How to become a personal caregiver

American Caregiver Association: The National Certifying Organization for Caregivers

The American Caregiver Association (ACA) has been around since 1985. We are the most recognizable name in the caregiver industry and we are the Official National Certifying and Accrediting body for caregiver and assisted living manager (ALM) certification in the United States. The ACA is proud to be the only organization to offer a self-study National Caregiver Certification Course (NCCC), National Assisted Living Manager Caregiver Certification (NALMCC), along with a host of other caregiver certification courses.

​Acquiring caregiver certification places you above others competing for employment in the caregiver field because your certification is through the ACA, the most established and respected caregiver training and certification organization in the U.S. In the caregiver profession it is well known that if you are not nationally certified with the American Caregiver Association then you are not considered a certified caregiver. This is the weight that our caregiver certification carries across the United States.

National Caregiver Certification

More critically, national caregiver certification is the expectation in the industry. The same is true for assisted living manager certification. Therefore, we strongly urge you to keep this in mind as you look to advance your career in the health care field, as a personal care aide, caregiver or assisted living manager more specifically. Having our caregiver certification simply puts you ahead of the game now, and in the long term.

On a more practical level our caregiver certification provides you with the opportunity to fine tune your knowledge and acquire new skills and techniques with minimal out of pocket cost at $99.00. This, as opposed to going to a more traditional caregiver training school or course which can cost thousands of dollars, extra expense such as gas, and time that you may not have. If you are interested in becoming a nationally certified caregiver or nationally certified assisted living manager and being entered into the National Caregiver Registry (NCR), click on the add to cart button below to purchase your caregiver certification course.

We offer a variety of discounted caregiver certification bundles, including the NCCC and NALMCC package for only $179.00 (regularly $198.00). The bundle package includes both the National Caregiver Certification Course and the National Assisted Living Manager Certification Course (NALMCC).

Acquiring Caregiver Certification To Take Care of a Family Member

If you are looking to obtain caregiver certification to take care of a family member then we recommend our National Caregiver Certification Course, or NCCC. Cost is $99 for the NCCC. You can add the NCCC or any caregiver certification bundle on this page or in our online store online store. Questions? Email us at [email protected]

How the Caregiver Certification Process Works

To take a look at all of our courses you can go directly to our Online Store and order the course or bundle package that you want and checkout. After that, simply wait for an email from us with your course materials and other instructions. The entire certification process is conducted via email. And, all courses are self-study and completed on your time frame, making the process accommodating and flexible. We hope this helps. Again, please email us if you have additional questions concerning caregiver certification.

How to become a personal caregiver

Table of Contents

  • What Does a Personal Caregiver Do?
  • How to Become a Personal Caregiver
  • What Are the Characteristics an Effective Personal Caregiver?
  • What Is the Difference Between a Personal Caregiver and a Home Health Aide?

What Does a Personal Caregiver Do?

How to Become a Personal Caregiver

What Are the Characteristics an Effective Personal Caregiver?

What Is the Difference Between a Personal Caregiver and a Home Health Aide?

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  2. Personal Caregiver Jobs
  3. What Is a Personal Caregiver and How to Become One

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  • How to become a personal caregiver

National Caregiver Certification Course (NCCC)

Super Certification Bundle (SCB)

NCCC and NALMCC Bundle

Advanced National Caregiver Certification Course (ANCCC)

Platinum Plus Caregiver Certification Bundle (PPB)

National Assisted Living Manager Certification Course (NALMCC)

ACA Membership

Caregiver Business Bundle

The American Caregiver Association is the national certifying and accrediting organization for caregivers in the United States, as well as the largest caregiver certifying body in the world. We provide information on how to become a caregiver and offer affordable and easy online certification courses to anyone who wants to learn how to become a caregiver.

Our courses will not only teach you what you need to know about how to become a caregiver, but your caregiver certification will add to your caregiver knowledge base and provide you with added credibility in the industry.

Why Become a Caregiver?

While it’s important to learn about how to become a caregiver, it’s equally important to understand your role in it. As the elderly population in the United States continues to grow, the need for compassionate and experienced elderly caregivers rises as well. Whether you already care for a family member or want to start a new career, we can give you the tools and training that you need and teach you how to become a caregiver.

In learning how to become a caregiver, you will ultimately be in a position to provide high-quality care to the elderly and develop useful skills that will benefit you as you move forward with your career.

How Do You Become a Caregiver?

