If you are thinking about becoming an in-home caregiver, you will be entering one of the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects continued growth for certified nursing assistants and personal care aides (no certification required) over the next several years. A rapidly aging population combined with a heightened desire to age in place has created the “perfect storm” for employment opportunities within home care. If becoming a professional caregiver interests you, this handy roadmap could be your pathway to success. 

What is a Caregiver?

A caregiver is someone who offers support to the aged or those with disabilities or special needs. Caregiving responsibilities may include companionship, daily care, homemaking, meals, personal care, and even medical assistance (home health care aide). These various caregiver demands require different training levels depending on your chosen role.

Caregivers Work in Different Settings

While serving in various capacities within the healthcare system, you may see paid caregivers working in private homes, rehab facilities, assisted living communities, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals.

The reasons why someone would want to become a caregiver are as varied as the individuals themselves. Since the job market is robust for caregivers, finding the right job in the community you want should be relatively easy once you are ready.

Qualities of a Good Caregiver

Becoming a professional caregiver requires specific skills, passion, and a commitment to serving clients on good days and bad.

In general, qualities of a good caregiver include:

  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Flexibility
  • Time management
  • Focus
  • Patience
  • Assertiveness
  • Communication skills

Caregivers must also be physically fit and in good health because of all the client lifting and transporting that they may be asked to do.

How to Get Started as a Caregiver

If you are passionate about making a difference in the lives of others, a career in-home care may be your true calling. Here’s how to get started in five easy steps:

Clarify your motivations

Revisit your motivation for wanting to be a professional caregiver while anticipating any challenges you might have once you get started with your first client. Be honest with yourself about whether you possess the traits and interests necessary to perform the essential job duties day after day while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Do your research

Speaking to other professionals in the caregiving industry will provide you with different perspectives about the occupation. During this information-gathering phase, be sure to research work