Qualifications for becoming an au pair include an affinity for children, a high school diploma and documented childcare experience. Au pairs also need to be willing to commit to living with a family and assisting them with childcare duties for at least one full year.
Most au pair agencies have the same basic qualification requirements for accepting new applicants into their programs. Aspiring au pairs must be between the ages of 18 and 26, have a high school diploma, a valid driver's license, speak fluent English and enjoy children. At least 200 hours of documented experience caring for non-related children is required. Applicants must also submit to and pass a criminal background investigation, medical examination and psychometric evaluation. Continuing education requirements include ongoing cultural immersion activities and six units of course study at an accredited learning institution. A stipend is typically provided to cover the cost of required learning courses.
Qualified au pairs have a desirable disposition that includes an adventurous spirit, a deep affection for children and a desire to learn about other countries and cultures. These qualities may be assessed during a personal interview or series of interviews. The applicant is expected to demonstrate maturity, independence and responsibility in their actions as these are key to successfully caring for children.