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Growing Trend: Unemployed College Grads Turn to Nannying

Growing trend: As college grads can't find jobs, they turn to nannying.
Photograph by Getty Images

With the job market looking pretty bleak these days, it seems more and more college educated women—even some with fancy credentials like an MBA or a law degree—are turning to a more traditional career path as a backup plan: nannying.

NBC News reported on the fast-growing trend just last week, following one such nanny, 27-year-old Elyse Barletta, who calls herself a "modern-day Mary Poppins." This isn't Barletta's first time as a nanny; she did it all through college to make extra money. But it probably wasn't what she thought she'd still be doing once she got that diploma. Still, after struggling to find any work in the nonprofit field she once had her sights on, she's found happiness right back where she started. The perks? It earns her a good salary and has some pretty sweet rewards—in the form of one adorable 9-month-old named Reynolds.

"I have patience for kids," Barletta told NBC News. "I love it."

Apparently, this shift in the nanny industry has been going on since the mid-'90s. And, while some of it has to do with how hard it is to find a job out there, a lot of it also has to do with the fact that more moms are going back to work, and want to leave their kid with someone they trust.

“Moms [who use our agency] aren’t going to work full-time unless they can leave their children in the care of someone they consider a peer,” said Cliff Greenhouse of the Pavilion Agency in New York.

And these college-educated nannies bring with them some valuable experience that can earn them way bigger bucks. According to NBC, some families want a well-educated nanny so badly, they'll pay salaries on par with entry-level finance jobs. While most earn somewhere around $16/hour, it's been reported that nannies can earn up to $100,000 a year (depending on location, education and, of course, the family they're placed with). Not too shabby!

But what parents really love about these educated nannies is that they bring to the table some major benefits.

Take 22-year-old Regan Spear, who recently graduated with a degree in human development with a focus on early childhood education. Now working for a family with a 5-year-old boy and a 17-month-old girl, she told NBC News that her degree puts her at a definite advantage.

“I think that really comforted [my employer]," said Spears. "Whether it’s a physical ailment or a learning disability, I know how to recognize these things and help [the children] develop." And she's not kidding: she just taught 17-month-old Lucy how to walk two months ago.

Other parents hire nannies with advanced education perks just so they can get a 2-for-1 deal. Like Donna Walrond of Brooklyn, N.Y., whose nanny Samantha has a college degree and is fluent in Hebrew—so she can tutor Walrond's two school-aged boys. (Sounds like the total package.)

Would you rather hire a nanny with an advanced degree over another candidate?

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