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How to Become a Caregiver in California

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The assistance provided by competent, compassionate caregivers is a necessary part of life for many disabled or elderly persons, as they cannot always perform the routine activities of daily living by themselves. In California, serving as a paid, private caregiver does not require that you have a special license. However, some typical caregiver duties may require specific certifications, such as medication administration certification. When deciding to become a caregiver in California, it is important for you to carefully review the services you intend to offer and the needs of your clients to determine if any certification or licensure is needed.

Research typical caregiver duties by reading career books, searching through help wanted ads to see what kind of assistance most clients are looking for, and looking over the many caregiver resources available on the Web to gain a solid understanding of the demands, challenges and benefits of being a private caregiver.

If desired, take a basic nursing assistant or caregiving course. These are usually around six weeks long and are offered at many community colleges.

Create a resume listing any experience you may have, your key skills and references. Make copies of your driver's license, driving record and any special certifications you may have (i.e., CPR, First Aid, CNA, Psychiatric Tech, medication administration, etc.). Potential clients will want this information, and it demonstrates your professionalism to have this prepared for them.

Obtain the appropriate vehicle insurance to cover your car being used for professional/work purposes, like driving clients to and from appointments or running errands. Additionally, consider obtaining liability insurance designed to cover independent health care providers or bonding by your insurance company.

Begin searching classified ads for jobs or post your own ad, or contact agencies that match domestic workers like caregivers with clients. Be sure to dress neatly and bring the information you prepared regarding your qualifications with you when meeting any potential clients for the first time. For safety reasons, when answering classified ads from individuals, let a trusted friend or family member know where you're going and when you intend to be finished.

Develop a basic contract with any individual you provide caregiving services for, including your pay rate, the hours you will work, what services will be performed, and any other information that both parties deem relevant in order to have a base from which to operate in case questions or disputes should arise.

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