How to become

How To Become A Certified Caregiver

How To Become A Certified Caregiver


A caregiver is someone, typically over age 18, who provides care for another. It may be a person who is responsible for the direct care, protection, and supervision of children in a child care home, or someone who tends to the needs of the elderly or disabled. It is generally one who gives assistance to another person who is no longer able to perform the critical tasks of personal or household care necessary for everyday survival.

Caregivers are governed by federal and state laws, which vary by state. Various laws regulate eligibility and standards of conduct, such as abuse or neglect of a client or misappropriation of a client?s property.

When you find yourself in a position that requires you to constantly take care of someone in need, you are officially considered a caregiver. Many caregivers work as independent contractors for local clients who have an elderly parent or ill spouse to tend to. Other caregivers work as employees of caregiving agencies. Earning a caregiver certification establishes you as an expert in the field. Some agencies, such as nursing homes and assisted living communities, require caregiver certification as a condition for employment.

Caring for a loved one can be difficult, and there’s no one way to go about it. Some seniors require around-the-clock assistance while others simply need help with a few daily tasks. Your aging loved one’s unique lifestyle and care needs will determine how you decide to care for them.

One thing you may not have considered is whether you should become a state-certified caregiver. There are pros and cons when it comes to becoming a state-certified caregiver. Read on to learn more about the potential benefits and drawbacks of the certification process to decide whether this route could be helpful for you and your loved one.

What is Caregiving? What do Caregivers Do?

If you are not familiar with the caregiving field, an in-home caregiver is simply someone who assists someone in their home with daily tasks. Caregivers are trained individuals that are capable of supporting an elderly individual or an individual with developmental disabilities. When hired to be someone’s caregiver, that person is entrusted with their well-being and happiness. A caregiver acts as the main line of defense against their client and getting injured, maintaining their health and keeping them comfortable and safe, as well as giving peace of mind to the family members that may have hired the caregiver.

Caregivers can provide a wide range of services to their clients, all of which registered nurses or nursing students are capable of executing with their nursing education and the information that they have been taught through their nursing program. Such services include personal care, medication reminders and meal preparation/nutrition. Other services that caregivers provide their clients include light housekeeping and companionship. Although these services may not directly correlate to nursing and nurse practitioners, they can teach those going through nursing school how to interact with patients in need and how to handle all types of situations.

It is also important to note that a caregiver can care for an elderly individual or a child or adult with developmental disabilities. Since there are two different types of clients, the overall experience and day to day tasks that a caregiver executes will be different. When caring for an elderly individual, a caregiver may focus more on preventing falls and ensuring that they are getting the proper care to maintain their health and well-being. On the other hand, if a caregiver is working with a child or adult with developmental disabilities, they will be working closely with their client to tailor services that benefit them depending on their disabilities and their needs that stem directly from their diagnosis. For example, a caregiver that works with an elderly individual that has Alzheimer’s will have a much different set of daily tasks than a caregiver that is working with a child with Autism. If you are interested in becoming a caregiver while pursuing your nursing degree or while working as a nurse, it is important to ask the home care agency which type of client they serve.

Four Types Of Caregivers

In general, there are four types of caregivers: Home Health Care, Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Homes, and Adult Daycare Centers. 

  1. Home Health Care

Receiving care in the home is perhaps the most flexible of all options. Caregivers who come into the home can provide services that range from stand-by oversight for a few hours a week to round-the-clock care. When you engage a home health care agency, they will supply caregivers with the appropriate skills during the time that you request. Before you plan for services with a home care agency, you should get an assessment of your loved one’s care needs. Sometimes the agency can arrange this assessment, and it should be performed by a registered nurse.

Generally, most agencies want visits to last for at least 3-4 hours, and some have weekly minimums as well. If you request a caregiver in the home 24-hours a day, the agency will usually split the time into two 12-hour shifts. Unique state labor laws also factor into staffing for full-time caregivers. Some agencies will provide “live-in” caregivers, but there are requirements as to where and when they are allowed to sleep and how much free time they have.

An alternative to working with a home health care agency is to hire an independent caregiver directly. Because they work for themselves, you pay them directly.

