If helping people is second nature, you might be perfect in a career as a caregiver. Caregivers, also known as home health or personal care aides, help people who are sick, injured, mentally or physically disabled or elderly. Caregivers usually work in a person’s home. They help with daily activities such as bathing and bathroom functions, feeding, grooming, taking medication and sometimes housework and meal preparation. They also help their clients make and keep appointments with doctors, provide or arrange transportation and serve as a companion.
While this profession might have appeared on an episode of “Dirty Jobs” because caregivers are often required to empty bedpans and change soiled bed sheets, it can be rewarding. Patients can also be unpleasant, disoriented or irritable at times. However, even with the demanding nature of this job, many caregivers are happy knowing they’ve helped someone in need.
We’re looking for a kind and competent caregiver to assist our clients in a professional and compassionate manner. The home caregiver will plan and follow a daily care schedule with our clients, modify care plans as prescribed by medical professionals and report on any new conditions or needs that may arise. To be successful as a caregiver you should be patient, empathetic and have very strong people skills.
Typical duties include:
Helping with personal care (toileting, bathing, grooming, dressing and eating)
Following a healthcare plan (assisting with exercise or giving medication)
Assisting with light housekeeping, grocery shopping and preparing meals
Providing emotional support and encouragement
Providing mobility assistance (helping the client in and out of bed, a chair or wheelchair)
Transporting or escorting the client to medical and other appointments
Monitoring and reporting changes in health or behavior
• High school diploma or equivalent
• Past experience as a caregiver or other healthcare experience
• CPR training
• Professional and friendly attitude
• Willing to work flexible hours including night shift
• Valid drivers’ license
• Pass a mandatory drug test
How much does a caregiver make?
The average caregiver employed by an agency or physician’s office makes about $11.50 an hour. Most aides work full-time. Caregivers who work evening and weekend hours typically make more. And private caregivers who work with a single client can make even more depending on the duties they’re required to perform.
What are the education requirements?
Most caregivers have at least a high school diploma, but it’s not required. A lot of training is done on the job. Training includes safety information, emergency response and cooking special dietary foods if necessary.
Some states might require more formal training from a vocational school, elder care programs or other home health organization. Certification is required for caregivers who work for agencies that receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid.
Career paths for caregivers
A caregiver has few opportunities for advancement without additional education and training. As you gain experience, you might decide to continue working in the medical field to improve your job opportunities. For example, becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN) is possible by completing a certification course or getting a degree in nursing.
The future of caregivers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall job opportunities for caregivers are predicted to rise a huge 41% from 2016-26, much faster than the average for all occupations. As Baby Boomers age, the demand for caregiver services will continue to increase.