CPR and First AidBoth experts agree that CPR and first aid certifications are the most important certifications a nanny can earn -- many families won't even consider a nanny who doesn't have this training. If you plan on caring for young children, it's also a good idea to take specific classes on infant CPR.
Infant CareCaring for infants comes with its own challenges and joys. Newborns require specialized knowledge, and taking a class through a local hospital, parenting centre, community college or pediatrician's office will ensure you know how to care for your youngest charges -- especially if you've had limited experience in this area.
Nanny Basic SkillsThe INA offers its Nanny Basic Skills Assessment, which can give a family peace of mind when interviewing nannies who have passed it. Kavanagh says that it was developed to "provide a credential to those nannies who did not have a degree in a child-related field or to those nannies who wanted to add a nanny-specific credential to their portfolio." It tests your knowledge of child care -- including topics like health, safety, nutrition, professionalism and child development -- and, if you pass, you get a certificate to confirm your expertise.
If you want to take it a step further, sign up for the more intensive INA Nanny Credential Exam. Pass that, and you'll be considered an INA Credentialed Nanny.
Professional Nanny CertificationAlthough it's not required in order to become a nanny, you can also become a Certified Professional Nanny through nanny schools that have been approved by the American Council of Nanny Schools, such as the English Nanny & Governess School. It shows that you've successfully passed a rigorous training program about how to care for children. These courses are particularly good if you're just starting out and need experience.
Driver's LicenseHaving a valid driver's license -- and a clean driving record -- will afford you the opportunity to do double duty. You can run errands for the family while caring for the kids, or open a whole new world of parks, museums and zoos to visit. If you don't have a license, stop by your local DMV to obtain one or get information on driver's education classes you can take to prepare for the exam.
Nutrition and CookingAny knowledge of nutrition or cooking will make you a more valuable candidate to parents. They want to know that you can keep their kids well-fed and teach them how to eat healthfully. Nutrition and cooking classes are available at local community colleges, culinary schools or even at health food stores.
Early Childhood EducationLearning more about children's development and needs will help you understand your charges and make you a better nanny. "If a caregiver doesn't have a solid understanding of child development, she should get a basic certification that covers all aspects of working with children "Every state offers a training program geared toward licensed caregivers (e.g. family care providers, day care workers). Nannies are also able to take those programs...Many community colleges also offer basic child care education certifications."
Special Needs CareIf your charge is a special needs child, a course preparing you for the role of caregiver is important. There is lots of need-specific medical information to be aware of and general advice on caring for a child with special needs. If you have this knowledge, parents searching for care will be more inclined to hire you.
Positive DisciplineTo help nannies learn how to reinforce positive, good habits in children. This child care philosophy focuses on nurturing and helping the child without punishment or berating. .
Foreign LanguageWe frequently hear that parents want caregivers who can help teach kids another language -- it's one of the most sought-after nanny skills. Families want their children exposed to a different language and culture at a young age. If you speak a language in addition to English, mention it in your profile.
FitnessAlong with nutrition comes fitness. Parents like knowing that you can help kids stay active and healthy.