Understanding why and how to become a caregiver are important but so too is understanding the caregiver certification process. As the national certifying organization for caregivers, we offer several online certification courses at affordable prices that will give you the skills you need to perform your duties at a high level, regardless of the setting.

Getting certified is simple. Order your course, wait for an email, then start your course. It’s all done through email and completed on your schedule and time frame, as all courses are self-study. So, if you can do email, you can do our caregiver certification courses. After you complete your course, we will certify you and place you in our National Caregiver Registry (NCR) of certified caregivers.

Finally, our courses not only teach you how to become a caregiver and enhance your resume but also provide you with added credentialing as you look to work in the caregiver industry in any capacity; whether as a private duty or family caregiver or for an insurance purpose or when you want to start your own caregiver business.

Talk to caring people for practical caregiving information and help finding local resources/services.

There are several ways to become a paid caregiver. You can be hired by:

  • A home care agency, adult family home, assisted living facility, or nursing home and be paid by the agency or facility to provide care.
  • The person needing care and be paid by him or her directly.
  • The person needing care and be paid by the state to provide care services.

Home Care Agencies and Facilities that Hire Caregivers

Home care agencies hire, train, pay, supervise, and are responsible for the care you provide as a paid caregiver in someone’s home. Contact them directly to see if they have any openings. Use The National Association of Home Care and Hospice locator to get a listing of home care agencies in your area.

Adult family homes, assisted living facilities, and nursing home hire, train, pay, and supervise their caregivers. Contact them directly to see if they have any openings. Use the links here to learn more about these types of facilities and get a listing of facilities where you live.

People Hiring Caregivers Directly

The Home Care Referral Registry (available in many, but not all, counties throughout Washington) links Medicaid consumers with paid caregivers. Learn how to get on the Referral Registry.

Look in your local paper in the help wanted section to see if anyone is looking to hire a paid caregiver. You can also check bulletin boards for ads in local grocery stores, places of worship, senior centers, hospitals, doctor’s offices or libraries.

In-Home Caregiver (Individual Provider)

The state pays for a caregiver if the person needing care lives at home, is eligible for care services, and needs Medicaid to help pay for them. In this situation, the person who needs care hires and supervises the caregiver but the caregiver is paid by the state for these services. Caregivers contract with the state to provide these services and are called Individual Providers (IPs).

All IPs are represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 775. Learn More.

The types of care tasks that an IP is authorized to do and the number of hours an IP will be paid to do them is determined by a care plan. The care plan is the result of a care assessment completed by the DSHS social worker/case manager working directly with the person who needs care.

An IP must meet a number of requirements to contract with the state, including:
Be 18 or older.

  • Pass a criminal conviction background check.
  • Provide picture ID and be authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Not be the spouse of the person getting care.
  • Sign a contract with DSHS and agree to the conditions listed in it.
  • Successfully complete all of the caregiver training requirements.

A person using Medicaid to help pay for long term care services who wants to employ you as their IP should contact his or her case manager.

Family or friends as unpaid caregivers

The majority of people who provide care for an adult family member or friend are not paid. There is free or low cost help for unpaid caregivers through the Family Caregiver Support Program. Learn more about the services offered through the Family Caregiver Support Program.

Get tips and information to help you care for your loved one with special medical needs, including programs for family members of veterans and people with disabilities to get paid to provide care.

On This Page

  • Help and Support for Caregivers
  • Get Paid as a Caregiver for a Family Member

Help and Support for Caregivers

As a caregiver for a parent, spouse, or child with special needs, you may need help. These resources and suggestions can help you find emotional and task support.

Federal Government Caregiver Resources

Alzheimer’s Caregiving – Find out from the National Institute on Aging how to be a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Learn skills for coping with a loved one’s behavioral changes.

Caregiver Resources – The National Institute of Health’s MedlinePlus site has an overview of caregiver services. It also offers resources to help you protect your own health.

Caring for the Caregiver – This resource from the National Cancer Institute is for family and friends who are caring for a person with cancer.

Managing Someone Else’s Money Guide – The family member you’re caring for may not be able to handle their bills themselves. Get information about managing their finances from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The VA Caregiver Support Line helps people caring for veterans. Find services and benefits for your loved one and get support for yourself.

Office of Women’s Health Caregiver Page – Get tips on how to prevent or relieve caregiver stress and how to find and pay for home health care services.

State and Local Caregiver Support Resources

Finding Local Services – Use this list from the Department of Health and Human Services to find a variety of government and non-government resources. Compare home health agencies, or use the Eldercare Locator to connect with senior services.

