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How to Become an Elderly Care Provider

elderly woman hands

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


October 18th, 2021

Did you know that the best elderly caregiver training programs aren’t necessarily the ones that provide you with a certification or a degree?

The US population of adults 65+ is expected to double from what it was in 2012, so there’s a huge need for in-home caregivers. There are already more jobs than caregivers, and the need is growing.

Are you wondering how to become an elderly care provider?

Do you need more information on senior care provider certifications?

Have you looked into in-home caregiver training classes?

Many people looking into a caregiving career ask, “Do you need a CNA license to be a caregiver?” or “What companion care certification do I need to care for the elderly?”

In this article, we’re sharing inside information about how to acquire caregiver training. You’ll learn about senior care worker qualifications and different work environments for caregivers.

Keep reading to get greater insight into home care training programs.


What Are Senior Care Worker Qualifications?

When it comes to qualifying for a career in caring for the elderly, there are two main parameters:

Let’s look at how these two elements play a role in becoming a senior caregiver.


Personal Fit

Being a caregiver is a rewarding but also challenging career, and not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver. The ideal elder care provider is someone who:

  • Wants flexible, nontraditional hours
  • Desires to work in a home context
  • Is motivated by human connection and compassion 
  • Enjoys interacting with the elderly 
  • Values excellent service 
  • Likes being part of a compassionate community/team

In addition, caregivers often possess certain qualities and character traits that help them on the job. Some of these characteristics include:

  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Patience

If you don’t possess all of these traits, that’s okay. Some of these qualities can be learned and developed over time.


Caregiver Training

A common question regarding becoming a caregiver is, “Do you need a CNA license to be a caregiver?”

The answer is, no. You don’t need a CNA license or another type of certification to get a job as a senior caregiver. These certifications can be useful for acquiring caregiver skills and making you stand out when applying to these jobs, but they’re not necessary.

Instead, there are certain caregiver training classes and programs that better prepare you for the role of a caregiver.

We’re hiring caregivers in Charlottesville, Richmond, Williamsburg, VA and Charleston, SC.

Apply Now


Caregiver Training Classes That Set People Up for Success

The best way to acquire caregiver training is through an in-home care company. In-home care companies provide care specifically to elderly adults, so they know what it takes to care for aging seniors.

However, not all home care training programs are created equal. Surveys of caregivers have found that the most beneficial elderly caregiver training programs involve the following three factors.


1. Online and In-person Training


Courses to take care of elderly adults should include online and in-person training opportunities.

The online portion is usually an 8-hour course that teaches you the skills needed to be a caregiver. However, instead of long pages of text or extensive videos, the online training provides engaging micro-learning content in the form of:

  • Videos
  • Flashcards
  • Games
  • Interactive activities

Once you finish the online training, you’ll perform various skills and walk through job-specific scenarios with trained eldercare professionals. They’ll offer you helpful feedback and tips to better prepare you for looking after elderly adults.


2. Hard and Soft Skills Training

Whereas CNA courses only teach practical skills, the best caregiver training classes teach both practical skills and hospitality skills. 

Training for practical skills include:

  • How to help someone with limited mobility
  • Basic first aid knowledge
  • Information about common medications
  • What is included in “light housework” and how to perform common household tasks

Hospitality skills, on the other hand, are softs skills that allow a caregiver to truly care for and treat each client with honor, respect, and compassion. 

Some of these hospitality skills include:

Home care training programs need to include these soft, hospitality skills as well as cover practical, hands-on topics. 


3. Ongoing Training and Support

Once you acquire initial caregiver training, you’ll need ongoing training and support.

For example, Commonwise Home Care provides their caregiver with “Level Up Days.” These days are unique times throughout the year that allows their caregivers to receive training in specific areas, like dementia care. And when caregivers complete this training, they also receive increased pay.

In addition, ongoing support from other trained eldercare professionals is necessary for you to succeed in your career. Some days are difficult and you’ll encounter situations you may not be prepared for. Support from others can help you overcome these challenges.


How to Become an Elderly Care Provider

There are several contexts in which to work with the elderly, each with its own pros and cons. 

