Because of medical advances and a cultural focus on health and fitness, people in general are living longer. This has resulted in a growing elderly population -- and more job opportunities that focus on elderly care. Job types are varied and include positions in medicine, social services and home health assistance. To enter the elderly care job market, decide on the type of care you want to provide. Explore the required job skills, licensing and certifications. Then select a training program to prepare you for the job you want.
The career path you choose dictates the direction of your training. Training to be a home health aide, for example, can be as simple as on-the-job learning or a structured non-degree certificate program for basic care. Community colleges and trade schools are likely sources for non-degree, certificate programs. But for advanced-care positions, such as a geriatric nurse, degree programs are essential. You must attend a college or university to pursue an advanced career path.
Research the technical and interpersonal skills needed for work with the elderly. To provide medical care, you must have science acumen with the ability to research and solve problems related to aging. For home care assistance jobs, social skills take center stage. You need a certain temperament, level of patience and compassion to deal with the emotional ups and downs of elderly clients. Some resist relying on others for tasks they wish to do for themselves but can't.
Home Health Training
In a home health care role, you may serve as a personal care assistant or health care aide. Personal care involves tasks such as bathing, grooming, meal preparation and light housekeeping. No certification or licensing is needed for this work, and training occurs on the job. A health care aide performs basic health duties such as administering medicines, and monitoring temperature and blood pressure. This job requires training that covers the basics of patient care and job routine. Certification is typically required, but varies by state.
Professional Health Care Training
Working with the elderly in a professional health care role, such as a doctor, nurse or pharmacist, requires a formal education. A minimum of four years of education is necessary, plus medical school, pharmacy school, internships or residency programs, depending on the area of study. You must meet college or university entrance requirements, including a minimum high school GPA and course credits. Licensing is required for professional health care workers. This involves passing a comprehensive exam in the state you wish to work.