Additional Support for Caregivers

If you’re not able to leave your loved one at home but need emotional support, an online support group might be a good option. Be careful not to give out detailed personal, medical, or financial information to anyone online to protect against fraud or scams.

Get Paid as a Caregiver for a Family Member

A caregiver helps a person with special medical needs in performing daily activities. Tasks include shopping for food and cooking, cleaning the house, and giving medicine. Many government programs allow family members of veterans and people with disabilities to get paid for caring for them.

  • The Medicaid Self-Directed Care program lets qualified people manage their own health services. It also lets them hire family members as caregivers in some states.
  • The Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services program offers veterans a flexible budget. This allows them to choose goods and services they find most useful, including hiring a family member or neighbor as a personal care aide.
  • Aid and Attendance benefits for veterans work in conjunction with a VA pension. These benefits help cover the costs of a caregiver, who may be a family member. Contact the VA pension management center in your area for rules and conditions.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance allows family members to be paid as caregivers. But some policies won’t pay family members who live with the person they’re caring for. Contact your family member’s insurance agent for more information. You can also ask the agent for a written confirmation of benefits.

Do you have a question?

Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They’ll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.

  • How to become a personal caregiver

National Caregiver Certification Course (NCCC)

Super Certification Bundle (SCB)

NCCC and NALMCC Bundle

Advanced National Caregiver Certification Course (ANCCC)

Platinum Plus Caregiver Certification Bundle (PPB)

National Assisted Living Manager Certification Course (NALMCC)

ACA Membership

Caregiver Business Bundle

The American Caregiver Association is the national certifying and accrediting organization for caregivers in the United States, as well as the largest caregiver certifying body in the world. We provide information on how to become a caregiver and offer affordable and easy online certification courses to anyone who wants to learn how to become a caregiver.

Our courses will not only teach you what you need to know about how to become a caregiver, but your caregiver certification will add to your caregiver knowledge base and provide you with added credibility in the industry.

Why Become a Caregiver?

While it’s important to learn about how to become a caregiver, it’s equally important to understand your role in it. As the elderly population in the United States continues to grow, the need for compassionate and experienced elderly caregivers rises as well. Whether you already care for a family member or want to start a new career, we can give you the tools and training that you need and teach you how to become a caregiver.

In learning how to become a caregiver, you will ultimately be in a position to provide high-quality care to the elderly and develop useful skills that will benefit you as you move forward with your career.

How Do You Become a Caregiver?

Understanding why and how to become a caregiver are important but so too is understanding the caregiver certification process. As the national certifying organization for caregivers, we offer several online certification courses at affordable prices that will give you the skills you need to perform your duties at a high level, regardless of the setting.

Getting certified is simple. Order your course, wait for an email, then start your course. It’s all done through email and completed on your schedule and time frame, as all courses are self-study. So, if you can do email, you can do our caregiver certification courses. After you complete your course, we will certify you and place you in our National Caregiver Registry (NCR) of certified caregivers.

Finally, our courses not only teach you how to become a caregiver and enhance your resume but also provide you with added credentialing as you look to work in the caregiver industry in any capacity; whether as a private duty or family caregiver or for an insurance purpose or when you want to start your own caregiver business.

Virtual Caregiver Events

Because of COVID-19 outbreaks, many support groups, memory cafes, conferences, and other events have moved to a digital platform. Find up-to-date listings for virtual caregiver resources and events on the Wisconsin Caregiver website.

Nearly everyone will be a caregiver at some point in life.

And nearly everyone will need a little help providing that care.

Being responsible for someone else can feel overwhelming if the role is unexpected or interferes with job responsibilities. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional concerns for caregivers. This is why Wisconsin offers family members and other informal caregivers programs and education opportunities that can make being a caregiver more manageable.

The first phone call that caregivers should make is to the local aging and disability resource center (ADRC). Wisconsin’s ADRCs provide free and unbiased information and assistance to connect families with in-home care providers, respite services and other caregiver resources in the area. ADRC staff is trained to navigate individuals through immediate crises and provide decision-making counseling so that caregivers are able to make informed decisions. ADRC staff can also refer families to professionals that provide legal advice and financial planning services, including information about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Caregiver support programs are available in every community.

To learn which services are available where you live, find your local ADRC.

