How to Become an

Au Pair

The complete career guide to be an Au Pair: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $22,310
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 5.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Get to Travel
    Career Attribute

An au pair is a live-in childcare provider, commonly from a foreign country. Au pairs provide basic nanny services for the children they care for, but they also provide language and cultural training. Au pairs typically work with one family for a year before moving into another role with another family.

Recommended Schools

What is an Au Pair?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in au pair roles:

  • Care for one or more children in a single household, ensuring all needs are met
  • Drive children to and from school, after-school activities, and doctor’s appointments
  • Prepare meals and snacks for children to ensure they’re getting proper nutrition
  • Help children with homework, provide education in the household, and change diapers/potty-train
  • Ensure children follow all set rules to enforce safety and prevent the development of bad behaviors

A Day in the Life

The role of an au pair is similar to that of a foreign exchange student, but with nanny responsibilities. Au pairs are usually individuals from a foreign country who live in a single household for a year and provide all caregiving needs for the children of the family they’re living with. The benefit of an au pair for a family is the cultural and language training their children are offered, and the lower costs of services. For an au pair, established pay and living arrangements make experiencing foreign countries possible.

Au pairs conduct all activities you might expect a stay-at-home parent to provide his/her children. They take children to and from school, after-school activities, and doctor’s appointments. They help children with homework and tutor children when additional education is needed. They also care for the basic needs of the children in their service: cooking meals at normal meal times, ensuring all household rules are enforced, changing diapers, ensuring children are bathed, and enforcing bedtimes.

Additionally, au pairs are responsible for the health and happiness of the children they care for. They set up entertaining activities like trips to the playground, water parks, and play dates. They may play board games with kids or find appropriate movies for everyone to watch together. When not working, au pairs are able to get out of the house and explore the country they’re working in, which allows for a fully immersive experience that doesn’t require paying for a hotel for a year to experience a different culture.

Typical Work Schedule

Most au pair roles are full-time, and overtime may be required. Generally, au pairs work on a contract basis, working with a single family for a year at a time.

Typical Employers

Au pairs work for private households, though many may be employed by an au pair service who handles all contracts, arrangements, and placements for the au pair.

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How To Become an Au Pair

No formal college degree is required to become an au pair. Many au pairs are recent high school graduates—or current college students—who are looking for a way to experience another country without the high costs of room and board. Experience working with children as a babysitter, nanny, or daycare worker can be helpful because you may need to provide references, and while a degree is not required, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field can be useful for making yourself more competitive for open roles.

Because au pairs work for families in foreign countries, they must have two forms of documentation: a passport, and a visa that allows for working legally in the host country. The passport can be acquired at any time and allows for international travel. The visa is usually only applied for after you find a host family and can prove that you will be working temporarily in the host country. The visa is provided by the country you’ll be living in while working as an au pair.

First aid and CPR training can be beneficial for aspiring au pairs since children will be in their care for 40 or more hours a week—these certifications can help you respond appropriately to emergencies. Foreign language training can also be helpful. While most families will likely want you to speak English with their children, a working knowledge of the language of the country you want to live in can be helpful for clarifying language barriers and for exploring the country on your own time.

Au Pair Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Au Pair salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Au Pair's can make an average annual salary of $22,310, or $11 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $18,290 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #797 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Au Pairs

  • 0.5%   Doctorate
  • 3.1%   Masters
  • 14.2%   Bachelors
  • 10.1%   Associates
  • 26.6%   College
  • 32.2%   High School
  • 13.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Au Pair job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 69,300 jobs for a total of 1,329,900 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #405 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Au Pairs

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 341,400 15,800 16%
Child day care services 305,500 23,400 24%
Private households 256,000 6,100 6%

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