Step by Step Guide to Get Nanny Certified
Nannies and childcare providers can earn the Certified Nanny (NCP), Certified Newborn and Infant Care Professional (NICP) and Professional Nanny (PNCP) credential. The nanny certification steps ensure the integrity of the credential process. The requirements are robust and genuinely elevate those who earn US Nanny Association certifications.
There are several steps to earn a US Nanny Association credential. This step-by-step guide should answer all your questions. If not, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Certifications are valid for three years and can be renewed with the submission of continuing education.
Nannies with US Nanny Association certifications will be easier to screen and place since I know they meet our work experience requirements and are invested in their childcare careers.
Before you sign up to get certified, read this guide!
This step by step guide lists every step and provides all the details including frequently asked questions and the employment verification form.
Make a digital copy (jpeg, png or pdf) of your government issued legal identification from any country (passport, driver’s license, state identification card). The identification must have a photo, your legal name and birthday. You must be at least 18 years old for the NCP and 21 years old for NICP and PNCP credential. Applicants do not have to be a United States citizen or resident. Applicants do not have to be a US Nanny Association member to earn and maintain a Credential.
Find and make a digital copy of your high school diploma, general education diploma (GED) or equivalent. If needed have a version translated into English. A college, university or other post-secondary transcript is also accepted.
If you do not have a high school diploma, you can complete the Nanny Specialist (NS) or Newborn and Infant Specialist (NIS) credential. These credentials have all the same requirements as NCP and NICP except you will be required to submit 3 professional references instead of a high school diploma. The reference must include the employers contact information.
Complete a CPR and First Aid certification course for adults and children. Make a digital copy of your certification. Many organizations including the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, local community colleges, and others offer these courses. Expired certifications can not be accepted
10 min. or 8 hrs.
Confirm you have completed the education requirements and make a digital copy of your certifications, certifications and/or transcripts.
For NCP and NICP, you must have completed at least 20 clock hours or 3 credit hours of documented childcare and/or newborn and infant training from any reputable training organization. The childcare training documentation must have the name of the school, instructor, title of the class or program and duration of the class or program. The documentation must also have the name of the student, date of the course or program and current contact information (school address, phone number, email and website).
For PNCP, you must have completed at least 50 clock hours or 6 credit hours of post-secondary training focused on nanny, childcare and/or early childhood education. An official copy of a transcript must be submitted. Post-secondary institutions include professional trade schools, community colleges and universities. Investing in post-secondary (college) classes confirms the candidate completed training taught by approved and credentialed. College classes also require a performance metric to ensure the student comprehends the material.
10 min. or 20-50 hrs.
The National Nanny Standards are divided into Nanny (N), Newborn and Infant (I) and Professional Nanny (P). The Nanny (N) standards are foundational and create the base of knowledge desired for all nannies. The Newborn and Infant (I) and Professional (P) standards are advanced specialties. The Newborn and Infant (I) and Professional (P) certification include the Nanny (N) standards.
Review the national nanny standards and confirm you are comfortable with all the topics. If your childcare training did not cover all the topics, you can self study or invest in a review course. The review course is optional and fees are non-refundable. Review course fees are an additional cost and do not include the certification fee.
The NCP certification has an optional NCP review class (currently in English only). The NCP review class is online with 24/7 access, takes 6.5 clock hours to complete and costs $149. If you complete the course in its entirety, you will get a certification of attendance that can be used towards the NCP or continuing education training requirement.
The PNCP certification has an optional PNCP review class (currently in English only). The PNCP review class is online with 24/7 access, takes 13.5 clock hours to complete and costs $299. If you complete the course in its entirety, you will get a certification of attendance that can be used towards the NCP or continuing education training requirement (not PNCP training as US Nanny Association is not a post-secondary school).
Registration and attendance of review courses does not in any way guarantee that a candidate will pass the exam. These courses are NOT required for people who are interested in certification programs.
10 min. or 7-14 hrs.
Confirm you have completed the work experience requirements and have digital copies of the required documentation. Childcare experience includes working as a babysitter, nanny, daycare worker, teacher, pediatric nurse, summer camp counselor and other child centric positions. To qualify as childcare work experience, a paid position must include direct supervisory responsibility to care for at least one child between the ages of 0 and 13 and/or up to age 18 if the child has been diagnosed as special needs. To quality as newborn and infant work experience, the child must be 0 to 12 months old. Caring for siblings, family members, dependents, unpaid volunteer work, and/or childcare experience when the applicant was less than 16 years old does not qualify.