Home health caregivers can range in skill level from untrained companions to homemakers, to skilled nurses. Many have completed programs to be Certified Nursing Assistants or Certified Home Health Aides, meaning they are trained to handle health issues such as mobility, nutrition, toileting, hygiene, and behavior. These certifications may not mean that they are able to provide nursing care such as medication administration, injections, or wound care.

  1. Assisted Living Facilities

There is no standard model for assisted living residences. They vary in size, appearance, and types of services they provide. Assisted living facilities are a popular choice because they tend to have a variety of social programs and offer a community setting where residents can live relatively active lives. On a visit, you might find an exercise room, a pool, hair salons, and a community garden. Residents can take part in group sessions and social activities throughout the day and some type of religious worship service during the week.

Although residents may receive periodic nursing care in the facility as needed, this care is not provided on a continual basis. For instance, the staff may administer medications (take it from the container and give it to the resident) but most residents are expected to take their medications with assistance that is limited to reminders and/or set-up in special dispensers. The staff is really there to help residents who need some assistance during the day but not continuously. In fact, many facilities won’t accept a resident who is bedbound most of the time or cannot move about on their own without a continual risk of falling.

Special accommodations can be important in choosing a caregiving environment. Some facilities feature special units designed to care for residents with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, throughout declining stages of disability. Some facilities have separate sections for residents who have higher levels of disability. But other facilities feel that it is best to keep all residents socializing together. This can be an important factor in choosing the facility best for your loved one.

For the more independent resident, you may want a unit with a small kitchen, or one that allows pets. You are typically expected to bring your own furniture, and almost all facilities have a dining room that serves meals three times a day.

  1. Nursing Homes

There are generally two types of care available in a nursing home: short-term rehabilitative care and long-term care for chronic conditions. Patients receiving rehabilitative care, most often due to an acute illness or surgery, may continue staying at the facility as a long-term care patient if they do not recover the ability to live in their previous environment. Usually, the long-term care units are in a separate area of the facility and the patient will have to change rooms.

In addition to rehabilitative therapies, most nursing homes are staffed to provide for daily medical needs and to accommodate patients who are bedbound or who require significant assistance with some or all activities of daily living. If a patient experiences an acute illness or trauma the nursing home will contact local emergency services for treatment or hospitalization.

While medications can be administered at all levels of assistance, most nursing homes require that prescriptions and refills be filled by the nursing home staff, usually from a pharmacy of the nursing home’s choosing. Nursing homes can usually accommodate patients with mild to severe dementia but if a resident displays combative behavior, they may be discharged to another facility with a special unit for these patients.

Nursing homes, in addition to providing medical assistance and personal care, will often support social and community activities. Staff and recreational assistants are usually available to help those with physical or mental disabilities participate.

In a nursing home, you might have a choice between a private room or a semi-private room. Rooms may have a private bathroom or the bathroom may be shared by two rooms. Meals are provided three times a day in a community setting or delivered to the patient’s room if required.

  1. Adult Daycare Centers

Adult daycare centers provide programs for adults in a community-based group setting. These programs are generally planned to provide a variety of health, social and related support services in a protective setting during part of the day to adults who need supervised care outside the home. Adult daycare facilities and adult daycare centers are available in many cities and towns. They can operate on a nonprofit or public basis and can be affiliated with multi-service entities such as home care, assisted living, nursing facilities, and hospitals, religious and other non-profit organizations. The most appropriate choice for you will depend on your loved one’s care needs and their ability to participate in social programs.

You might consider an Adult Day Care Center when your loved one is unsafe when left alone, seems unable to manage daily activities, and has extended daily periods of isolation

How Does One Become a Certified Caregiver?

Training requirements to become a nursing assistant, care provider, or certified caregiver varies from state to state. The average state-mandated training hours for certified caregivers is approximately 75 hours. Some states mandate more hours and others less, and regulations vary depending on where you live. Research the right requirements before enrolling as a student in any caregiver class. A high-school diploma/GED and CPR certification are usually required.

