How to get a caregiver job

You're interested in working as a caregiver

Congratulations and thank you! Given what we know about caregivers and the caring industry, this means that you are a very kind and compassionate person who loves helping others and making a difference in their lives.

Now you may be wondering: "How do I get a job as a caregiver?"

Turns out, there are different places to find caregiver jobs depending on what you care most about but once you apply, the steps are fairly standard.

This article will teach you:

1. The steps in a caregiver job application process

2. Things to care about in a caregiver job

3. Places to find / hear about caregiver jobs

The steps in a caregiver job application process:

There are typically 5 steps you'll go through before starting your job as a caregiver.

  1. Application / interest form
    (Some companies will have longer forms than others)
  2. Phone interview
    (Typically a short 15min call)
  3. Documents / offer letter
    (They'll ask you to send certificates / IDs ahead of orientation)
  4. Background checks / medicals
    (Most employers will ask for TB testing / physicals)
  5. Preorientation paperwork / orientation
    (Filling out forms such as your payroll and work authorization)

Some employers will combine certain steps (e.g., ask you come to into the office so you can fill out the form, show your documents, and do a 15min interview) to try to speed up the process.

This may or may not be convenient for your schedule and as long as you can get things done on your own time, employers are usually flexible to making it work for you.

If they aren't flexible to your needs and require you to do things their way, they're either

  1. A large company 
    (In which case, make sure you're being paid as such)
  2. Not great to work with
    (If they're like this before you depend on them for a paycheck, they won't likely be much better after you join)

Many people wonder how to get a caregiver job, but the best thing you can do to maximize your chances is to get all of the required documents on your end (certificates, IDs, any existing medical forms) ready to go so there is as little back-and-forth as possible.

Now that you know what the steps in the caregiver job application process are, let's move onto the things to care about in a caregiver job.

Things to care about:

Everyone is different, but after helping thousands of caregivers find and work better jobs, we've found most people focus on these four criteria when deciding which caregiver job to work.

  1. Pay
  2. Stability
  3. Location
  4. Team culture

Some are obvious (pay), both others will need your personal preferences. For instance

  • Do you want more stable hours or more flexibility?
  • Are you willing to travel further for longer shifts?
  • How much does the scheduler's tone of voice matter to you?

These are all things to consider when getting your caregiver job because different agencies will has different advantages and it's important to find the one that works for you.

For example, some agencies will focus on conditions such as various forms of Dementia or Parkinson's, which usually lead to longer-term cases that are tougher to find in the beginning but consistent and dependable. That may be a good fit if you're looking for a full-time role with stable hours.

On the other hand, if you're looking for work as a "side gig" because you have a main job, you might be better off working at an agency that takes Medicaid clients because those hours tend to vary more, with some shifts as short as two hours.

We'll cover this in a later post, but location is extremely important as well, because in almost every case, you won't be paid for the time you spend traveling to the client you're taking care of. (This is something agencies know and will keep in mind when pitching cases to you)

At the end of the day, this is something that depends on your personal preferences, which is why there is no universally "perfect job," only jobs that are perfect for a particular person at a particular time.

Places to find caregiver jobs:

Now that you know about the different steps required to get a job as a caregiver and the things to care about when searching for employers, it's time to find the different places you can get caregiver jobs.

There are two categories of job sources:

  1. Online (includes job boards, aggregators, etc)
  2. Offline (includes referrals, billboards, TV)

Online job sources:

The majority of job opportunities are now online, but different sources oftentimes lead to different results. For better or for worse, many agencies now see caregiver hiring as "a numbers game," which means that they'll accept many applications but only plan to hire 10-15% of people who apply.

The places where agencies will find applications tend to be:

  1. Job boards (Indeed, Ziprecruiter, MyCNAJobs, etc)
  2. Industry aggregators (CareInHomes, A Place for Mom)

In order to get a job as a caregiver through those sources, you'll most likely have to make it "a numbers game" as well - by applying to many places and responding to the people who reach out to you. It isn't great for anyone involved, but it's what we have to work with right now.

What this means is you'll create an account on these websites, which will then allow you to apply to different agencies that usually pay for placement on the site (agencies that pay more get on the first page, bigger ads, etc)

Once you apply, the rest of the steps will be the same regardless of where you applied from (phone screen, documents, background checks, etc)

Offline job sources:

If you're reading this, you're most likely the type of caregiver who is tech-savvy and uses the internet to learn about ways to improve your job opportunities. However, offline sources are still important to get a job as a caregiver because agencies tend to care about them more.

Some examples of offline sources include:

  1. TV / Radio ads (some agencies will pay for commercials)
  2. Busses / billboards (especially if you live in a city)
  3. Employee referral (when your friend / family member introduces you to the company)

The biggest reason why agencies tend to prefer offline sources is because caregivers have to take the energy to call or visit the office before they can apply for that caregiver job. 

In each of those cases, you would have to make an active decision to apply for a job (whether by picking up the phone or by walking into the office) versus simply clicking a button to send your information across. 

Agencies see that commitment as a sign that you are serious about the job and that you're also worth investing time in.

In a later article, we'll cover how getting a caregiver job doesn't always need to be a numbers game and different ways to stand out as a caregiver applicant for these jobs.

In conclusion:

Now that you know the five main steps to get a caregiver job, the things to care about in any job, and the different places to find these opportunities, you can get not just any caregiver job, but the one that works for you.

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