Caregiving jobs are among the fastest-growing occupations, and as the elderly population increases, the occupational outlook for caregivers will continue to grow. In addition to new job openings, there is high turnover in home health care occupations, meaning the need for those curious about the field is high.
Employment of home health and personal care aides is projected to grow 34% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average growth rate of 4% for all occupations. The job outlook for nursing assistants and nurses is also strong, with projected increases of 8% for nursing assistants, 9% for licensed practical nurses (LPN), and 7% for registered nurses (RN).
There are many different roles for those interested in working as a caregiver. For some positions, you will need a college degree and certification. For others, the educational requirements are minimal, short-term training programs are available, and on-the-job training is provided.
Through this guide, you’ll learn about job options, responsibilities, training requirements, and advice on how to get hired for a caregiver role.
Types of Caregiver Jobs
Entry-level caregiver jobs provide health care and personal assistance to clients, no matter their age. More advanced positions monitor patients with medical issues and provide health care services. Learn about some of the most common caregiver jobs, below.
- Certified nursing assistant (CNA): Provides basic health care and assistance to patients.
- Companion/homemaker: Provides housekeeping services, meal preparation, and companionship.
- Elder caregiver: Focuses on providing care for strictly elderly patients.
- Home health aide (HHA): Monitors clients with disabilities or illnesses and helps them with daily living activities.
- Hospice caregiver: Provides care to patients with a terminal illness.
- Licensed practical nurse (LPN): Monitors the health of patients and provides basic medical care.
- Personal care aide/assistant: This role is similar to that of an HHA. The caregiver helps with activities such as bathing, grooming, meals, and household tasks.
- Registered nurse (RN): Coordinates and provides care, advice, and emotional support to patients and their families. Nurses often supervise aides and assistants.
Some caregivers specialize in a specific type of caregiving, such as elder care, respite care, or personal care.
Caregiver Job Responsibilities
The role of a caregiver depends on the position. For basic care jobs, such as home health aide or personal care assistant, you will be responsible for helping clients with maintaining daily basic living activities, including bathing, dressing, grooming, meal preparation, transportation, shopping, and housekeeping.
In addition to providing personal care, some caregiving occupations monitor and provide medical care. For example, nursing assistants measure patients’ vital signs and may dispense medication. If you are interested in a role that requires medical care of patients, you must be able to administer medications and treatment, monitor and operate medical equipment, maintain health records, and teach families and patients how to manage illnesses and injuries.
In addition to providing medical care, some registered nurses are hired to supervise licensed practical nurses, home health aides, and nursing assistants.
What You Need To Get Hired
To enter the workforce as a caregiver, there are a few requirements you must meet.
Education & Experience
Home health and personal care aides typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the industry. However, not all positions require it. For entry-level caregiver roles, experience may not be required and on-the-job training may be provided by health care facilities.
Caregivers working in a certified home health or health care facility must complete formal training and pass a standardized test, ensuring they know how to respond in an emergency. When it comes to certification and licensing, the rules depend on the state an employee is working in.
Licensed practical nurses must complete a state-approved educational program and are required to be licensed. Registered nurses are also required to be licensed and typically have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program.
Training & Certification
Depending on the role you are interested in, you may need training in basic or advanced health care. For some positions, certification may be a requirement. CareerOneStop has resources you can use to find training programs and certification requirements for your occupation. Both the Training Finder and the Certification Finder can help you find tools to increase your skill set.
If a health care company offers on-the-job training programs, the details should be listed in the job posting. If it’s not, check the organization’s website for details.
Top Skills Caregivers Need
In addition to the basic skills listed earlier, it’s important for caregivers to have a service orientation and a desire to help people. Active listening skills are essential, as caregivers must be able to understand a patient's concerns and respond appropriately.
Strong interpersonal skills are necessary for communicating with clients, families, and other health care workers, too. If you are unable to take corrective action when possible and relay concerns of a patient to their supervisor, caregiving may not be for you.
Additional Tips for Getting Hired
To really stand out among the competition, consider the following:
- Decide what type of caregiving job you’re interested in before navigating the market.
- Before applying, try to get the training you need to get hired.
- Explore options for potential certification to boost your earnings.
- Use a variety of job sites and resources to find positions that are a good match.
- The more flexible your schedule is, the more opportunities you will have to choose from.
Employment Options for Caregivers
One of the benefits of working as a caregiver is that you will have many different work environments to choose from, including private homes, health care facilities, adult day care facilities, hospices, retirement and assisted living communities, and elder care facilities.
Direct care workers who provide services in someone’s home can have various types of employment. An individual may be self-employed, an employee of a staffing agency or community service agency, or even a household employee covered by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines.
How To Find a Caregiver Job
When looking for a caregiver job, there are various places to start. One method is to simply Google search and see what jobs there are in your designated area. There are many other ways to find caregiver jobs, too, including:
- Apply direct: Many health care facilities post job listings on their websites. Check the career section of local organizations to find current openings and on-the-job training programs.
- Search the top job sites: Use keywords, such as caregiver, CNA, HHA, etc., for the type of job you are interested in when searching on a job site, like Glassdoor. Be sure to also narrow down your location to find the most relevant listings on the best job sites.
- Use CareerOneStop’s Job Finder: Search the Job Finder for jobs by job title, location, and company to get a list of open positions. You can also review job listings for related occupations.
- Work with a staffing agency: Many in-home caregiving positions, as well as some hospital and health care facility jobs, are filled through agencies. Search Google for “health care staffing agencies near me” or “health care agency” to find agencies to work with.
If you are interested in working directly with one family, post a profile on Care.com. This way you can receive direct inquiries from patients and families seeking a caregiver.