How to Become a Caregiver?

Are you thinking of becoming a Caregiver or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Caregiver, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Caregiver job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Caregiver

Caregivers provide personal care to patients in their homes or in care facilities. While formal training is necessary, a caregiver needs skills that you can't learn in a classroom. Successful caregivers excel at communication, organization, and time management. Remember that as a caregiver, you're providing care for someone who's recovering from surgery or has a debilitating medical condition, so compassion, empathy, and patience are vital qualities to develop. If you enjoy helping people and have a flexible mindset, this may be a good career for you. In this article, we provide five steps to help you become a caregiver.

Consider pursuing a relevant degree.

While some caregiving jobs don't require you to have a college degree, earning one can increase your knowledge and skills, making you a more effective caregiver. A degree in nursing or health and human services can prepare you for providing direct patient care. Plus, post-secondary education will make you stand out among potential hires and expand your career opportunities.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Caregiver?

54% of people working as a Caregiver earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Caregiver?

  • CPR First Aid
  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Effective Communication
  • English Language
  • Positive Attitude
  • PCA
  • IN Spanish
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Caregiver in the United States.

Apply for part-time positions or apprenticeships.

While you're pursuing your degree, you can work in part-time caregiver support or as an apprentice. A part-time role or apprenticeship will give you practical experience and the chance to observe an experienced caregiver at work. It can also provide you with relevant skills and knowledge, which can help you earn a full-time role.


Earn your state's required certifications.

Many states will require you to have a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification, Certified Home Care and Hospice Executive (CHCE) certification, or Home Health Aide (HHA) certification if you want to work as a caregiver. You can earn a CNA through the Red Cross, a local hospital, or online. After you complete your state's required amount of in-person clinical hours and pass the exam, you'll have your CNA certification.

To qualify for a CHCE certification, you need to have previous experience in at-home care or hospice care, and you'll have to pass a 223-question exam covering topics like legal requirements, compliance, and planning. If you want an HHA certification, you must demonstrate competence in medical procedures such as dressing wounds, checking blood pressure, and administering medication.


Apply for caregiver jobs.

After gaining experience and earning the necessary certifications, you can apply for caregiver jobs. You might work independently or in a hospital or physical therapy practice. Nursing homes and community centers that cater to seniors also provide opportunities for caregivers. If you're interested in an in-home caregiver position, signing up with a staffing agency can help you find the right client.


Join a professional organization.

Caregiving is an ever-evolving field, making it necessary for caregivers to stay updated on everything from care innovations to health care legislation. Joining a professional organization, such as the Professional Association of Caregivers, will provide you with essential educational resources and the emotional support you need to excel as a caregiver. Plus, you can attend workshops and conferences where you can grow your professional network.

Caregiver Career Path


8+Years of Experience
$33K - $52K /yrMost Likely Range
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Senior Caregiver

2 - 4Years of Experience
$35K - $55K /yrMost Likely Range
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Lead Caregiver

5 - 7Years of Experience
$35K - $52K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Caregiver Career Path

Caregiver I
Senior Caregiver
Caregiver Manager
Lead Caregiver
Caregiver V
Assistant Director of Healthcare
Director of Healthcare
Senior Director of Healthcare
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Related Careers in the Healthcare Industry

Interested in other Healthcare careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Caregiver skills. Discover some of the most common Caregiver career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Direct Support Professional
No skills overlap
8% transitioned to Direct Support Professional