Statewide Family Caregiver Programs

National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP)

The NFCSP provides online and in-person services and supports that help family members and informal caregivers, such as a neighbor or friend, care for older adults at home. The program prioritizes services to low-income families and older adults with dementia, but one does not have to be low income or have dementia in order to participate. It is available to any person providing care to an adult age 60+, or any grandparents or other relatives age 55+ who are the primary caregivers for youth under the age of 19.

The program offers:

  • Information about available services.
  • Assistance with gaining access to services.
  • Individual counseling to deal with depression and stress.
  • Caregiver support groups.
  • Training on providing safe and proper in-home care.
  • Temporary respite services, such as help with bathing, home repairs, snow removal or emergency in-home care.
  • Supplemental services, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) or help making minor home modifications or providing adaptive equipment that allows a person to remain living safely at home.

Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Family and Caregiver Support Program (AFSCP)

The AFSCP is similar to the NFCSP explained above, but only serves people with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

To be eligible for AFCSP, the care receiver must meet three criteria:

  1. Have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia
  2. Reside in a community or home setting (not a facility)
  3. Have an income of $48,000 or less (person and spouse)

Typical goods and services that can be provided through the AFCSP include:

  • Respite care or household services.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Emergency response and home safety/alarm systems.
  • Home safety modification.
  • Specialized clothing for people with dementia.
  • Activities or hobby supplies.
  • Legal expenses related to establishing guardianship.
  • Counseling services.
  • Caregiver education classes.
  • Emergency housing and energy assistance.

For help connecting to a caregiver program specialist in your area, contact your local aging and disability resource center or visit the Wisconsin Caregiver website.

Dementia Care Specialists

Dementia care specialists provide free information and assistance to adults with memory or cognitive concerns, or who have a dementia diagnosis. Dementia care specialists also provide information and support to family members and friends who are providing care to a person with memory concerns. Dementia care specialists are available at select aging and disability resource centers and tribal agencies.

More Resources

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services partners with community organizations across the state to offer additional caregiver support services. Contact your local aging and disability resource center to learn if an organization in your area offers:

Powerful Tools for Caregivers: This six-week caregiver education class teaches how to avoid injury when lifting a person, stress reduction techniques, and the importance of self-care so that caregivers don’t become sick or injured as a result of providing care to someone else. The class teaches skills applicable to all types of caregivers. Contact your local aging and disability resource center to find out if a class is being held in your area.

WisconsinCaregiver.org website: This website provides information to help people better care for their loved ones and themselves. Includes a webpage dedicated to the Wisconsin Family and Caregiving Support Alliance, an informal group of aging and disability organizations who work together to support family caregivers across the lifespan.

Dementia-Friendly Employers Toolkit: This toolkit is designed to provide employers with the knowledge and tools needed to successfully support employees who are caring for someone with dementia.

Respite Care Association of Wisconsin: This organization provides support and advocates for quality systems of respite care for Wisconsin families. They also provide online training, manage a caregiver registry, and offer small respite grants to eligible individuals.

Know your options and resources to help you in your new role.

Some workers retire early to take on a new job as caregiver. That was the case for Jennifer Cross, 59, of Minneapolis, who has been her 95-year-old mother’s caregiver for the past three years. Before that, Cross had been working in furniture sales and visiting her mother four or five days a week at the assisted-living facility where she lived. Neither of them liked the facility. So when Cross’s position was eliminated in 2016, she invited her mother to live with her and became a full-time caregiver. “I just figured I could do this,” she says. “I could take care of her, and that would be my job.” Her mother pays her for caregiving, and Cross also works part-time teaching yoga.

Caregivers often take a huge financial hit, which can have ramifications for their retirement security. A MetLife study estimated that the amount of lost wages and reductions in Social Security and pension benefits totaled $303,880 for the typical caregiver age 50 or older who left the workforce early to care for a parent.

“They put a lot at stake by leaving the workplace to be a caregiver,” says Quentara Costa, a certified financial planner in North Andover, Mass. Before you step into the role of caregiver, Costa says, hold a meeting with all other family members to discuss what you are willing and able to do, any compensation you might receive, and what help others will provide. The details can be written up in a family caregiver agreement so that there are no disputes—or hard feelings—later, she says. Families that wait until an elderly parent’s death to discuss how a caregiver is compensated can end up squabbling over the estate.

Before quitting your job, make sure you have worked long enough to vest in your pension or 401(k) and have accumulated enough credits to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits. Also talk with human resources, which can help you avoid leaving free money on the table by quitting too early. For example, you may need to work until a certain date to qualify for an annual bonus, 401(k) match or profit-sharing payout.