How much should I charge for child care?

Feb. 22, 2019

Are you considering starting a career in child care but you’re not sure what you should charge? Or maybe you’ve been a child care provider for awhile and feel like you should be making more? Asking for a lower rate may land you the new job, but (of course) you also want to make good money. So when determining your pay, it’s important to know what your services are worth.

Pay rates for child care workers can vary significantly due to a number of factors: experience, job expectations, number of children, your location and more. But there are definitely some pay ranges that are standard for each type of child care job. We did some research (so you don’t have to), and here’s what other caregivers are getting paid.

Pay rate by job type


Setting babysitting rates can be a challenge since you don’t always get to communicate with other sitters to compare notes. The good news is there’s some good, hard data on this.

"In 2018, we saw the average rate for babysitting reach $16.41 per hour in the U.S.," says Jacquelyn Booth, director of Analytics at

This rate can fluctuate depending on your skill level, education and experience, as well as the number of children who need care. The most notable factor, though, is location. According to data, these were the five cities where babysitters could make the most money per hour in 2018:



San Francisco, CA


San Jose, CA


Napa, CA


Seattle, WA


Boston, MA


Aside from the location, what’s going to make you a little more dough? Education and training. Here are the percentages of parents who told us they'd pay more for a babysitter who had any of the following education and/or certifications:



Safety training (e.g., CPR & first aid  certification)


Early Education degree


State-level child care certification required for preschool teachers


Beyond these, there are many other types of child care experience, training courses and certifications, including infant care certification, water safety certification and special needs care, that can help boost your career — and hopefully your pay rate, too!

It’s important to note that you should be paid fairly. At the very least, you should make above the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour in February 2019) and above your state, city or county’s minimum wage, which may be even higher.

To find the going rate near you, enter your zip code into our babysitter rate calculator.


Nannies provide personalized care, usually full-time and in the family’s home. That may be why they’re among the highest paid child care providers.

"According to the 2018 data, we found the average rate for nannies to be just over $15 per hour, which amounts to a weekly income of just over $600 for a full-time nanny,” says Booth.

This means that full-time nannies can potentially make an average of about $600 per week, which can work out to about $31,200 per year, depending on the paid time off situation. In general, a nanny caring for more than one child can expect to earn a little more than a nanny who’s in charge of just one kid. And experience and job expectations can play a factor in rates, too.

According to the 2018 jobs data, these are the five states where nannies earned the highest annual income:




Washington, DC








New York


Day care teachers

Interested in a day care job? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, education administrators at nursery schools and day care centers earned an average annual income of $49,270 — which boiled down to an average rate of $23.69 an hour. For teachers and aides who provided child day care services, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average was closer to $22,190 a year — which broke down to an average rate of $10.67 an hour.

Nursery or preschool teachers

Nursery or preschool teachers' salaries can depend significantly on their location, type of degree and the school’s set rates.

That said, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that preschool teachers who worked in child day care services earned an average annual income of about $29,670 in 2017 — at an average rate of $14.03 per hour. Nursery and preschool teachers can often boost their annual salaries by getting trained and certified to work with children with special needs, or by moving over to a private preschool, which usually has the means to offer better pay.

Au pairs

Au pairs are not U.S. citizens. They work with an au pair agency that pays for their visa and travel expenses. Once they're on U.S. soil, the agency uses the money their host family paid to provide a weekly “stipend,” while the host family provides room and board (and sometimes a little extra money).

It's important to note that the "weekly minimum stipend" for an au pair is tied to the U.S. minimum wage, which has been $7.25 per hour since July 2009. Au pairs, by law, are not required to work more than 10 hours a day or 45 hours per week (and up to 10 hours per day and up to 30 hours per week if they’re in the EduCare program, which is for student au pairs.) The weekly minimum stipend for an au pair is currently set by the U.S. Department of State.

That said, host families are encouraged to — and often do — pay their au pairs more than the standard weekly minimum stipend.

Factors that will influence your pay rate

Reminder: The above rates are just averages, generalizations and general guidelines. You’re not going to make exactly what another child care provider does — and for a variety of different reasons. Just going from the suburbs to the city could mean a sitter makes up to double or even triple the pay! And of course, nannies and day care teachers with 10 years of experience are going to earn more than a newbie does.

Keep all the factors of your employment, your experience and your job expectations in mind when setting your rates. Here are some of the most important ones to consider.

Geographical location

Not surprisingly, different cities have different costs of living (e.g., cost of food, housing, etc.). This means child care professionals may have to charge different pay rates so that they can cover their basic expenses — and, ideally, still make a profit afterward. For example, a babysitter living and working in a rural area will probably charge less than a babysitter who lives and works in a huge city.

If you'd like to find out what other child care providers are charging in your neck of the woods, check out our handy nanny pay rate calculator or babysitter rate calculator.

Job requirements

Another factor that should influence your rates is the type of care a family expects you to provide. This includes the number of children they want you to care for, the number of hours they expect you to work and the time of day that they want you to be "on duty."

If a family expects you to perform additional services outside of the traditional realm of "child care duties" — such as housekeeping, tutoring, or providing overnight care — that can also justify a higher rate.

So if you want to make more money, consider offering additional services that you'd be willing to perform. This strategy will enhance your "value-add" for prospective families and could even increase your likelihood of landing a job.

Level of skill and experience

Many families prefer to hire child care providers who have previous child care-related experience. Some look for certification in child development or a degree in early childhood education. Other families want a caregiver who speaks a second language or who has specialized experience — whether it's caring for multiple children, children with ADHD or newborns.

Moral of the story: When setting your rates, take into account your previous work experience, your skills, any certifications and training you've received, as well as your education level. And don't forget to list all of them in your online job profile and resume, so families can see what makes you worth your rates.


Full-time household employees (e.g., nannies) should ask hiring families if they'd consider providing them with benefits like health insurance, paid time off and more. These benefits are often built into their salary and may be broken down into monthly or weekly rates.

Final tips for setting your child care rates

By this point, you've familiarized yourself with the national averages for different types of child care jobs, you've scoped out your competition's rates and you've figured out how much your skills and experience are worth. But, you have a little more work to do in order to set your rate.

Ask yourself these final questions to make sure you’ve accounted for everything that may affect the final rate you set:

  • How far do you have to commute for the job?

  • How many children are you being asked to care for?

  • Are you being offered benefits such as health and dental insurance, 401k and paid time off?

  • Have you accounted for your added value services (e.g., more education or certifications, increased experience, etc.)?

  • Do you know how much tax you’ll have to pay and whether or not it will be withheld from your paycheck?

  • Does this job fit your budget needs and will you bring home enough money every month to cover all your expenses?

Starting with what you need to make — and then breaking down what your services are worth — will help you find your pay "sweet spot.” That rate should be enough to cover your monthly expenses, pay your taxes and still have some fun with friends and family.

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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