Caregivers working for senior care companies, including senior home care agencies, assisted living communities, hospices, nursing homes and hospitals qualify for certain benefits, by law, as employees.
What benefits do professional senior caregivers receive?
- Worker's Compensation Insurance
- Unemployment Insurance
- Social Security Benefits Upon Retirement (Due to Payroll Contributions)
- Health Insurance Usually for Full-time Employees
Learn about ongoing training opportunities as the senior care industry will be a top employer in the coming decade as the baby boomer generation ages (anyone born between 1946 and 1964). About 78 million people are considered baby boomers.
Learn about training for senior caregivers, certified nursing aide programs and part-time and full-time job opportunities to grow your caregiving skills or to consider caregiving as a career.
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How do you become certified as a senior caregiver?
Certification is not required for companion senior home care in most states. However, by becoming certified, you will increase your prospects of being hired as the certification demonstrates you have completed training and and possess certain skills by passing a certification exam.
Every state provides training programs and exams for certification as a Certified Nursing Aide. Some states also provide additional certification as home health aides and personal care aides.
Learn about the certification process and take a sample or practice C.N.A. exam to sharpen your skills and explore nursing aide certification programs in your area on Caregiverlist.
The U.S. Labor Department reported the economy lost 263,000 jobs in September, with the unemployment rate rising to 9.8 percent. However, employment opportunities in senior care are still plentiful, with an ongoing need for certified nursing aides, home health aides and companion caregivers. Every state provides certification for nursing aides and some states provide the additional certification for home health aides.
Senior caregiving positions provide fulfillment, in addition to earning a paycheck. Senior caregivers are able to leave their jobs at the end of the day knowing they made a positive difference in someone's life.
Professional caregivers are able to receive benefits and training when working for senior care companies, assisted living communities and nursing homes.
Caregivers are able to share their caregiving stories with Caregiverlist and a recent story tells how someone who was laid off found fulfillment in a new career as a caregiver:
"After many years of soul searching and the circumstance of being laid off from a job of 8 years in a profession I had worked in for 30+ years, I was convinced by family members that I should consider health care as a viable solution to my unemployment. With that in mind, I was able to secure a job in Home Health Care, from a company that was willing to hire me. This resulted in my meeting Sharon.
Sharon is/was a remarkable human being who found humor in ways I could not in my wildest of dreams imagine finding. She suffered from an incurable disease that at times made her unable to do the simplest of bodily functions. Even with that, and on her worst days (and believe me, she did have some of them, many of them, in fact) she was able to persevere and move forward with her life. She showed me things about myself that I never realized were there, and taught me how to evaluate circumstances in a more realistic manner.
Sharon, who I am no longer able to help out any more, continues to move forward in her life in a way that I only hope I am able to do as my time passes. She, in her own way, was, in part responsible for me getting my CNA certificate and pursuing a career in health because of the way she fought on to maintain her independence and her health. I will always be inspired in anything that is of a helping nature that I do, because of my one-of-a-kind client and friend, Sharon."
As the senior population increases and as advances in medical care allow people to live longer lives, a career as a senior caregiver offers job security along with the ability to continue to learn new skills, obtain additional training certification and advance in your position. Learn more about caregiver training from our caregiving videos, take a practice nursing aide test and apply for a caregiving job or find a certification training school in your area and enjoy a career as a senior caregiver.
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How do you become a Certified Nursing Aide? The first step is to find nursing aide training programs in your area. Community colleges, vocational schools and medical centers offer the programs and in some areas, nursing homes and senior home care agencies offer these certification classes.
What is required for entrance into a nursing aide training program? You must meet all the qualification requirements for entrance into the programs, which include reading and math competency and passing a background check and drug test. Usually a high school diploma or G.E.D. is required and the minimum age is 18
How much do nursing aide programs cost? The cost for certification programs is usually between $500 and $2,000. Many times you can obtain a grant or scholarship or tuition reimbursement from an employer to for the nursing aide training. The best way to learn about financing your nursing aide certification is to speak to the school admissions office.
How do you obtain your certificate? The final certification for nursing aides is issued by the department of health by each state, after passing the state certification exam. You must then update your certification every 2 years. You may want to take a nursing aide practice test prior to pursuing certification to understand all of the skills which will be necessary to become certified.
