Entry Level Caregiver Jobs

As a home health aide, there are many different jobs available to you.  When you want to help people to enjoy a higher quality of life, being a caregiver is a wonderful way to do it.  When you want to make a career out of it, how much money can you really make?  Of course, the more experience that you have, the higher your pay will be.  The only way that you can have a solid career in this field is to start out with entry level caregiver jobs.

Most jobs will only require you to help with a client’s basic needs.  If they are still living at home, they will need help with laundry, cooking, cleaning, and some will need transportation to and from doctor appointments and assistance with shopping.

If your client is in an assisted living facility, the entry level job as a carer would be giving them companionship, taking them outside for a while, taking them to different activities that these facilities have, and if they are able, giving them transportation to and from wherever they need or want to go.

They can be found in different work environments for home health aides, such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes, and the client’s own home. Working at an agency can offer a higher hourly rate, but there are usually no opportunities for job advancement.

In this article, we will talk more about the details of junior positions.  We will describe your responsibilities, and the wages that you can earn.  We will also suggest ways that you can advance your career.

What Working As a Caregiver is Really Like?

Choosing to work as a caregiver, providing all levels to care for terminally ill or disabled patients, can be a very rewarding job that comes with a lot of responsibility. Many facilities provide only about forty hours of training before the caregiver is assigned anywhere from twenty to fifty patients to care for.

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The level of care required will vary from patient to patient.  They can include dressing, oral care, feeding, grooming, ambulation, bathing and bathroom assistance.  Often people don’t think about how much more they are giving their client and the client’s family.  You are giving the companionship that some so desperately want and need.

Working in this field can take a lot out of you. Men and women who work as caregivers usually work long hours for lower pay for a job that’s very physically and emotionally demanding.  There are many rewards in this field, as well.  You can improve a person’s mood, health, and total quality of life itself.  Many times, a person’s emotional state can affect their health, for better or worse.

As you gain more experience working as a caregiver, you can get other jobs with better pay.  While these jobs do require different levels of education and experience, it will be well worth it.

Administering insulin injections, applying compression hose, braces, and wound care treatments, monitoring blood sugar levels and administering medications are part of the job of more advanced home health aides.

Shifts typically range from five nine-hour shifts or four twelve hour shifts. During this time the caregiver will check on each patient, offer bathroom assistance and document on how each patient did throughout their shift.

When you consider the minimal amount of training that’s offered, there is a lot to learn and stay on top of with this demanding job.  There are different courses and classes for caregivers that you can take to make your job easier.  Depending on where you are working, some of these classes may be paid for by your employer.

Finding Entry Level Caregiver Jobs

The best (and most common) way to start as a caregiver is to work with an employment agency.  They will be better able to get you into a good entry level job, depending on your knowledge and skills.  Since you are looking for an entry level job, you may not have prior experience, but there will still be many job openings available.

Of course, by starting at entry level, you will be paid the minimum.  As you gain experience and knowledge, you will be able to work at more advanced jobs.  After you have been employed for a while as a caregiver, you will be able to either stay with the agency or move on to working for yourself.  You will have the experience and background checks and certifications that clients need.

If you want to start on your own, a junior opening in this field would be doing just the basics for the elderly.  As time progresses, they may want you do other things that you may need to take classes for, such as taking care of medicines or other things that are very important to your client’s health.

Is Advancement Possible for the Caregiver?

Many caregivers will work in this field for life. Whether it’s continuing their role as a caregiver or working their way up to shift lead, medication aide or resident service coordinator.

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Because of the long hours, physical demand and low salary, this field experiences a very high turnover.  This is an ongoing issue in most facilities around the country, where consistency for the patients is essential to their health and well-being.

Working as a medication aide will offer two to three more dollars an hour. This position is exclusive to facilities that do not allow caregivers to administer medication or provide skin care or wound treatments. These individuals will exclusively focus on medication management, treatments, coordinating doctor appointments, taking vital signs and documenting on each patient during their shift.

Working as a shift lead means an additional one or two dollars an hour and a lot of responsibility in terms of staff performance.  The lead will be responsible for other caregivers on their shift and ensure that every patient’s needs are being met.

Working as a resident service coordinator or resident care coordinator involves creating a resident’s plan of care, which details their care needs, allergies, diagnosis and other important information, overseeing staff performance and ensuring that the facility meets state regulations. This position usually requires four to five years of experience working as a caregiver, great attention to detail, and the ability to work well with staff, residents and their families. The salary for this position is five to six more dollars an hour than what a top paid caregiver makes.

Starting your career with entry level caregiver jobs isn’t required, but it will allow you to work with experienced caregivers.  This will make it easier for you to gain the knowledge that you need to be able to advance in your career.