If you like helping people, you might consider a career as a caregiver. In this career, you can apply your health care skills and compassion to assisting older adults. Understanding California’s state-specific requirements can help you start your career as a caregiver.
In this article, we show you how to become a caregiver in California, with information on licensing requirements, salary, job outlook and answers to frequently asked questions.
What is a caregiver?
A caregiver assists and supports older individuals with physical or cognitive limitations. Caregivers assist with daily tasks to help seniors maintain their independence and quality of life. The duties of a caregiver can vary depending on the needs of the individual they are caring for. They may help with tasks such as bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding, medication management and transportation to medical appointments or other errands.
In addition to physical care, caregivers may provide emotional support and companionship to their clients, helping reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. They may engage in activities such as playing games, reading or simply having conversations to help keep their clients stimulated and engaged.
How to become a caregiver in California
If you want to learn how to become a caregiver in California, you can follow these steps:
1. Meet the minimum state requirements
California has specific requirements to become a caregiver. These minimum requirements are:
Legal authorization to work in the United States
A clean criminal record and the ability to pass a background check
Good physical health and updated vaccinations
Residence in California
Certain health care providers may have additional requirements, depending on their internal policies. Check with your prospective employer to determine what additional qualifications you need so you’re not surprised when applying.
2. Complete a certification course to become a provider
Home Care Aide (HCA) certification is required to work as a caregiver in California. The certification program ensures that caregivers are adequately trained to provide quality care to seniors and individuals with disabilities. You must complete a state-approved training program to obtain HCA certification in California. The training program consists of 10 hours of orientation training and 20 hours of additional training covering basic caregiving skills, communication and safety. The training program must be completed within four months of employment as a caregiver. Once you complete the program, you must pass a written exam and apply to the California Department of Social Services. The application includes proof of completion of the training program and a background check.
3. Submit proof of vaccination and negative TB results
In California, caregivers who work with seniors or disabled individuals must have updated vaccinations and proof of a negative tuberculosis (TB) test. This is an important requirement to ensure the safety and well-being of both the caregiver and the clients they serve. Caregivers are often in close contact with their clients and may be exposed to various illnesses. Ensuring that caregivers are up to date on their vaccinations minimizes the risk of illness transmission, helping protect both the caregiver and the client.
Salary and career outlook for caregivers in California
The average salary for a caregiver in California is $41,517 yer per. This is around 15% higher than the national average. Caregivers with more experience or specific medical certifications may earn a higher wage. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link provided.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for home health and personal care aides is expected to grow by 25% through 2031. This means an additional 924,000 jobs may become available by the same year.
FAQs about caregivers in California
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about caregivers in California:
Can a caregiver in California provide overnight care for their clients?
Caregivers in California can provide overnight care for their clients. They typically need a written plan to ensure the client’s safety and well-being throughout the night. Some caregivers may specialize in overnight care, assisting families who can’t always respond to nighttime needs. Overnight work requires a flexible schedule and the ability to stay awake and alert for several hours at a time during the night.
Can a caregiver in California perform medical procedures, such as wound care or injections?
Only licensed health care professionals are allowed to perform medical procedures in California. Caregivers who aren’t licensed health care professionals may provide basic first aid, such as cleaning and bandaging a wound. In fact, some employers or clients may prefer caregivers to have a first aid certification from the American Red Cross or a similar organization to show they can respond to minor medical needs or emergencies.
Can a caregiver in California administer medication to their clients?
Only licensed health care professionals, such as registered nurses (RNs) or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), are allowed to administer medication in California. Caregivers who aren’t licensed health care professionals may assist with medication management, such as reminding clients to take their medication or providing food and drink with medications. Depending on the family’s needs, they might also pick up prescriptions for their clients.
12 Types of Medical Office Jobs (With Salaries)
As healthcare demands continue to rise, you may be interested in securing a position in a medical office. These jobs can provide you with job security, a fair salary and a path to enter a healthcare career, especially if you’re currently in school and looking for entry-level experience. There are a variety of jobs in medical offices depending on your interests, and you may find something that fits your schedule best too.