CNA training lasts an average of 4 to 12+ weeks broken down into classroom and clinical hours per state regulations. After completing a state-approved CNA program, most states require students to pass a state-given written or oral test, with successful completion of required hands-on skills demonstrations, to meet state certification exam and license requirements. After that, they will usually start off in easier positions as a personal care assistant, and some medical environments even offer training programs for their staff.

CNAs are required to complete continuing education credits needed every 1 to 2 years to keep certification status active. Therefore, most facilities that hire CNAs will provide these continuing education credit hours on the job.

Each CNA must also pass a criminal background check, drug test, and physical exam.

What does a caregiver do?

While your senior caregiving duties may vary each day, some basic tasks remain the same when caring for an aging parent or senior loved one.

In taking on the role of caregiver for an elderly loved one, you can expect to:

1. Assess medical needs

Checking on your senior loved one’s health is an important caregiver responsibility. You may need to help assess pain levels, schedule medical appointments, or manage medications and chronic conditions. It’s a good idea to discuss your loved one’s health with their doctor and other health professionals regularly.

2. Prepare a care plan

Preparing a care plan that addresses your senior loved one’s care needs and goals can be helpful when you begin your caregiving journey. A plan can help you determine how many daily hours of care your loved one will require and whether you need additional help to ensure their health and safety.

3. Assist with basic needs

Memory and mobility issues can make activities of daily living (ADLs) — such as eating, bathing, grooming, and toileting — difficult to perform without a caregiver. Check in often and pay attention to specific signs and changes to determine if your loved one needs extra help.

4. Provide companionship

One of the most essential but sometimes overlooked parts of senior caregiving is companionship. Feelings of loneliness in older adults can lead to serious health consequences, including depression. When you care for an aging loved one, you’re creating opportunities to strengthen your bond and connection.

5. Help with housekeeping

As your loved one ages, maintaining a home can become increasingly difficult. Older adults may need help with vacuuming, doing the dishes, or taking out the garbage. If your loved one lives in a house, yard work like snow shoveling and daily maintenance may be too much for them to handle — even with your help. Consider whether your loved one would benefit from the convenience and support of a senior living community.

6. Monitor medications

Older adults often take several prescription medications to treat chronic conditions. Your loved one may need help keeping track of their medication list, understanding drug interactions, and taking prescribed dosages at the right time. You can help lower your loved one’s risk of medication mix-ups and associated health problems by monitoring their medications and creating reminder systems.

7. Assess your care plan regularly

As circumstances surrounding you and your loved one inevitably change, the care plan will need to be adjusted. Review your caregiver duties list regularly to determine what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to be adapted. Keep in close contact with your loved one’s doctor and other health professionals to discuss any changes.

8. Prepare meals

Food preparation can become increasingly difficult with age. If your loved one lives alone, they may lack the energy or motivation to cook. In some cases, memory and balance issues may make cooking unsafe. As a caregiver, you can help with shopping for groceries, preparing meals, or finding alternatives to make sure your loved one gets proper nutrition.

9. Assist with transfer and mobility

Falls are a major risk to the health of older adults. Your loved one may have difficulty moving or transferring — from their bed in the morning to a chair in the afternoon, for instance. As a caregiver, you can take steps to help prevent falls and help your loved one stay safe and comfortable.

10. Provide transportation

As your loved one ages, public transportation or driving may no longer be safe options. You might need to look for senior transportation alternatives to get your loved one to doctor’s appointments and other activities.

If you feel like you need more help caring for your aging loved one or think they’d benefit from a senior living community, contact one of A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors today to learn more about what you can do to help your loved one receive the care they deserve.

Caregiver Certification: A Guide

Further training can pave the way for career opportunities in more specialized fields, like hospice or palliative care, dementia care, 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:

  • Run errands
  • Enhance quality of life
  • Provide companionship
  • Plan and prepare meals
  • Support physical and cognitive conditions
  • Remind about and administer medications
  • Help with personal care and other activities of daily living (ADLs)

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list. Your responsibilities as a caregiver will vary depending on the elder and their family. 

