Caregiving As a Career
It takes a special kind of person to choose caring as their career. All the training in the world cannot instill in someone the natural tendency towards empathy and compassion required to be one; a caregiver career path is one that often begins with personal experience caring for others.
A career in caregiving is long and fruitful – with many different paths to take. While many are content to remain caregivers, many take their specialised skill set into new and more challenging roles within the industry.
This article outlines some common caregiver career paths and the services each one provides to their clients.
- Certified Nursing Assistant
- Home Health Aide
- Training or Managing
- Assisting Families
Caregiver Career Paths
Often caregivers will choose to specialize in caring for specific populations, such as mental health or dementia patients. These clients have specific care needs which require education beyond the typical training. With education, competent caregivers have more opportunities to serve a wider range of clients, especially in special needs categories such as dementia care, or caring for those with physical challenges.
A registered nurse provides patient care, gives healthcare and dietary advice, and offers emotional support to patients and their families. They are critical members of a healthcare team in that they are the first caregivers to assess patients’ ailments. Nurses assist doctors in hospitals and physicians’ offices and are often the “first responders” at nursing homes and independent living facilities, hospices, schools, and for home healthcare service providers.
Gerontology is at its core the study of aging and old age in adults. Gerontologists are professionals who specialize in issues of aging or professionals in various fields from dentistry and psychology to nursing and social work who study and may receive certification in gerontology. These professionals are prepared to provide their services and care to older adults.
Prosthetists design and fabricate medical supportive devices and measure and fit patients for them. These devices include artificial limbs (arms, hands, legs, and feet), braces, and other medical or surgical devices.
Overall, the goal of a prosthetics career is to help patients recover mobility in a body part. At the beginning of their careers, prosthetics may be directly involved in the design and construction of medical support devices, but as time goes on, it’s common for them to supervise orthotic and prosthetic technicians, a specialization for medical appliance technicians.
To become a prosthetist, you must earn a Master’s Degree in Orthotics and Prosthetics, complete a 1 year residency, and pass a certifying exam prior to entering the field.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
A common next step in the career path of a caregiver is to become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). This enables caregivers to work outside of the home and venture further into medical facilities. Being a CNA often comes with a pay increase and steadier hours as well.
CNAs are not required to hold a college degree. That said, training is required, resulting in a postsecondary non-degree certificate or diploma. A prospective nursing assistant needs to enroll in a state-sanctioned training program and then pass a state certification exam.
Home Health Aide (HHA)
Home health aides and personal care aides help people with disabilities, chronic illness, or cognitive impairment by assisting in their daily living activities. They often help older adults who need assistance. Home health aides can issue medication reminders or check vital signs under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner.
Training or Managing
If you enjoy sharing your skills and knowledge, you might enjoy a career as a caregiving manager or trainer. Managers and trainers are especially important because training others helps the industry continue to grow. Coming from a career as a caregiver, this is a great way of giving back to the profession you love.
It’s common in the caregiving industry to see promotion within the ranks, and a promotion from caregiver to admin staff is one of the most common promotions at JEVS.
Assisting families when it comes to making caregiving decisions is a critical role in the home care industry. As the assistant, you have the responsibility of meeting with the potential client and their family members to assess the actual care needed. This is a role which requires continual conversations with both your caregivers and the client families to assure any changes or needs in care get addressed thoroughly.
How a Home Care Agency Helps Caregivers on Their Career Paths
Whatever path you decide to take, you can count on JEVS Care At Home to help you become properly trained, approved, and ready for whatever comes next.
We offer ongoing training, a wealth of resources and information, and opportunities for growth every step of the way. Let us help you as you make the next decision in what is sure to be a long and fruitful career.