Job search FAQs
Frequently asked questions about Caregiver jobs
A caregiver provides a range of assistance to people who are sick, injured, mentally or physically disabled, or elderly. Most of the time they help with daily activities, which can vary depending on the client.
Some activities may be assisting with personal care, including bathing, feeding, grooming, dressing, etc. Others may be completing regular tasks the client can’t, such as light housework, running errands, preparing meals, or transporting or arranging transport to and from appointments, errands or activities.
Depending on your expertise, you may be asked to provide medical assistance and support to your client. Or, you may simply serve as a companion in a time of need.
The minimum education requirement for caregiving roles is typically a high school diploma or GED. There aren’t any official “caregiver” licenses or certifications, but there are specialized certifications related to caregiving that can help with success on the job, such as certified nursing aide licenses.
You could also consider specialized training for specific illnesses or disabilities, such as age-related illness, so you’re better equipped and more experienced with working with these clients.
Note that formal certification is required for caregivers working for agencies that receive Medicare or Medicaid. You may want to consider obtaining the certification prior to applying for the role to help your resume stand out, or the organization may give you time to complete the program once hired.
You should then decide if you want to work in a client’s home, or for an organization such as a nursing home or skilled nursing facility. You can gain relevant experience through apprenticeships or part-time positions to learn the responsibilities of caregiving, and once you’ve done this, you can begin reviewing the job market and applying for open roles.
Requirements for a caregiver role can vary by company, but many require the same basic things like:
High school diploma or equivalent
Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Experience providing care across a variety of settings, including in-home, group homes, and day service programs
A valid driver’s license
The company may ask for experience in performing specific tasks that are related to the client’s you’ll be working with and any special care you’ll be providing. Specialized experience may also depend on if you’ll be caring for your clients in their home, or in a group setting such as a nursing home.
The job description should clearly outline requirements, but if you have questions, ask the hiring manager.
A caregiver’s salary can vary depending on your years of experience, special training or certifications obtained, areas of specialty, and your employer. More experienced or specialized caregivers may be paid an hourly rate of $23 or more. However, many caregiving positions are considered entry-level and you may start closer to $8 or $9 per hour.
That said, the average salary for live-in caregivers is about $17 per hour, and for other part-time non-live-in caregivers, the average is about $13 per hour.
Interview questions vary, but you can expect a mix of general questions, ones about your background and experience, and in-depth or job-specific queries.
Knowing what types of questions may be asked, and preparing answers ahead of time, can help you succeed in your interview:
What do you believe are the most important qualities/skills for a caregiver?
What is your experience working with different physical or mental disabilities?
Describe a time when you had a difficult situation with a client. How did you resolve it?
What are some things past clients or families would say about you?
What do you find most rewarding about being a caregiver? What is most challenging?
How would you handle a situation where you were asked to perform a task you weren’t comfortable with?
Do you have experience working with non-verbal clients? How did you communicate with them?
What do you do to ensure a family is comfortable with you working with their loved one?
There are several qualities and skills a good caregiver will have to be successful in their role. Some of the best qualities or traits include:
A caregiver’s skills should focus on client care skills and expertise. These can include:
Written and verbal communication skills
Planning and development
There are several career advancement opportunities for caregivers depending on their specific desires. For example, you may want to continue education specializing in a particular disability or illness. If you have the experience and like working with other caregivers, you may be a candidate for working as a caregiving manager or trainer, helping to onboard and train new caregivers.
Additionally, some caregivers decide to attend nursing or medical school to provide medical-focused care.
Caregivers may work either full-time or part-time, depending on the client. They may be asked to live with the client and provide around-the-clock care, or they may only spend a few hours per day or week with the client.
Shift hours can vary and change from day to day depending on your clients and their individual needs. Because each client’s needs are different, you’ll have to work with them and their family or other caregivers to develop a schedule that works for everyone.
If you work in a group setting, like a nursing home, your hours may be more on a shift basis, but may include nights, weekends, and holidays.
Caregivers work in a variety of settings, including a client’s home, care facilities, and rehab centers. You’ll likely be walking or standing for several hours at a time, and physical stamina is important. You should also be prepared to provide help with tasks that might be considered unpleasant.
The overall workplace can also depend on your client. Some clients are pleasant and friendly, while others may have difficulty communicating, are in pain, or, due to their condition, may be challenging to handle. This can impact what your workplace environment is like, so it’s important to take care of yourself outside of work to reduce stress and increase energy.