But just as your duties differ, so do qualifications. The elder’s needs, state, and other factors decide which requirements you need. These also include whether you need to enroll in a specific type of caregiver certification course. However, the general requirements to become a caregiver involve the ability to:

  • Work well in different living situations and locations
  • Communicate with elders in a kind, respectful, and professional way
  • Support and care for seniors and their homes with respect and dignity

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 shows 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 you passed a certification test demonstrating your knowledge.

In the same vein, certification is a sign of continued education. Under federal law, certified caregivers must participate in continuing education to renew their certification.

How To Become A Certified Caregiver

You can find the basic qualifications for becoming a caregiver in your state or region online. Check out national agencies like the Better Business Bureau or local, state, and federal websites.

Caregiver Certification Step-By-Step

1. Find a caregiver training program approved by your state health department.

Many states offer caregiver resource centers. These can help you find reputable courses, which are often provided at:

  • Local universities
  • Vocational schools
  • The Red Cross and other agencies
  • Local and national organizations for caregivers

You can also find caregiver certification courses from national organizations 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 range of topics, including:

  • Home safety
  • Medical care
  • Housekeeping
  • Personal hygiene

Of course, program length varies based on the course and the provider.

3. Pass the certification exam.

You will take a final exam to earn your certification at the end of your course. The training organization will present you with your certificate when you pass.

How Caregiver Training Requirements Vary by State

Licensed senior home care agencies provide “private-duty” senior care services given by certified caregivers. Caregivers may be trained as Companion Caregivers, Home Health Aides or Certified Nursing Aides.

Caregiver training requirements for each state are shown below. Purchase an 8-hour or 10-hour online Certified Caregiver Training course meeting the standards recommended by the Professional Association of Caregivers. State training topics for certification may be viewed on each state’s page, showing the specific topics that are covered in the online certification course.

Learn how caregiver certification varies in each state and click to see your state’s initial training, renewal training, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia training and hours and topics. Read below this chart to understand how states create caregiver certification requirements, why state certification hours and topics vary and how you may become a certified caregiver and renew your certification annually, including becoming certified to care for those with long-term care insurance.

StateTraining HoursHome Care LicensingNon-Medical TrainingAdditional
Alabama8No licensing requirementsNo training hours required
Alaska8No licensing requirements (only business license required)Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification CourseCPR, First Aid Training, and TB tests are required.
Arizona8Licensure for Home Care Agencies Requires Basic Caregiver Training. DCW Caregivers for Medicaid (ALTECS) Must Have 6 Hours of TrainingProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Arkansas8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
California105 Hours Training Prior to Presence with a Client + 5 Hours Annual TrainingCaregiverlist Basic California Training Meets 10 Hour Requirement
Colorado8Personal Care8 Hours
Connecticut8Personal Care – Home care agencies not licensed under Dept. of Health but “registered” under Dept. of Consumer Protection, which requires background checks, basic training.Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification CourseBackground check required.
Delaware8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
District of Columbia8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Florida8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Georgia8Companion/Homemaker, Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Hawaii8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Idaho8No training required
Illinois8Home Services8 hours
Indiana8Companion/Homemaker, Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Iowa8No license requiredProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification CourseHome care agencies provide training.
Kansas8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification CourseHome care agencies provide training.
Kentucky8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Louisiana12Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification CourseHome care agencies provide training. training details
Maine8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification CourseHome care agencies provide training.
Maryland8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Massachusetts8Special Business LicenseProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Michigan8No licensing requiredProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Minnesota8Special Business License, Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Mississippi8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Missouri8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Montana8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Nebraska8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course16 of the 75 hours must be supervised training
Nevada8Companion/Homemaker, Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course Covering 16 SubjectsNo specified number of required training hours, but training in 16 subjects is required by the state.
New Hampshire8Companion/Homemaker, Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification CourseHome care agencies provide training.
New Jersey12Companion/Homemaker, Personal Care76 hours
New Mexico8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
New York8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
North Carolina8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
North Dakota8No training required
Ohio8No training required
Oklahoma8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Oregon8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Pennsylvania8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification CourseMust be completed within first 3 months of employment
Rhode Island8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course20 hours in classroom; 5 hours practical
South Carolina8Established – postponed drafting specifics until OctoberProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
South Dakota8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Tennessee8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Texas8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Utah8Companion/Homemaker, Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Vermont8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification CourseCaregivers must pass a state test as well as a background check and drug test.
Virginia8Personal CareProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Washington12Companion/Homemaker, Personal Care75 hours before a caregiver can be staffed by a licensed agency.85 hours to become a CNA
West Virginia8No licensing requirementsProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Wisconsin8No licensing requirements for personal careProfessional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course
Wyoming8Professional Association of Caregivers Recommends 8 hour Certification Course


