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Caregiver Career Guide

Caregivers are patient, empathetic, and have exceptional people skills. If you are compassionate and enjoy helping others, a caregiver offers an excellent career path where you can create meaningful relationships and make a difference in people’s lives. 

Caregivers assist people who have difficulty or are unable to perform everyday activities, helping them to gain a measure of independence. This might involve assisting with personal care, administering medication, helping someone around their home or with their hygiene, or providing companionship. Some caregivers may have medical experience, but it’s not necessary depending on the position. Caregivers can work with children, elderly, able, or disabled people. As a caregiver, you may work in a variety of environments, including clinics, group homes, assisted living facilities, or in a person’s home.

Sample job description

Caregivers play an intricate role in enhancing the lives of individuals in need. Caregivers will exercise their expertise in assisting individuals by caring for their everyday living environment. Caregivers will be responsible for making the client’s home safe and livable, as well as driving the client to appointments and care tasks; such as grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and social engagements. The person [Your Company Name] hires will need a valid driver’s license as well as basic needs skills. Some positions may require further knowledge in nursing and occupational therapy skills.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Light housekeeping and sanitation 
  • Preparing meals and making food easily accessible
  • Scheduling appointments and picking up prescriptions
  • Chauffeuring clients to appointments and social engagements
  • Assisting in care tasks, including but not limited to: bathing, grooming, toileting, and incontinence 
  • Reminding clients of appointments, events, and clients personal days of importance
  • Assisting in preparation and administration of medications

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent 
  • 3 years experience in a relatable field

Required skills and qualifications

  • Exceptional verbal communication skills
  • Impeccable attention to detail
  • Ability to provide unbiased care
  • A valid driver’s license and experience with driving
  • Excellent multitasking and organization skills

Preferred qualifications

  • A minimum of one year of experience in the field
  • Experience in prioritizing the needs of a client or individual
  • Experience in a nursing home setting
  • CNA certification
  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing or a relatable field

Typical work environment

Caregivers working in a facility or clinic will typically work in a team environment with a manager or director to refer to or contact when uncertain situations occur. Since many work in a facility or clinic, the need for driving during work hours may not be necessary. Working hours and days for facilities and clinics vary depending on the facility or clinic.

Caregivers working in a client’s home will typically work in an individualistic environment with access to a manager or director via phone, text, or email depending on the company. Since these people work one on one with at-home clients, access to a reliable vehicle is necessary for driving clients to appointments and engagements. Working hours and days for home caregivers vary depending on the needs of the client.

Typical hours

The typical work hours will vary depending on location, position, and type of caregiving service. Working in a clinic or facility setting can be first, second, or third shifts since individuals need care at all hours of the day. Working in a client’s home will also vary depending on the needs of the client. Caregivers have the potential to work at any hour of the day and require flexibility depending on the schedule and client. Caregivers will also work any day of the week since clients will need care every day.

Available certifications

As caregivers work in a variety of clinics, facilities, and in the client’s home, there are many certifications they can obtain, including:

  • Basic Certified Caregiver. Becoming a Certified Caregiver varies from state to state. A Certified Caregiver is a certification that is approved by your state health department. The majority of the states offer a resource program to find the Caregiver certification that will fit the caregiver field you want to apply for. After completing a caregiver certification program you will undergo an examination. 
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). If you want to jumpstart your career as a caregiver, obtaining a CNA certification is helpful. Becoming a CNA is sometimes required if you desire a position working with disabled and/or elderly patients. To become a Certified Nursing Assistant, search online at CNAlicense.org to find a program near you. If your state does not have a Certified Nursing Assistant program, check with your state’s American Red Cross for a Nursing Assistant Training program. 
  • Home Health Aide (HHA). While the Home Health Aide certification resembles the Basic Caregiver Certification, you can obtain an HHA without a Bachelor’s Degree or High School Diploma. HHA Training can significantly boost your visibility and credibility as well as give you vital skills and knowledge in the aiding of aging individuals. You can obtain an HHA through your local Red Cross or on the National Association for Home Care and Hospice’s Home Care University online. Your local community or vocational schools may offer this training as well.

Career path

The journey to becoming a caregiver begins with the desire to help people. Requirements for a caregiver position vary from state to state and also vary between agencies and clinics. 

Those who aspire to have this job can undergo certification or training programs to give them an upper hand in the hiring process. Becoming a caregiver in a clinic or facility setting may require these certifications or training programs in order to be considered for the position.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 31-1120

2020 Employment3,470,700
Projected Employment in 20214,000,000
Projected 2019-2029 Percentage Shift 33% increase
Projected 2019-2029 Numeric Shift1,129,900 Increase

With the number of retired individuals on the rise, the need for at home and facility caregivers will increase. Caregivers are essential for aging patients as well as disabled and young individuals. However, the Baby Boomer generation will be needing Caregivers within the next ten to twenty years, making these positions desired for multiple facilities as the need increases. 

Having specific certifications, like a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or a Home Health Aide (HHA) could guarantee an immediate position in your desired caregiver field.