What pay rate can you expect as a certified nursing aide? The pay rate depends on the area of the country you live in but usually you can expect pay of between $10 and $15 per hour and as you have more experience, you will receive higher pay and can advance to become a Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse as both L.P.N.'s and R.N.'s receive C.N.A. training as part of their training. You may also work as a companion caregiver while obtaining your certification training and you may apply for a caregiving job in your area on Caregiverlist. You may also read our Insider's Guide to Becoming a Nursing Aide to find out what school admissions officers and directors say about the certification process.
Senior caregivers often enter the profession after having personal experience as a caregiver for a relative or friend. Sometimes the best skill a caregiver can bring to their work is compassion for the senior's daily care needs as they cope with the aging process.
What positions are available for senior caregivers?
Part-time caregiving positions will involve assisting a senior for 2 hours or more, usually starting with a minimum shift of 3 hours, to assist the senior with personal care, meal preparation, housekeeping and errands. Many times seniors who are experiencing memory loss or may be recovering from a stroke or hip replacement will require just part-time care to keep their physical therapy on track and to assist with their activities of daily living. Sometimes, a short bathing visit from 1 to 2 hours, will be scheduled, with a higher pay rate for the hourly shifts because it is a short visit.
Full-time caregiving positions involve continuous care for seniors who have difficulty with ambulation or may be suffering from memory loss or another age-related disease, such as Parkinson's disease. Assignments may be for 8 or 12 hour shifts or may be 24-hour live-in care where 2 caregivers are rotated throughout the week, with down-time in the evening and the ability to sleep at night.
Senior home care agencies provide for caregiver benefits, as required by law for employees, including contribution to social security tax so the caregiver can collect social security benefits upon retirement and worker's compensation insurance. Additional benefits such as medical, dental and vision health care and performance bonuses are often also provided, with a requirement for a minimum number of weekly hours in order to quality.
Before interviewing for a caregiving position, a caregiver may learn about job descriptions, policies and take a nursing aide practice test to be better prepared for the interview. Training will involve learning about the proper care techniques for seniors with age-related diseases in addition to learning the hands-on skills required for personal care and transfers.
Companion caregiving positions may not require formal training while nursing aide positions will require certification or the equivalent skill level. You may apply for caregiving positions in your area through our Caregiverlist job application as there is an ongoing need for quality senior caregivers.
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Caregivers interested in furthering their education and securing top senior caregiving positions may want to consider becoming a Certified Nursing Aide, also referred to as a C.N.A. Some states also offer certifications for home health aides and personal care assistants who work in senior's homes.
What are the requirements for admission to a nursing aide program?
- High School Diploma or Equivalency
- Minimum age of 18
- Background Check
- Drug Test
- English Comprehension for reading and writing
- Basic math skills
Community colleges and vocational schools and some universities offer classes for certification and sometimes hospitals and nursing homes provide classes. You can find a nursing aide certification program in your area on Caregiverlist, along with the costs and admissions requirements.
Tip: schools tell us there are many financial aide, grants and tuition reimbursement programs available as long as you plan ahead and apply early. As there is an ongoing need for senior caregivers with the aging population, sometimes employers also pay for the certification.
You may also take a Sample C.N.A. Test or complete a C.N.A. Practice Test to learn about the types of skills taught in these programs. After attending classes and performing work in a clinical setting, students must pass the state's nursing aide certification exam. Caregiverlist's practice test contains the certification exam questions.
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Caregivers interested in obtaining additional training in caring for seniors can obtain certification as a nursing aide or home health aide and attend customized training programs in hospice care and memory loss care.
Nursing Aide training involves learning hands-on care techniques, such as how to safely transfer someone from a bed to a walker or wheelchair and back to a chair or toilet. Nursing aide training also includes learning how to assist with all aspects of personal care including feeding, toileting, bathing and managing the emotional demands of caregiving. Nursing aide programs are available through local community colleges, community programs and some hospitals and nursing homes. You may find Certified Nursing Aide and Certified Home Health Aide programs in your area on Caregiverlist, along with their costs and admission requirements.
You may also purchase an online 10-hour caregiver training program for non-medical caregivers and receive a certificate of completion.
Many senior centers and associations for age-related illnesses, such as Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease provide seminars and mini-training programs for both professional caregivers and family caregivers.
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