Are Caregivers Required to Take Annual Renewal Training?

States require renewal training each year in order to maintain certification as a caregiver. As senior caregivers will experience care needs for many different age-related diseases and conditions, the ongoing training allows caregivers to expand their knowledge as caregivers for Parkinsons’ disease and all the various types of dementia. Renewal caregiver certification may be taken online each year. Caregivers are able to keep all of their previous training certifications in their online caregiver profile.

How do Caregivers Receive their Online Caregiver Certificates?

Certificates are available for caregivers in wall-size or wallet-size. Caregivers may also upload their photos onto their certificates after they have finished their course and passed the exam. Caregivers may also take the exam again if they would like to be given a new set of questions and try for a higher score. The recognition of certification assists in growing a career in the senior care industry.

Online caregiver certification delivers the benefit of being able to take the training from anywhere at any time. Caregiverlist has led the way in online caregiver training, and allows caregivers to keep all of their training certificates in one place and return each year for renewal training. Senior care companies nationwide turn to Caregiverlist to train their caregivers, consistently confirming the Caregiver Training University learning management system as the easiest for caregivers to use and the best online caregiver training on the market. Caregivers enjoy the recognition they receive and knowing the training has been created just for in-home caregivers by experienced senior care professionals. Training updates happen continuously, keeping up with new developments and techniques in senior care and, of course, new viruses. The in-the-cloud training platform delivers an enjoyable experience for caregivers with modern interactive content.

Insider Tips for Getting Good Caregiver Jobs

There are tips for finding good care provider jobs used by insiders in the healthcare profession. These include:

  • Getting a professional resume that impresses bosses
  • Asking other caregivers for advice
  • Getting advanced training to land more lucrative jobs
  • Improving job interview skills
  • Prove consistent reliability traits
  • Obtain character and past job or training recommendations with contact information

Many nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare providers welcome volunteers. This is an excellent opportunity to test out the job field and connect to the local healthcare community. If someone you know requires nursing interventions , earning a caregiver certification is within your reach. You can become a professional caregiver at any age.

FAQs, about certified caregiver

What are the requirements to be a caregiver in arizona?

18 years old, certified in CPR and first aid, and certified as an assisted living caregiver pass the Department of Public Safety’s background check for fingerprints.

How do I become a certified caregiver in Virginia ? 

Must complete a 40-hour curriculum that has been approved by the state or a 75-hour HHA programme with 12 hours of annual CE.

Do you need a license to be a caregiver in Florida?

Home health cares are not required to be licensed or certified by state law in Florida.

How do I get a caregiver license in illinois?

In-home carers are not eligible for a license. Simply finish the certification that verifies you have complied with the AUAF and fundamental Illinois criteria.

Certified caregiver online

Enrolling in online programmes that offer caregiving training.

How to become a caregiver for a family member?

Examine your finances, Speak with the patient’s physician, Recognize their health advantages, learn how to assist properly, complete the necessary forms, Mentally psych yourself up

How long does it take to become a certified caregiver?

A State certification exam and 75 hours of basic training are requirements for a certified caregiver.

How to become a certified caregiver in california?

Require five hours of initial training and five hours of yearly training in particular themes.

How to become a certified caregiver in texas?

Fill out the licensing application, computer-based training, and pre-survey. Register with the State Comptroller of Public Accounts and pay the license fee.

How to become a caregiver?

The state health department-approved caregiver training programme must be completed, and the certification exam must be passed.