. This particular certification also opens your windows of work even further. Most NCSs offer overnight childcare services for the first few months, some agencies refer to these types of nannies as Night Nurses.


Sleep Training: Being a sleep training consultant is not for the faint of heart. It's for those who like a good puzzle and honestly love helping parents and kids. The learning on this is also never-ending, and you have to be on top of your research. New methods, analysis, recommendations, products, and guidelines come out all the time. You have to have tough skin because parental feedback is real. Not every parent will be the ideal client match and not every kid will work with your methods. Being a sleep consultant is a very personal one on one service where it has to be the right client vibe, just like nannying. When I first started, I was on a mission to understand different techniques and the science behind infant sleep. I trained for 5+ years on various sleep training methods that I thought were the best of the best. Once Marvel arrived, I learned a lot more. I will touch on this more in another blog post, but sleep training isn't cookie-cutter perfect. It's more like making a pie, a mix of different fillings and tops. Everything has to be taken into consideration to create the perfect pie. Ultimately, the right "sleep training" technique is what works best for the family.


Doula/Midwife: Doula training is something I WISH I had done before I had Marvel. It was the piece of the puzzle I was missing for years. There is some confusion about the two, so let me break it down. A doula is a birthing coach and can provide help in those early first few days. On the other hand, a midwife can deliver your baby and give you medical advice. These two different programs are somewhere between getting your NCS and a college degree in time and effort. Both give you another career opportunity with a significant pay raise. I know quite a few nannies who have full-time nanny families and a doula business on the side. Even if you don't want to do the Doula or Midwife training, I highly recommend nannies take a course or educate themselves in the postpartum period. Especially if you are a nanny who does like spending a lot of time with newborns or their nanny family is expecting a new little one.


Let me know in the comments which one you are thinking about adding to your resume or if I missed any! If you have more questions or want a more personalized approach, book a free 30-minute call with me now. xo