So, you’ve recently graduated from college or university, but you are struggling to find a job. Maybe you’ve submitted your resume to countless employers but haven’t heard back from anyone. Or maybe you’ve tried to establish a startup, only to have it to collapse before it got off the ground.
At some point, it might start to feel like you’ve run out of options. It can be discouraging to repeatedly interview for jobs, only to never hear back from them.
One job that you might want to consider is working as a governess or governor. The average salary for this job is $40,147USD per year, though individuals working for a VIP family may earn even more!
Difference between nanny and governess
You might think that a governess is the same thing as a nanny. And the thought of having to spend your days changing diapers when you could be doing something with your college degree might seem embarrassing.
However, it is important to keep in mind that a governess is not the same as a nanny. Nannies start working with children when they are very young, typically infants. Their role is to stimulate the child and keep them safe. This includes playing with them, changing them, feeding them, taking them to the doctor, and more. Nannies may also work with older children, as needed.
Governesses, on the other hand, typically work with school-age children. Their primary role is to support the child’s educational activities, including assisting with homework and taking them to extracurricular activities. While some governesses might also help out with other duties, such as preparing meals, their main focus is on helping the child reach educational milestones.
Some families have both a nanny and a governess, to ensure that all needs of the child are met.
Travel the world while working
One unique aspect of being a governess is that it could allow you to travel the world! Many agencies help you locate families from all over the world. If you have ever thought of going abroad to the UK, but haven’t figured out how to make it work financially, becoming a governess allows you to both travel and work.
As a governess, you’ll typically work with the family five or six days a week. This gives you at least one day a week to explore a new country.
Working with an agency means you’ll get help with the relocation process. This could include assistance with flights and advice on living in a new country. Many agencies will also help you learn about the differences in educational systems between countries, allowing you to learn how to best educate the child you are responsible for.
While traveling is certainly a perk to being a governess, make sure that you’re also committed to furthering the education of a child. Much of your time abroad will be spent educating, with only a little time for exploring.
Qualifications needed for this job
Qualifications will vary depending upon location and what the family needs are. However, most of the time, governesses do need some sort of college degree. Depending on the age of the child, you may need an early education certificate or a teaching certificate.
And if the family is looking for a governess for an older child, you may need a degree in a specific subject matter, such as math or history. For example, if the child is struggling with algebra, the family is going to want to make sure you have the knowledge to fully support their needs.
Some people fear that childcare means that they aren’t fully utilizing their college degrees. However, your college degree can actually distinguish you in the childcare field, especially when the family is looking for an individual with a specific skill set.
Depending on location, you may also need to have some medical training, such as CPR training or basic first-aid training. There are organizations, such as the American Red Cross, that can help you get these certifications at a low cost.
Recommended skill sets to have
In addition to the above qualifications, some skills can help distinguish you from other candidates. For example, if you have experience with meal prep or housework and you’re willing to do that in addition to educational activities, that could make you more desirable.
Another beneficial skill is the ability to speak another language. Many families want their children to learn multiple languages, so if you are willing to help teach the child another language, you could be given preference over another candidate.
If you have experience with an extracurricular activity, such as swimming or horseback riding, that could also set you apart. In addition to traditional academics, families want governesses that can educate children on a variety of subjects. The more well-rounded your teaching abilities, the more desirable you’ll be to potential families.
Finally, you’ll also want to highlight your organizational skills. Families will be looking for people that are not only able to develop and organize educational activities, they may also want you to help organize extracurricular activities or maintain a calendar of appointments.
What families might want
When a family hires a governess, they are going to be looking for very specific things. The first things that they will consider are your qualifications and teaching experience. If you have ever nannied, taught, or tutored before, make sure to highlight that on your resume.
They’ll also look at your academic qualifications. Many families will want someone that has excelled in a wide range of academic studies. While some children may need help in a specific subject, many families are hiring governesses that are comfortable teaching a wide range of subjects.
They’ll also look at your energy levels. Children may have trouble concentrating all day, so families want individuals that are willing to take their children outside and do some physical activities throughout the day. You should be willing to get outside and play.
Finally, they’ll also consider your personality. While academic achievements matter, families also want someone with people skills. They want a person that will be able to relate to their child and nurture their child. So, you should always be prepared to have a positive and warm attitude when around the child.
Finding a family to work for
When it comes time to find a family to work for, it is recommended that you go through an agency. For example, if you search for “Governess Agency”, one of the agencies you’ll come across is EED Learning. When looking over the website, you’ll realize that they maintain an active listing of jobs and can help you get connected to the family.
Once you have a potential family in mind, make sure to take the interview process seriously. Not only is the interview time for them to get to know you, but it is also the time for you to get to know them. If they don’t seem like the right fit for you, it is okay to say no!
Develop a list of questions you can use in the interview. For example, you may want to ask about discipline expectations. Or maybe you want to clarify what the work schedule will be like.
If possible, you’ll also want to meet the child before committing to the job. You’ll want to make sure your personality meshes well with the child’s personality. After all, you’ll be spending lots of time together!
Careers after being a governess
While being a governess to a VIP family pays well, you might also wonder what sort of careers being a governess could prepare you for. Naturally, many governesses go into education afterward. After working one-on-one with a child for several years, many people decide that they would like the challenge of working with a classroom of children.
While becoming a full-time classroom teacher will require you to hold some sort of teaching certification, another alternative to classroom teaching is becoming a substitute teacher.
Another common career after being a governess is some sort of administrative assistant role. Since being a governess requires organizational skills, many can use that skill set to work in an office setting.
There are also many other careers in the social services industry that require the same strong people skills that are needed by governesses. For example, some governesses go on to become social workers. While some of these careers might require additional degrees and certifications, time as a governess allows people to discover just how much they enjoy working with people.
If you’re still trying to figure out what you want to do after college or if you’re struggling to find a job, working as a governess or governor for a few years is a good way to earn money, develop your resume, and travel the world.
Just keep in mind that many families have high expectations for their governess. If you struggled academically in college, don’t enjoy working with others, or aren’t prepared to teach, you may want to consider another career.