Steps to becoming a Caregiver
Home-based health care is growing at an extremely fast rate, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a 70 percent rise in positions for personal care aides. Many children and grandchildren become caregivers for their aging family. However, this option is not available for thousands of people who need assistance and prefer at-home care. In order to be a successful personal caregiver, you must be mentally prepared, generous with your time, patient and able to do deal well with performing intimate tasks for people in need. For the right people, care giving can be a rewarding and profitable career. Find out how to become a personal caregiver.
Volunteer at a local hospital or senior center. Logging clinical hours taking care of people will tell you if you are well-suited to this often demanding position. Hold a volunteer position where you aid seniors in getting exercise, taking pills, putting on clothing and showering for at least a few months.
Complete cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training course. All aids should have the physical ability and the training to perform CPR. This will require training hours from a fee-based program at a college, lifelong learning center or through a private organization.
- Seeking training as a CNA will enhance your medical knowledge and duties as a personal caregiver. You will learn some basic nursing skills, observation, infection control and patient care. You will complete lab studies and clinical training hours.
- After completing your training program, you will need to take your state’s CNA certification exam. This will require extra hours of study. Once you pass the exam, you will be required to take continuing education credits to keep the certification.
Choose how you would like to work as a caregiver. Personal caregivers take on a wide variety of jobs, from caring for family members to working for an agency to marketing themselves independently to a community.
- Go to medicare.gov/files/ask-medicare-what-every-caregiver-should-know.pdf to research whether you will be eligible to become a caregiver under Medicare.
- Search for elder care resources, provided by the Administration on Aging. Visit aoa.gov/AoA_programs/HCLTC/Caregiver/index.aspx#eligible to learn about the National Family Caregiver Support Program.
- This is a good option for people who do not want to search for work on their own. You must be open to working with a wide variety of people and health problems. Another advantage is that you can apply for the position without a past in caregiving and receive all your training while getting paid.
- Agency-hired caregivers typically earn slightly less per hour than those who are individual contractors.
- Take referrals from past caregiving jobs. Word of mouth is perhaps the best way to get good quality jobs, because people are looking for guaranteed exceptional service. You may also find you get referrals to help friends or other family, because people may want to hire someone they have a connection to.
- Create a flyer and post your services on community bulletin boards. Post them in senior citizens centers, hospitals and clinics in surrounding towns.
- Create a free listing on Craigslist. Many younger people search for services through this medium. Continue to repost your caregiver listing as time goes on. Craigslist postings are removed after a few weeks.
Join the Association of Professional Caregivers. This professional credential will add to your resume, while helping you to get education and look for jobs. The yearly rate is $79 and it includes over 10 hours of online training, job application help, webinars and job listings.
- Make sure to vet your potential jobs very well. Look for regular payment, good family or friend contacts, in case of questions, regular hours and a respectful relationship with your employer.
- The qualifications and certifications for becoming a personal caregiver depend upon your state’s regulations. Call your state’s Institute/Agency on Aging to inquire about your necessary training.
Things you’ll need:
- CPR training
- Volunteer experience
- CNA certificate (optional)
- Caregiver agency
- Job posting
- The Caregiver’s Handbook
- Association of Professional Caregivers membership
- Craigslist posting
- Community flyer