Here are some of the main options for becoming an elderly care provider:


1. Advertise Yourself as an Independent Caregiver

One way to become a caregiver is to advertise your services directly on websites such as Indeed or Yelp. 

Some of the pros of this route include:

  • It’s more direct than going through a company
  • You can set your own pay rate and your own hours
  • You can keep all your earnings

However, there are also some cons:

  • You will be competing with many other caregivers who may be better qualified
  • No company assistance with finding/vetting clients, negotiating contracts, providing substitutes if you want a day off, etc.
  • No company protection such as insurance, advocacy, or providing an alternate client if the fit is not right, etc. 

Though it may be appealing to cut out the middleman, being an independent caregiver is a lot of work for one person, and includes a fair amount of risk.


2. Work in an Assisted Living Facility 

Another option is to get a job working in an assisted living facility

Some of the pros of this route include:

  • Easy onboarding process
  • No special qualification requirements
  • Team environment 

However, there are also some cons:

  • Low pay
  • Limited training
  • Poor ratio of staff to elderly people

Working in an assisted living facility is a straightforward way to work with the elderly, but the working environment may not be as empowering as in other eldercare contexts.


3. Work in a Hospital

You can also work with the elderly in a hospital or healthcare environment. 

Some of the pros of working in a medical facility include:

  • Furthering your medical career 
  • Providing you with specialized experience
  • Working with other medical professionals

As with all options, there are also some cons:

  • May require qualifications such as medical degrees/certifications/experience 
  • Limited interaction with the elderly 
  • Medical focus rather than general elder care

Working in a hospital may be a great fit for some people. However, if you’re seeking a career-focused specifically on the elderly, an in-home context might be more appealing. 


4. Work for a Private Home Care Company 

A final way to become an elderly care provider is to work for a private home care company as an in-home caregiver.

Working for a home care company has a lot of pros: 

  • Many companies are looking to hire 
  • No prerequisite experience/certifications needed 
  • Most companies provide in-house training 
  • In-home work environment 
  • One-on-one care for the elderly
  • The company provides administrative support and protection

Depending on the company you work for some cons to this route may include: 

  • Low pay
  • Working alone rather than with coworkers
  • Insufficient training

However, some companies highly value their caregivers by providing ongoing support, training, and livable wages. 


Caregiver University: One of the Best Elderly Caregiver Training Programs

When it comes to senior care worker qualifications, there are two main elements:

  • Possessing the right desires and traits of a caregiver
  • Receiving proper caregiver training

Once you’ve decided that you want to pursue caregiver training, you need to find good caregiver training classes. Three marks of good training include:

  • Online and in-person training
  • Hard and soft skills training
  • Ongoing training and support

After your training is complete, you can start working as a caregiver. A few of the most popular environments for eldercare workers are:

  • As an independent caregiver
  • In an assisted living facility
  • At a hospital or medical facility
  • Through an in-home care company

If you’re interested in working for one of the top home care companies in Virginia and South Carolina, Commonwise Home Care is the place to go.

Commonwise Home Care is a private home care company that prides itself on having the best caregivers in the industry. One way Commonwise invests in their staff is through their proprietary, in-house training program, Caregiver University. 

Caregiver University is unique from other home care training programs in a few ways:

  • Hospitality skills are included along with all the necessary practical skills
  • The course includes both an engaging online component and an in-person workshop where trainees can practice what they learned online
  • Ongoing training through “level up” days, through which caregivers can continue to build their skills and increase their pay

However, don’t just take our word for it. Here’s a testimonial from one of Commonwise’s caregivers:

“Before joining Commonwise, I was nervous because I had never provided care to someone in their home. The Caregiver University onboarding program was really helpful because it helped me fine-tune my personal care skills, but also prepared me for the other types of challenges that I faced when I started entering people’s homes.”
– Emily, Commonwise Caregiver

If you want to receive ongoing training, higher than average wages, and a work culture of excellence, then come to work at Commonwise Home Care—the best private elder care company in Virginia or South Carolina.

We’re hiring caregivers in Charlottesville, Richmond, Williamsburg, VA and Charleston, SC.

Apply Now