12 types of medical office jobs
Explore this list of jobs you may find in a medical office, organized by national average salary:
1. Medical transcriptionist
National average salary: $28,691 per year
Primary duties: A medical transcriptionist writes patient details, exam notes, discharge information, referral letters and more based on verbal notes from a physician or other healthcare worker or provider. They submit records for approval, keep accurate files and review their work to make sure they included all the pertinent information from the doctor.
2. Medical biller
National average salary: $30,450 per year
Primary duties: A medical biller is responsible for securing payment for services the doctor or medical office performed. They may submit claims to the patient’s insurance company, send bills to patients and record when they receive payment for the office or specific practitioners. Medical billers also attempt to collect on delinquent accounts, obtain pre-authorization approvals and handle denied claims.
3. Medical records clerk
National average salary: $33,273 per year
Primary duties: A medical records clerk keeps accurate patient files so healthcare providers and other medical office employees can find the information they need quickly and easily. They retrieve files that doctors need for patient appointments, file reports, audit files and deliver files to insurance companies.
4. Medical assistant
National average salary: $36,981 per year
Primary duties: A medical assistant is responsible for performing a variety of tasks, both administrative and clinical, in a medical office. They take vital signs, assist physicians as needed with patient exams, complete medical records and take examination notes for the patient’s file. Medical assistants may also need to administer injections or draw blood for lab tests.
5. Laboratory technician
National average salary: $49,528 per year
Primary duties: A laboratory technician is responsible for taking samples from a patient, which may include blood, saliva or hair, and processing it to learn more about a patient. They analyze the results of various lab tests, create reports for physicians and make sure their work area remains clean so that lab samples aren’t contaminated.
6. Medical secretary
National average salary: $51,755 per year
Primary duties: A medical secretary performs general administrative duties such as answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, processing patient referrals and maintaining accurate patient files. They may answer patient questions, transfer calls to the appropriate employee and perform check-in for patients who arrive for their appointment.
7. Medical office manager
National average salary: $53,345 per year
Primary duties: A medical office manager is responsible for overseeing the work of medical staff, including receptionists, schedulers, billers and coders and others. They create staffing schedules, write and implement office procedures and policies and complete performance reviews on personnel. Medical office managers also hire new staff members, make sure the office is in compliance and following regulations for the industry and schedule staff meetings to share new updates or company news.
8. Dental assistant
National average salary: $60,216 per year
Primary duties: A dental assistant is responsible for preparing the patient rooms so hygienists and dentists can perform their work on patients. They select the right tools for the patient’s appointment, clean and sanitize the room and all instruments and prepare the patient for their procedure. Dental assistants may also schedule appointments, complete billing, submit claims to insurance and maintain patient records.
9. Health services administrator
National average salary: $69,828 per year
Primary duties: A health services administrator manages the operations of a medical office. They develop budgets, choose programs and tools for staff members to use, decide which medical procedures to offer, maintain inventory and reorder supplies as needed, create new policies, monitor expenses, inform medical staff of compliance needs and regulations to follow and work alongside healthcare providers to make sure the office is meeting patient needs.
10. Dental hygienist
National average salary: $78,890 per year
Primary duties: A dental hygienist is responsible for performing oral examinations and cleanings on dental patients. They remove tartar from teeth, take dental x-rays, share their process and patient progress with the dentist, suggest treatment plans and document their patient care. Dental hygienists also educate their patients about the best way to improve their oral hygiene and supply patients with tools like new toothbrushes and floss to aid in their oral health routine.
National average salary: $83,214 per year
Primary duties: A nurse provides care for patients in the absence of a doctor. Depending on their qualifications, nurses may provide anything from basic care, like taking vitals and completing physical examinations, to more advanced tasks, like administering medications and developing treatment plans. Nurses must also keep accurate patient records and some educate their patients on their diagnosis, treatment and how to take better care of themselves.
12. Physician assistant
National average salary: $105,879 per year
Primary duties: A physician assistant is responsible for completing patient examinations and diagnosing diseases, injuries and illnesses. They order laboratory tests, create treatment plans, prescribe medication, confer with the physician they work under and advise other healthcare professionals on how to properly care for the patient. Many physician assistants specialize in a certain area, which may include pediatrics, emergency medicine, neurology, family medicine or cardiology, among other disciplines.