Commonwise has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure we exceed Covid safety standards for our clients and caregivers.
Learn more here about our Covid response and protocols. With Commonwise, home remains the safest place for older adults receiving care.

Respite Care Worker Qualifications

respite care provider holding elderly man's arm with tennis ball

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


January 3, 2020

Considering a rewarding career as a respite care provider?

Searching online for “respite care jobs near me?”

Unsure what a respite worker does?

While requirements vary from state to state and agency to agency, choosing a career as a respite worker can be rewarding and lucrative. As a respite caregiver, you’ll be providing hands-on aid to elderly adults while also relieving stress from family caregivers.

In this article, we’re exploring the qualifications and steps you need to take to become a professional caregiver. We’ll share with you a respite care job description and tell you how to find respite care jobs today.

Are you ready to learn more about this amazing career opportunity?


How Do I Become A Respite Care Provider?

Have you ever considered a career as a respite care provider?

Throughout the U.S., there is a growing demand for home health care, including respite care providers. In fact, the home health aide and personal care aide fields are expected to grow by 36% by the year 2028.

But before you dive in, it’s important to know that it takes a special kind of person to do this job professionally.

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

Apply Now


Respite Care Worker Qualifications

Read on to learn everything you need to know about being qualified to provide respite care. Hopefully, this information will help you decide for yourself whether or not you’re a good fit as a respite care provider.

To provide respite care services in a person’s home, there are five particular qualifications you’ll need to meet beforehand:


1. Education

At a minimum, individuals who work as respite care providers must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent. Completing this step allows you to go on to complete other necessary certifications required for this and other care-providing fields.


2. Certification

After you receive a high school diploma, you’ll need to complete additional certification courses. Some companies that provide respite care, like Commonwise Home Care, offer their employees in-house training.

Training through a home care agency ensures uniformity across the board when it comes to specific care practices and standards. Respite workers in training will learn the basics of administering care to older adults according to a predetermined set of rules and regulations. 


3. On-the-Job Training

Once your certification is complete through a respite care program or in-house training, you’ll need to spend some time completing on-the-job training.

By shadowing another caregiver, you have the opportunity to see how care providers interact with patients on a day-to-day basis. Observing the caregiver-patient relationship first-hand provides a sense of confidence and experience needed before practicing and providing care on your own.


4. Licensing

Finally, you can apply for a license from your state board after completing a specified number of training hours. The license gives you credibility and proves that you have both the skills and education necessary to provide a certain level of care.


5. Continuing Education

To keep your license current, you’ll need to complete continuing education courses on a regular basis. You may also have opportunities to specialize in providing care to certain types of individuals, such as those with Alzheimer’s or specific dietary needs.


Respite Care Provider Services

A respite care provider helps patients in a variety of ways to give primary caregivers, usually family members, a time to rest from full-time caregiving. The responsibilities of older adult respite care vary from person to person, but most respite care job descriptions always include the following:


Care Management

When primary caregivers need time away to reset, choose a respite care provider affiliated with a larger home care agency. Some patients need special care, requiring a certified nurse assistant or registered nurse, which is why it’s important to partner with a full-service, home care agency. 

Commonwise care managers do everything with compassionate care. From advocacy to medication management and reminders, we serve a range of needs to provide elderly care in the most effective, sensitive way. 


Caregiver Assistance

A respite care professional is just as helpful to the patient as they are to the family. Through respite care, those who selflessly care day and night for loved ones are able to take a break from the heavy toll of caregiving.

Respite care providers give primary caregivers much-needed relief for a short or longer period of time. In turn, the time away improves caregiver resiliency and their ability to offer long-term care without burning out.


Personal Care Services

Personalized care is at the foundation of every service we provide at Commonwise. From niche services like ambulating a patient, range of motion support, and general exercise, professional caregivers are well-rounded in their ability to care for older adults.

Some of the most basic tasks can be overwhelming or difficult for aging adults to accomplish on their own. While providing respite care, caregivers may help older adults with toileting, bathing, grooming, dressing, and/or feeding.


Home Care Services

Professional home care services, such as hospice care and total care, are specifically catered to each older adult’s unique needs. The specific types of care and assistance vary depending on the patients’ condition. 

Whether a loved one is diagnosed with Dementia or needs post surgery home care, Commonwise caregivers are equipped to serve an endless number of elderly care needs.



A new person stepping into the shoes of an older adult’s current caregiver can be nervewracking. Sometimes, the best thing a respite care professional can do is to provide a patient with a sense of companionship—talk with them, help them with basic housework, and simply be a kind presence.

Caregivers who step in for family members may also assist patients with general chores, like pet care or bill pay. Supporting patients physically, mentally, and emotionally is the job of any good caregiver; respite care provider or not. 


State Licensing Requirements (Virginia)

In the state of Virginia, to become a respite care provider, you must meet certain licensing requirements. Each state has its own rules regarding licensing, so it’s important to do your research before pursuing a career in respite care.

If you’re located in Virginia and are on the lookout for respite caregiver jobs, you’ll need to meet these requirements to get licensed properly:

  • At least 18 years old.
  • Have a valid social security number.
  • Able to read and write in English.
  • Able to demonstrate the skills required to perform respite care services.
  • Complete and graduate from an appropriate training curriculum.
  • Have a satisfactory work record (no evidence of abuse, neglect, or exploitation).
  • Pass a standardized test administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

You’ll also need to be evaluated on a regular basis by a supervisor.


Become an In-home Respite Worker Today

Working as a respite care provider is incredibly rewarding and provides a variety of opportunities to help those in need. Not only will you assist elderly seniors with their daily life tasks, you’ll also help family caregivers from becoming burned out.

You’ll need to meet a few requirements before becoming a respite worker. But once these requirements are met, you can start providing valuable care to aging adults.

Now that you know more about what it takes to become a respite care provider, as well as some of the responsibilities associated with this career, does it seem like a good fit for you? Are you interested in becoming a respite care provider or caregiver? Do you meet the requirements outlined above?

At Commonwise Home Care, we have a large number of caregiver job openings. When you come to work for us, you’ll receive:

  • Exceptional caregiver training
  • Industry-leading wages and benefits
  • Ongoing training and support

If you’re ready to stop searching for “respite care jobs near me” and start your career today, check out our Careers page. You can apply for a position here at one of our locations and find out more about the Commonwise difference by calling: 434.202.8565.

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

Apply Now