- For NCP and NS, you must have at least 1 year (2000 hours) of paid childcare work experience
- For NICP and NIS, you must have at least 2 years (4000 hours) of paid newborn and infant work experience
- For PNCP, you must have at least 3 years (6000 hours) of paid childcare work experience
While the US Nanny Association encourages legal employment, it is not uncommon in the US for childcare providers to be paid in cash and not declared as domestic employees. Documentation of work experience must include contact information as the US Nanny Association may contact employers to confirm employment. There are 4 ways to provide documentation of employment:
- Paystubs and/or W2 documents. Please add the dates and hourly rate so we can calculate the duration or hours worked per year
- Submit a written letter of recommendation that includes the employer’s name, contact information (email and/or phone), dates of employment and job duties
- Ask the employer to complete and sign an employment verification form (download as MS Word or Adobe PDF)
- Signed nanny work agreements and/or signed nanny contracts that include the employer’s name and contact information
If an employer is not willing to provide any type of written documentation or verification, then that work experience can not be used towards the work experience requirement.
Complete a background check and get an official copy to submit with the application. Background checks must include name, address and driver’s license number for identity confirmation. The background check must also include federal/national criminal, state criminal and sex offender search as well as motor vehicle and any other relevant information. The background check company name and contact information must also be included. The background check is solely to ensure compliance with the US Nanny Association standards and is not a replacement for background checks to secure employment.
You can complete a background check through our USNA-approved provider. We have negotiated a discount rate for our certification applicants.
Sign up for Certification…
Apply online, paying the $299 Credential fee. After paying the fee, you will immediately receive an email to create your private login and password. Check your junk or spam folder right away to make sure you see the email as this is the only way to access your application.
When you start an application, it will remain active for 90 days. All steps to earn the credential must be completed within these 90 days. The US Nanny Association does not issue refunds for incomplete, expired, or applicants who do not meet the criteria or who do not pass the proficiency exam.
The certification fee covers the cost for the secure online platform to upload and house the certification documents, cost for online proctoring of the exam and fees to print and ship the certifications. The fee also provides annual training for US Nanny Association to be administrators approved to review and approve all submitted documents and exam results as well as make calls and inquiries as needed to confirm the certification requirements are met. This fee does not include any childcare training, CPR and First Aid training or a background check. Training and background checks are paid separately and directly to businesses and organizations that provide those services.
The US Nanny Association certification programs reduce confusion between sitters, nannies, newborn care specialists and professional nannies. These certification programs define a career path for nannies that parallels other professional trades.
Log into your online account and complete the application form, uploading all the forms and documentation required. Files must be submitted digitally, and multiple files can be uploaded, if needed to meet a requirement. Digital files are accepted in the following formats: pdf. jpg, jpeg, png, doc, or docx. After uploading all the files to meet all the requirements, you will see a checklist. When you check each box and hit submit, the US Nanny Association will receive your application. Administrators will then verify that the application and all submitted documents meet the eligibility criteria. Typically, the application review period takes 2 to 10 business days. If the US Nanny Association has any questions about an application, an administrator will email the applicant with further instructions.
Applicants may be randomly selected for an audit. US Nanny Association conducts audits to confirm the experience and education documented on credential applications. Audits may include contacting employers and educational institutions to confirm provided documentation. The purpose of the audit it to ensure the credibility of the credential program and of the credential holders.
While the US Nanny Association reviews the submitted documents, applicants can prepare for the exam. We have two resources to help – a trivia game and a practice exam. Both of these resources are available in the online account. The practice exam comprised of 25 questions to help you prepare for the NCP and NICP exam or 50 questions to help prepare for the PNCP exam. The practice exams are not timed or proctored so you can take them as many times as you want and can review the correct answers to any missed questions.
The exams are available in English and Spanish.
When an application is approved, applicants will receive emailed instructions and link to a single-use, online proficiency exam. Applicants have three (3) weeks to complete the online, multiple choice exam. When you click the link, you will go to a separate, online exam site that has online artificial intelligence proctoring using your computer camera. The exam must be taken without any aids so all notes must be put away, web browsers closed, and phones placed out of reach. The exam site will ask permission to view your camera and web browsers to supervise your activity while taking the exam. The images taken during the exam will be checked against the government identification submitted by the applicant.
The NCP and NICP credential exam has 100 multiple choice questions and you have two (2) hours to complete the exam. The PNCP credential exam has 200 multiple choice questions and you have four (4) hours to complete the exam. All exams require at least 80% to pass.
You will receive your exam results immediately and must save a copy of the results to upload into your online account to complete your application. US Nanny Association will review the exam results and proctoring. Applicants who complete all credential requirements and pass the exam are notified by email and will then be able to immediately download their credential. If you do not pass the exam on the first attempt, you will receive a new link for a second attempt. You will have three (3) weeks to complete the second attempt.
Applicants who complete all credential requirements and pass the exam are notified by email and can immediately download their certification. If you reside in the United States, a printed copy of your certification will be mailed to the address listed in your student account. If you want your name added to the US Nanny Association Credential verification website, you will have to opt-in through the online platform.
