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Getting Started as a Professional In-Home Caregiver: What You Need to Know

If you’re considering helping the senior population as your next career move, you may have seen a few different job titles being used interchangeably. Companion aide, home care aide, and in-home caregiver are different ways to say that you provide non-medical in-home care. This means there are restrictions to the type of care you can provide, but it also means that less training is required. 

For those who enjoy helping others but don’t have medical training, becoming a professional caregiver can be a great option. You can make a big impact on the life of a senior even if you don’t have formal caregiving experience. You can also can get started within weeks or even days of being hired. At Sequoia Senior Solutions, we provide all the training needed to get started in this rewarding career. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting hired, what happens before you start work, and additional training opportunities once you’re on the job.

Getting hired

Just like any job, the first step is to fill out the application! You don’t necessarily need to have formal caregiving experience to be called in for an interview. If you’ve cared for family members or loved ones in the past in an informal capacity, be sure to include that on your application. It’s more important that you have a desire for helping others and that you’re a compassionate and patient person. Here are a few other requirements:

  • Proficient in speaking, reading, and writing in English
  • A clean driving record (you will likely be asked to do incidental transportation for clients)

Once you’ve completed the interview process, there are a few more things that we check out before you can officially start care:

  • A nationwide FBI criminal history
  • Reference checks (14 personal and professional references required)
  • A background check through the Caregiver Background Check Bureau (a division of the California Department of Social Services)
  • A DMV driving record check
  • Drug testing

Lastly, each caregiver must be registered and cleared as a Home Care Aide with the California Department of Social Services’ Home Care Services Bureau. 

Initial training & orientation

Prior to starting work, you’ll attend a day-long orientation and internal training session, followed by several hours of training required by the state. This state-mandated training includes courses on ADLs and IADLs (activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living), elder abuse prevention, patient’s rights and safety, body mechanics, and transportation safety. This training is repeated each year to ensure you stay current on this important information. 

There may also be additional on-the-job training depending on the needs of your client. For example, some clients have specific assistive devices that you may not be familiar with. Your care manager will provide any training you need to get started with your client and will be your go-to resource for any questions you may have as you provide care.

Additional training, education, and certification opportunities 

The learning doesn’t stop with this initial training. We encourage and incentivize continuing education (with pay raises & bonuses!), so you feel empowered to grow your knowledge base to better meet the needs of clients. You have the opportunity to become a specialist in certain conditions by taking the trainings assigned for our Specialty Programs: 

  • Arthritis
  • Dementia/Alzheimer’s
  • Diabetes
  • Fall Prevention
  • Hospice
  • Orthopedic Recovery
  • Parkinson’s
  • Stroke

All our courses are created and reviewed by Registered Nurses and accredited by the state through the California Department of Public Health. These programs are optional – you can take none of them or all of them! But for every program you complete you’ll be given a raise and be better equipped to help a wider range of clients. These courses are online, and you can take them at your own pace. In fact, you could complete them all within a few weeks of starting work.

Beyond this additional training within Sequoia Senior Solutions, many caregivers choose to pursue outside education and certification programs. You may want to get additional training through a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) program or become a home health aide. (Learn more about the differences in non-medical and medical home care in this recent blog post).

Both of these certifications will give you a deeper understanding of the health issues that commonly affect seniors. Another option is to continue your training in a specific area, such as hospice. Some of our caregivers are working toward becoming a hospice doula. Whichever path you choose, know that we are here to support you! 

Conclusion:

As a professional caregiver, you can make a difference in the life of a senior without having years of training. Many in-home care agencies are willing to train the right people if you can meet a few requirements. At Sequoia Senior Solutions, we pride ourselves on our caregiver training and development programs. We want to make sure you feel confident to give the best care possible to your clients, and that you feel supported and empowered in your work. 

And, if you are interested in an administrative career path, we hire from within. Many of our caregivers have gone on to higher positions in the company like care manager, scheduler, and even an executive! 

If you’re ready to learn more about becoming a caregiver with Sequoia Senior Solutions, visit our “Becoming a Caregiver” section and fill out our interest form today. You can also read more about professional caregiving in our recent blog posts: 

Top 10 Reasons to Become a Professional Caregiver

7 Traits of Successful (and happy!) Professional Caregivers

5 Things To Look For in a Great Professional Caregiving Job

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