The Best Babysitting Certification Programs of 2020

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Our Top Picks

Babysitting is a young entrepreneur’s dream job: You get to set your own hours and choose who you work for, all while gaining valuable experience with kids and building up your skills in things like time management, multitasking, conflict resolution, and patience. Plus, if you work for a really cool family, they’ll leave you lots of good snacks to eat after the kids go to bed! (Come on, admit it: You love the kids, but snacks are a major job perk.)

If you want to benefit from the best neighborhood jobs, however, you can’t just have a passing interest in playing Uno with 7-year-olds until their parents come home. The same goes for older babysitters—whether you’re working your way through college, trying to supplement your income with a side job, or looking for a full-time career that lets you spend your day hanging with your favorite kind of people, a love of kids isn’t always enough to get you the kind of quality sitting gigs you want.

To be successful, you must be a confident, knowledgeable, and qualified babysitter. You need to be a big hit with the kids, but also someone who can truly handle things while the parents are out. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to take a certification or training class. Aside from the child care and safety knowledge you’ll acquire, babysitting education courses look good on your resume. Here's a roundup of the best babysitting certification programs.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Safe Sitter

Safe Sitter

Safe Sitter

Safe Sitter was founded by Dr. Patricia Keener 40 years ago, after she learned that the child of one of her colleagues suffered a fatal choking incident while in the care of an adult babysitter. Realizing that more sitters needed to be prepared to handle emergency situations, Dr. Keener began offering babysitting classes in her community, and she eventually expanded her organization to provide training to sitters across the country.

When you sign up for an in-person or online Safe Sitter course, you can learn from a number of qualified educators in all 50 states; these instructors always have at least two years of experience in either health or child care and have completed Safe Sitter’s instructor training. You’ll learn safety skills for indoor, outdoor, and online settings, child care skills such as behavior management, business skills like wage-setting and meeting employers, and first aid skills including injury management and choking rescue (CPR is available as an added component).

We love the variety of options offered through Safe Sitter, including the ability to take classes online or at a local community facility (where available) and the ease with which you can become an instructor yourself and assist other sitters in your community. There is also an introductory babysitting class, as well as a short course on staying safe at home alone for kids in grades four to six.

Pricing for a Safe Sitter course varies pretty widely since host facilities (like hospitals and schools) as well as private instructors set their own rates. However, based on our research, most courses seem to cost about $80, with some slightly less (around $50 or $60) and some slightly more ($95) depending on where you live and what resources are included.

Best for Sibling Sitters: American Red Cross Babysitting Basics

American Red Cross

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is well known for its health and safety training programs and it currently offers two levels of babysitter courses online. The Babysitting Basics course, geared toward kids ages 11 and up, is a perfect introduction to the world of babysitting. It's a great way to introduce responsible kids in this age group to babysitting for their younger siblings.

Based entirely online, the Babysitting Basics course is made up of six training modules featuring games, activities, videos, and a final exam. Participants will learn how to care for children of all ages, stay safe and manage emergencies or injuries, entertain their young charges, and how to get their babysitting business off the ground.

The course takes about four hours to complete and can be done on your own schedule. Enrollment is $45. When you successfully pass your final exam, the Red Cross will send you a digital certificate with a unique identifying code, so anyone can easily verify your certification from a smartphone or computer.

Best Budget: Kidproof Babysitter Training Program

Kidproof

Kidproof

Just like Safe Sitter, this program was founded by a community member wanting to provide a much-needed service. As a police officer with expertise in child and family safety, Samantha Wilson created Kidproof in Canada in 2000. The company has since expanded, with the Kidproof Babysitter Training Program now available internationally online.

Enroll in the training and you’ll follow a five-step program to becoming a better babysitter. It involves learning how to present yourself as a knowledgeable sitter to families, select the best jobs for your skills, care for kids of all ages, prevent and respond to accidents or emergencies, and perform basic first aid measures.

When you sign for the Kidproof Babysitter Training Program, you get an e-handbook, virtual teacher assistance, and six months to complete the coursework at your own pace (it takes about 130 hours). The materials are comprehensive and there is a lot of assistance and flexibility built into the online format; considering that you receive all this for the reasonable cost of $45, Kidproof training is our budget pick.

Best for Pediatric CPR: American Heart Association’s Heartsaver Training

American Heart Association

American Heart Association

If you’re looking to supplement your babysitting education with medical training, the American Heart Association is a great choice. Its pediatric Heartsaver training not only teaches people who work with kids how to provide care in a cardiac emergency until help arrives, but it also covers numerous aspects of first aid, from accidental poisoning and burns to allergic reactions, nose bleeds, and broken bones.

Most appropriate for teen and adult caregivers, the pediatric Heartsaver training is a comprehensive course in choking rescue and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation, which includes airway ventilation and chest compressions) for children and infants. Since these lifesaving procedures are different for babies and kids than adults, it’s important to have specific pediatric training. Completing a program like this one as a babysitter can give you and your employing families extra confidence in your ability to provide care in an emergency until professional help arrives.

