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Hiring an Au pair versus a Nanny

There are many factors to consider when hiring an au pair versus a nanny.  A nanny can be any person from the US or with legal authorization to work in the US. An au pair is a foreign worker that has a legal visa to work in the US for one or two years. This article looks to establish ten pro’s and cons of hiring each.

  1. Cost.  Hiring a nanny will cost generally between $350 and $700 per week.  This compares with $340 for hiring an au pair whose cost is strictly regulated by the US State Department.  There are a total of twelve agencies licensed to provide au pair services and no matter which one you select, the weekly cost to the au pair will be roughly the same.  The weekly cost for hiring an au pair will almost always be less than hiring a nanny.  (The weekly fee is per family, not per child.)

  2. Nannies may live in or outside of your home. In the case of an au pair, she (he) will always be live-in.  An au pair must be provided with their own bedroom and though not required, many are also provided with their own bathroom.

  3. Flexible scheduling is an option that is available for an au pair that often is not available with a nanny.  For example, you may wish to have the au pair work from 6:30 – 8:30 AM, 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM and Saturdays, from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.  This, or other combination of hours is easily accommodated for with an au pair, but can be difficult or expensive to arrange with a nanny.  An au pair is available to work for up to 45 hours per week.  An au pair can also work weekends, evenings and Holidays with no increase in pay.

  4. An au pair is typically a female (but can also be a male) between the ages of 18 and 26, from a foreign country and proficient in spoken English.  An au pair is granted a one or two year visa to work in the US. An au pair offers a great opportunity for cultural exchange with one of numerous countries.  You typically can choose an au pair from the country of your choice (subject to availability), so this becomes an excellent way to expose your children to other cultures and languages.

  5. Hiring a nanny typically requires that health insurance be paid for them whereas with an au pair, insurance is typically covered in the costs of the program fee.  (The program fee also covers travel insurance, a return flight home and training.)

  6. Many au pairs are infant certified, meaning that they have at least 200 hours of documented infant childcare experience if the children they are to care for are under the age of two.  This is strictly regulated by the US Department of State. A nanny may or may not have this experience and is not regulated by any agency.

  7. An au pair must have a local coordinator available to them that serves as a support person to them and the family.  A 24-hour support number staffed by a live person is also available.  Having such a support structure is typically not available when hiring a nanny.

  8. An au pair is required to complete at least six semester hours of academic credit during the first year of their time as an au pair.  A nanny does not have an educational requirement.

  9. An au pair must go through a rigorous background check that includes verification of school, three, non-family related personal and employment references, a criminal background check or its recognized equivalent and a personality profile.  A nanny is not subject to the same level of scrutiny that an au pair is.

  10. Many au pairs are special needs capable and capable of caring for children that have special needs.  Many nannies do not have special needs training.

US Au Pair Placement International Placement My Au An affordable childcare program for families of all sizes.