The requirements to become a caregiver in the United States include training on the job or formal training at a vocational school or home health organization, interpersonal skills, stamina and time management skills. While not required, people typically complete high school or higher education before pursuing a caregiver career.
Caregivers attend to the needs of the elderly or individuals with a sickness, injury, mental problem or physical disability. They usually work in a home setting, and their job involves helping clients perform various daily activities, such as eating, taking medicines, bathing and grooming.
Aspiring caregivers undergo extensive training supervised by nurses or experienced caregivers. The on-the-job training usually involves studying safety protocol, practicing emergency response and cooking meals for patients with special dietary needs. In some states, aspiring caregivers should enroll in a vocational school or elder care program. Caregivers who work for agencies receiving Medicare or Medicaid should obtain certification.
Caregivers should possess strong interpersonal skills, because they often have to interact closely with patients, some of whom may be fragile or in pain. Stamina is also an important job skill as the work may involve lifting clients into the bed, bathtub or car. Moreover, caregivers should be attentive to the specific needs of clients, and they should strictly follow schedules, especially to make sure that clients take their medications on time.