Because of the physical nature of learning correct CPR procedures, there is a necessary in-person component to the AHA’s training. You can complete the majority of the training online, but you will need to arrange for a hands-on skill session with a local AHA instructor before you receive your completion card, which is good for two years (contact your local AHA training center for renewal requirements). The online component of the course is only $20, but there will be an additional fee for your in-person session. These vary based on location, but they typically cost about $100.

Best On-the-Spot Certification: Babysitting Certification Institute

Babysitting Certification Institute

Babysitting Certification Institute

This program is a completely web-based option based on the Babysitting Basics training program offered by the American Red Cross. Although there are child health and safety experts advising for the program, it was created by educational test prep experts. Evaluation and instant certification make this program really shine.

The institute says it teaches "the four B’s of child care: Be Prepared, Be Safe, Be Responsible, and Be Fun.” It recommends the course for first-time babysitters or anyone wanting to get more comfortable with caring for children. But the main advantage here is convenience: The course and certification exam are 100% online and can take just a few hours.

For $95, you’ll receive everything you need to work through the course. If you pass the test with at least 80% correct responses, your certification will immediately arrive via email. If you don’t pass, you can retake the test as many times as needed until you score 80%. Your certification is good for 12 months and the institute offers recertification training at a discount of $65 for returning sitters wanting to refresh their credentials.

Best for Advanced Sitters: American Red Cross Advanced Child Care Training

American Red Cross

American Red Cross

For sitters who are ready to move to the next level of babysitting (longer hours, more kids, more responsibilities), the Babysitting Basics course offered by the American Red Cross won’t be comprehensive enough. The organization's Advanced Child Care Training course kicks your preparation up a notch, however, allowing you to more confidently handle complex babysitting scenarios.

Appropriate for older kids and adults with some experience babysitting, the advanced course moves past learning about age-appropriate activities and teaches you how to conduct your babysitting gigs with professionalism and safety in mind. You’ll learn how to manage challenging child behaviors, present yourself as a confident and competent sitter to parents, and implement disciplinary practices when necessary. There are even opportunities to make choices in real-time during the course and see how animated characters respond to your decisions.

Like the Babysitting Basics class, the modules are available completely online for you to work through at your own pace. The cost for the course is $45 and you’ll receive a unique digital certificate of completion that can easily be verified by your employing families.

What Is a Babysitting Certification Program?

There’s no one standardized “babysitter certification,” but there are many organizations offering their own programs to help babysitters become more knowledgeable in child care and prepared for their new responsibilities as a sitter.

Many of these classes are offered in-person, although there are more and more online options now, too. They are typically designed by child care and first aid safety experts, with in-person classes usually taught by these experts as well. Some online courses are self-administered, meaning you can follow the program on your own and at your own speed, while others are run by virtual instructors.

Who Should Consider Taking a Babysitting Certification Program?

Anyone who will be caring for school-age children in a home environment would benefit from taking a babysitting certification class. Although they are geared toward young adults and teens, adults are usually welcome to participate as well.

It’s especially beneficial if you are hoping to make good money babysitting—with a certification, you may be offered jobs from families looking for more experienced sitters and you may be able to negotiate a slightly higher rate if, for example, you know infant CPR.

What Will You Learn From a Babysitting Certification Program?

The material covered depends on the class. Some are simply introductions to child care, teaching you basic infant and newborn care, activity planning, and what to do in an emergency. Others are more in-depth, adding in education about setting your babysitting rates and presenting yourself confidently in family interviews. Most include simple first aid and safety education, though not all have certification for infant and child CPR.

How Much Do Babysitting Certification Programs Cost?

Most babysitting certification programs run about $45. Some are a bit more expensive, depending on the course materials and resources included. None of the programs we researched cost more than $100.

The only exception is if you’re incorporating a CPR component or taking a separate CPR course; because of the level of expertise needed to certify you in lifesaving procedures with qualified instructors, this can add another $100, on average, to your overall training expenses.

How We Chose the Best Babysitting Certification Programs

If you want your babysitting credentials to make an impact with families, you’ll have to get them from a reputable source. With that in mind, we chose programs offered by well-known organizations, like the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross, so you know your course has been designed by knowledgeable experts. We also looked for programs that provide you with a certificate at the end, so hiring families can verify your credentials.

To make things a bit easier, we tried to only select courses that were available in full online. This is the case for every training on this list except for the hands-on session required to complete the AHA’s Heartsaver training.

We also strived to select certification programs that are affordable. We liked the range of education and resources offered online through Safe Sitter, which is why that company was our top pick. Kidproof offers a comprehensive program as well, and considering the cost is only $45, it's a solid budget-friendly pick.

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