How to Become a

Caregiver

The complete career guide to be a Caregiver: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $22,870
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 38.1%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Growing Industry
    Career Attribute

Caregivers work with clients on a one-on-one basis and help assist with everyday personal and health tasks. They often work with clients that have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or limited movement due to stroke or injury. They help their clients continue living at home by ensuring their needs are cared for.


What is a Caregiver?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in caregiver roles:

  • Assist clients who struggle to care for themselves with day-to-day activities
  • Schedule doctor’s appointments for clients and drive them to and from appointments
  • Help with chores and errands like paying bills, buying groceries, and cooking
  • Help patients remember to take prescriptions, and divide medications to ensure the proper dosage is taken at the appropriate time of day
  • Assist with cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene tasks

A Day in the Life

For individuals suffering from disease, injury, immobility, or degraded health, caregivers can be lifesavers. Rather than individuals being forced to live in assisted care facilities, they can continue to live in their own homes with the help of a caregiver. Caregivers provide personal care to their clients, helping with a variety of day-to-day tasks and activities. While caregivers cannot provide medical care to their clients, they can help optimize their lives by enabling them to take care of routine tasks.

Caregivers may assist with any routine tasks a client needs. They may help with tasks like buying groceries, paying bills, scheduling appointments, and driving clients to and from venues. They also commonly help make sure clients are taking proper care of their health by scheduling and keeping track of doctor’s appointments, dividing up and administering medications at the right time of day, and making healthy meals that account for the dietary restrictions of clients with certain health issues.

Additionally, caregivers may also take care of the physical needs of clients. They may help clients bathe, use the restroom, and brush their teeth. They may also assist with cleaning the house, changing bed clothes, and washing dishes after meals. The role of a caregiver depends highly on the needs of his/her clients and could include any number of responsibilities. For individuals who like helping people, working as caregiver is a rewarding career that helps people when they need it most.

Typical Work Schedule

Caregivers may work part-time or full-time. They rarely work set schedules and may need to be available in evenings and on weekends to help patients care for needs and emergencies. Some may provide live-in care where they stay in the client’s home and care for needs at any time of the day.

Projected Job Growth

The Baby Boomer generation—one of the largest generations in recent history—is full of individuals at or nearing retirement age. Because of the increased likelihood of needing care that comes with aging, the size of the Baby Boomer generation is expected to significantly increase demand for caregivers in the coming decades.

Typical Employers

The majority of caregivers are employed to work for caregiving service providers. Some who have medical experience and credentials may also work for home healthcare providers. Others are self-employed and take on individual clients on a freelance basis, working directly for the individual being cared for, or being employed by a child or family member of the individual needing care.


How To Become a Caregiver

A high school diploma is a sufficient level of education for aspiring caregivers. Since caregivers aren’t required to perform medical care, most of the tasks caregivers provide are routine tasks that are learned through everyday life experience. The most important qualification for a caregiver is a passion for caring for others. If a caregiver truly desires to provide the best care for clients and improve clients’ quality of life, he/she can take care of all job responsibilities without needing a formal education.

However, because caregivers commonly take care of patients with health issues, it can be very helpful to have some form of medical training. Some have only the basic health education, becoming certified in CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) usage. Others may study to become nurses of differing levels in order to better assist clients when health issues arise.

While being able to provide healthcare is helpful for caregivers, it is usually not a requirement. In many cases, caregivers simply notify medical professionals when issues arise with a client’s health.

In addition to having the right goals to become a caregiver, it’s also helpful to spend some time working in or volunteering for assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or centers for disabled individuals. This professional experience can help you learn what it’s like to care for someone who’s unable to care for themselves, providing helpful experience when you begin caring for clients individually in their homes.


Caregiver Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$19,190

Average

$22,870

High Range

$29,950

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$9/hr

Average

$11/hr

High Range

$14/hr

How do Caregiver salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Caregiver's can make an average annual salary of $22,870, or $11 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $19,190 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #793 Nationally for All Careers


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Caregiver. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Caregivers

  • 1.5%   Doctorate
  • 1.9%   Masters
  • 7.9%   Bachelors
  • 9.8%   Associates
  • 31.9%   College
  • 34.6%   High School
  • 12.4%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

913,500

2024 Est. Jobs

1,261,900

Job Growth Rate

38.1%

Est. New Jobs

348,400

How does Caregiver job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 348,400 jobs for a total of 1,261,900 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 38.1% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #5 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Caregivers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Home healthcare services 350,600 212,900 213%
Services for the elderly and persons with disabilities 223,200 41,800 42%
Continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly 93,700 45,500 46%

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