Are you considering becoming a caregiver? Or do you already have several years of experience? In either case, caregiver certification is a crucial step in improving the degree of care you offer.
Further training can also pave the way for career opportunities in more specialized fields, like hospice or palliative care, working with an elder with dementia, and more.
If you’re passionate about a career as a professional, qualified senior care provider, caregiver certification will put you leagues ahead of everyone else.
So if you’re interested in knowing more about caregiver certification, keep reading. We’ll look at the basics, including essential qualifications, common questions, how to get certified, and more.
Caregiving As A Career
Of course, not everyone hears the call to become a caregiver. It takes a special person who is willing to improve the wellbeing of the person they care for while promoting dignity and independence.
There are several different types of caregivers. Although some perform more generalized care, others are more specialized. Generally speaking, caregivers are expected to:
- Provide companionship
- Plan and prepare meals
- Assist with basic housekeeping
- Remind about administer medications
- Run errands
- Help with personal care and other activities of daily living (ADLs)
- Offer support for physical and cognitive conditions
- Enhance the elder’s quality of life
Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list. Your responsibilities as a caregiver can vary depending on the elder and their family.
But just as the tasks you provide can vary, so can the qualifications. The elder’s needs, the state where you live, and many other factors determine the requirements you must have. These also include whether you need to enroll in a caregiver certification course.
However, the general requirements to become a caregiver include having the ability to:
- Support and care for seniors and their homes with respect and dignity
- Work well in different living situations and locations
- Communicate with elders in a kindly, respectful, and professional way
Additionally, you must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Why Is Caregiver Certification Important?
Caregiver certification is important because it demonstrates that you have the training and expertise to provide a higher level of care. In addition, it shows that you not only completed training but that you passed a certification test verifying your knowledge afterward.
Certification is also a sign of ongoing education. Moreover, federal law requires that certified caregivers renew their certification after a specific time by participating in continuing education programs.
Is Caregiver Certification Required?
When you become a certified caregiver, you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Furthermore, some organizations, like nursing homes or assisting living facilities, require that their caregivers are certified.
However, those who assist with ADLs, provide companionship, or help with other basic tasks don’t always need caregiver certification.
Typically, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Home Health Aides (HHAs), and other professionals that offer medical support need to be licensed.
Additionally, certification is necessary for services that are entitled to Medicare payments. Federal law requires that Medicare-certified caregiving agencies hire certified caregivers for services that are eligible for Medicare.
The types of caregivers that do not need certification include:
- Personal care attendants
- Home care aides
Certification is not required for these caregivers because their services are limited to things that someone could perform without medical knowledge, such as:
- Light housekeeping
- Meal preparation
Since they aren’t allowed to offer medical treatment, these groups do not need caregiver certification.
How To Get Caregiver Certification
Before you begin, visit websites from national agencies such as the Better Business Bureau and local, state, or federal organizations. Here, you can find the basic qualifications for becoming a caregiver in your state or region.
Additionally, you can search for caregiver requirements in your state or find other lists online, such as In the Know’s state requirements list.
How To Become A Certified Caregiver
1. Find a caregiver training program approved by your state health department.
Many states offer caregiver resource centers that can help you find a reputable course. In most instances, you can find these programs offered at:
- Local universities
- Vocational schools
- The Red Cross or other agencies
- Local and national organizations for caregivers
Several organizations in the US offer caregiver certification courses, such as:
- National Association for Home Care and Hospice
- Family Caregiver Alliance
- National Family Caregivers Association
2. Complete a caregiver training program.
Throughout the course, you will learn about a wide range of topics, such as:
- Home safety
- Personal hygiene
- Medical care
The length of the program varies based on the course and the provider. Additionally, some certification classes may not cost, but others might.
3. Pass the certification exam
At the end of your course, you will have to take an assessment to earn your certification. Once you pass it, the organization that conducted the training will present you with a certificate.
Caregiver Training Requirements Differ By State
Understanding both state and federal requirements ensures you have the proper credentials. As we mentioned, caregiver certification varies from state to state.
Below are the requirements for Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Additionally, you can see course recommendations from the Professional Association of Caregivers.
- Home Care Licensing: Special Business License
- Non-Medical Traning: 8-hour Certification Course
- Home Care Licensing: Personal Care
- Non-medial training: 8-hour Certification Course
- Additional: 20 hours in the classroom; 5 hours practical
The Connecticut Department of Health does not license home care agencies. Instead, they register with the Department of Consumer Protection. This agency requires caregivers to pass a background check and undergo basic training.
- Home Care Licensing: Personal Care
- Non-med training: 8-hour Certification Course
- Additional: Must pass a background check
Visit Caregiverlist.com to find a complete chart of each state’s caregiving training requirements.
Affordable Caregiver Certification
The cost of caregiver certification courses differs. Some are free, such as borrowing library books about aging, health, and offering care. Others are low-cost, like online classes. But sometimes, in-person courses and other programs can be expensive (though not always).
Nevertheless, your continued education shouldn’t have a high price. So with this in mind, consider becoming a member of a support group or caregiver alliance. These organizations can help locate affordable training opportunities to advance your career.
The Caregiver Action Network and the Family Caregiver Alliance are two places where you can find resources such as physical and digital support groups.
But regardless of the program you choose, it must be accredited and legitimate. Make sure home care agencies and families recognize the organization or course. If you’re uncertain, contact a local caregiving agency and ask if they’ve heard of it.
Also, read former students’ reviews because it helps you vet the course and determine its authenticity. Plus, it tells you about others’ experiences with the program so you know what to expect.
Caregiver certification is essential for many reasons. First, it shows that you are an expert. And secondly, it improves the level of care you provide.
Are you looking for a caregiver to assist yourself or a loved one? If so, we can help. Our qualified in-home care workers are ready to meet all your senior care needs.
So call us at 1-888-541-1136 or contact us online to learn more about our services.
For more resources about caregiving and senior lifestyle, visit the Blog.
- Care.com. “6 Types Of Senior Care Certifications And Trainings That Will Improve Your Career.” Care.com, Care.com, 11 Aug. 2020, www.care.com/c/stories/5405/senior-care-certifications/.
- “Caregiver Training Requirements By State.” CaregiverList, www.caregiverlist.com/Caregiver-Training-Requirements-By-State.aspx.
- Imani, Faizah. “How to Get Certified As a Caregiver.” Work, 9 Nov. 2016, work.chron.com/certified-caregiver-11773.html.
- Witt, Scott. “Caregiver Certification & License Questions: How To Hire a Caregiver.” Edited by Jeff Hoyt, SeniorLiving.org, 16 Aug. 2018, www.seniorliving.org/caregiving/credentials/.