How to Become a Caregiver

Many job hunters came to our site looking for caregiver jobs. Caregiver is a broad term, qualification requirement ranging from no formal education credential required, such as Home Health Aide (HHA), to bachelor’s degree, such as Registered Nurse (RN). Below are requirement for several common caregiver jobs.

Home Health Aide (HHA)

Median salary for HHA in 2015 was $21,920/year, or $10.54/hr. Employment of home health aides is expected to grow 38 percent from 2014 to 2024. There is no formal education requirement for home health aides. Many home health aides work for certified home health or hospice agencies that receive government funding, and are required to complete formal training and pass a standardized test.

Typical duties of a HHA are: assisting clients in their daily personal tasks, such as bathing or dressing; light housekeeping, such as laundry, washing dishes; shopping for groceries and preparing meals; helping to organize a client’s schedule and plan appointments; arranging transportation. Depending on the state laws, home health aides may also occasionally dispense medication or check their client’s vital signs under the direction of a nurse or healthcare practitioner.

Personal Care Aide (PCA)

Median salary for PCA in 2015 was $20,980/year, or $10.09/hr. Employment of personal care aides is expected to grow 26 percent from 2014 to 2024. There are no formal education requirements for personal care aides. Most personal care aides are trained on the job. Many personal care aids are employed by organizations or agencies that provide in-home services or support, some are hired directly by the client or the client’s family.

Personal care aides help clients with self-care and daily activities. They perform tasks that are similar to those of home health aides. However, personal care aides cannot provide any medical services, whereas home health aides may provide basic medical services.

Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Median salary for CNA in 2015 was $25,710/year, or $12.36/hr. Employment of nursing assistants is expected to grow 17 percent from 2014 to 2024. Nursing assistants must complete a state-approved education program and must pass their state’s competency exam to become certified. Nursing assistants work in nursing and residential care facilities and in hospitals.

Also called nursing aide, a nursing assistant’s main role is to provide basic care to patients, as well as assist them in daily activities they might have trouble with on their own. Typical duties of a CNA are: assisting patients bathing, dressing, toileting; serving meals and helping patients eat; turning and repositioning bedridden patients; taking vital signs; recording patients’ health concerns and reporting to nurses.

Licensed practical nurses (LPN)

Median salary for LPN in 2015 was $43,170/year, or $20.76/hr. Employment of licensed practical nurses is expected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024. Licensed practical nurses must complete a state-approved educational program, which typically takes about 1 year to complete. They must also be licensed. Licensed practical nurses work in nursing homes and extended care facilities, hospitals, and private homes.

Typical duties of a LPN are: monitoring vital signs; giving injections and medications; changing bandages; inserting catheters; helping patients bathing, dressing; taking medical histories.

Registered Nurse (RN)

Registered nurses are the largest healthcare occupation. Median salary for RN in 2015 was $,67,490/year, or $32.45/hr. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 16 percent from 2014 to 2024. Registered nurses must be licensed. An associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program (RN diploma), is generally qualified for entry level staff nurse positions. Hospital employers, however, may require a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Registered nurses work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, home healthcare services, and nursing care facilities.

Registered nurses working in nursing care facilities hold the highest nursing position in nursing homes, as they oversee the activities of the rest of the nursing staff. RNs are responsible for overseeing each patient’s overall health and medical histories. In addition to the basic duties performed by nursing assistants and LPNs, RNs are also responsible for advanced activities such as starting intravenous infusions, administering oxygen, monitoring blood sugar levels and consulting with the supervising physicians.

Registered nurses need to pass the Home Health Care Nurse certification through an American Nurses Credentialing Center before they are allowed to work as home care nurses. Typical duties of home health nurses are administering medications, taking vital signs assessing health progress and needs, and educating patients on health care.

CNA is one of the most sought-after caregiver job types on our site. At 38% growth rate with no formal education required, HHA is another popular caregiver job type on our site.  To find caregiver jobs , check out our job listing page.