Graduates are authorized to use the NCP, NICP, PNCP, NS and NIS logos for personal use on resumes, LinkedIn, and job boards.
Credentials are valid for three (3) years. Whenever possible, the certification should be communicated with the dates. For example, Jane Smith, PNCP 2022-2025.
To maintain the certification, you will need to submit a current CPR and First Aid certification, 20 clock hours or 5 credit hours of continuing education training from any reputable training organization including the annual conference and pay a renewal fee. If you hold a current credential, you do not have to retake the proficiency exam. If your credential has expired, you will have to repeat the certification process.
Frequently Asked Questions…
Do I have to be a US Nanny Association member to get a Certification?
No. US Nanny Association Member is highly encouraged but not required. However, Credential applicants must agree to follow the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
Do I have to be a US citizen or resident? Do I have to live in the US?
No. Our Association is named the US Nanny Association to communicate a commitment to US laws and customs. The US Nanny Association welcomes all persons living in any part of the world.
What languages are available?
Whenever possible, the US Nanny Association provides content in English and Spanish. The nanny standards and certification exams are available in English and Spanish. The review classes are currently available in English only.
Will getting a US Nanny Association help me get a US work visa?
No. US Nanny Association membership and/or earning a NCP, NICP or PNCP Credential will in no way help individuals obtain a visa to the US or any other country nor will it help companies gain a visa or immigration for their nannies to another country.
Is financial aid available? Are there any discounts?
No, there is no financial aid but the US Nanny Association offers some scholarships to members and scholarships may pay for the review courses and credential fees. Many private organizations and individuals including nanny agencies, family-employers, industry leaders, and childcare business offer scholarships and financial aid.
Yes, there are discounts. If you are an organization, agency, nanny group or business seeking to invest in more than 5 review classes and/or credentials, you may be eligible for a discounted group rate. Contact email@example.com for additional information.
How do I enroll and submit all the documents?
You can enroll in a certification program by signing up online. When you sign up, you will immediately receive an email with a link to your private account. Check your spam or junk folder if you don’t see the email in your inbox. After signing in, you will link to the instructions and location to upload files. Files must be submitted digitally and are accepted in the following formats: pdf. jpg, jpeg, png, doc, or docx.
What qualifies as childcare training? What classes should I take?
Childcare and early childhood education is a very broad category and you are empowered to choose any reputable training course or program. A reputable training organization is defined as one that provides a certificate of attendance, transcript, diploma or certificate that includes the applicant’s name, date of training, title of the training program or course, and number of hours or credit hours of training completed.
You can choose the classes which may including parenting, nanny, foster care, doula and others. The National Standards provide insights on the skills and knowledge needed to pass the proficiency exams.
If you need guidance, we recommend one of our organization members who offer training but you can choose your training based on your goals, skills and interest. Any reputable organization that issues a certificate of completion will count toward the NCP, NICP and continuing education requirements. The PNCP training requires an official trade school, college, or university transcript.
If I take the optional review course, am I guaranteed to pass the exam?
No. While the review course will provide training on the national standards, completing the review course does not guarantee a passing grade on the proficiency exam.
Why does the PNCP require college classes?
Can I see some example exam questions?
Yes. The credential program includes a trivia game and a practice exam. The NCP and NICP practice exam have 25 questions and the PNCP practice exam has 50 questions.
Here are some example NCP questions.
- Conforming to conventional expectations of social behavior by not texting and driving, making eye contact when speaking with another person, and wearing appropriate clothes to work is demonstrating which of the following professionalism traits?
- Smiling and saying thank you to the checkout clerk, not swearing at the driver who cut you off, and putting aside your phone when talking with others is demonstrating which professionalism trait?
- Role model
Here are some example NICP questions.
- What are the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations regarding breast feeding?
- Continued breastfeeding for 18+ months
- Exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months
- Breast and formula feed for 3 months
- Formula feed after 12 months
- What is the hive-like rash made up of red blotches with pale or yellowish bumps on the baby’s skin?
- Erythema toxicum
- Pustular melanosis
Here are some example PNCP questions.
- Amanda is a nanny for 6-year-old Connor. When communicating with Connor, Amanda likes to share details, timelines and communicates well thought-out plans in a step by step manner. What type of communication style is Amanda using?
- Lori failed to properly secure her 3-year-old charge in the back of the car for a quick trip to the corner store. Lori’s car was hit by another car, the accident was not Lori’s fault, and the child was injured. The parents are suing Lori for negligence. Do they have a basis for this lawsuit?
- No, because Lori was not at fault for the accident
- Yes, because Lori did not use the ordinary standard of care, as standard care requires the proper use of a car seat
- No, because the child is over the age of 2 and a car seat or restraint is not required
- No, because they hired Lori to care for their child and therefore trusted her judgement