How to become a certified caregiver in California

Female nurse using digital blood pressure device

Demand for care services is rising in California, along with its sizable population. The Golden State also compensates for its care workers better than any other location in America. This makes caregiving an attractive, entry level position for people who want to work in healthcare. Before you can practice, however, caregivers need to complete their training to acquire the necessary certifications. If you are interested in becoming a caregiver in California but you do not know where to start, this step-by-step guide will help you.

Kinds of caregiver

In California, there are three different types of professional caregiver. Home Healthcare Aides (HCA) offer non-medical care services to patients in need. This can include distributing meals, offering consolation, and more. Home Health Aides provide similar services, but with a broader scope of responsibility. Now, they can check for vital signs, provide basic wound care and more. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) take all these responsibilities, with the added authority to provide and administer medications prescribed by a physician.

Acquire educational requirements

Regardless of what path you take, you need to meet a school’s basic educational requirements before you even enroll. Specifics will depend on where you enroll, and even your state’s legislation. That being said, most programs will require you to submit the following:

  • At least a High School Diploma or a General Education Degree
  • Minimum 16 to 18 years old
  • Passing a criminal background check
  • (Optional but recommended) Completion of relevant high school subjects like Biology, Chemistry, English, Spanish, and a number of AP courses.

You want to have these requirements in order, even before you start submitting applications to different programs.

Choose a caregiving program

You have a myriad of options to choose from, when sending your applications. Caregiving programs can be found in vocational schools, universities, community colleges, hospitals, Red Cross branches and even online. Whether you are applying to become a HCA, HHA, or CNA, be sure that your program is accredited by the state. Without state approval, your hours will not be recognized and you would have wasted your time.

Once you have passed, now you must complete your minimum training requirements. In California, HCAs are asked to complete 5 hours of training. Meanwhile, HHAs are asked to fulfill 120 hours of training, while CNAs must complete 150. These hours will be split between classroom lectures and hands-on practical training through clinical rotations.

Pass the competency test

Finishing a caregiver program is no surefire sign of success, in the world of healthcare. To ensure that caregivers meet a certain standard of practice, HCPs will be required to take a state competency exam. This will test both your knowledge and your practical skills, to ensure that you are ready to provide care for people in need. Your school will prepare you for this test, and can provide you with additional material to study, before the exam. There are also a number of reviewers available online and in bookstores.

Once you pass, then congratulations! You are prepared to give caregiving services to populations and patients in need. Trust in your education, and be willing to learn on the job, and you should be fine.

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