How to Become an In-Home Caregiver in Washington State: 5 Requirements

Last updated on September 5th, 2023 at 04:21 pm

Caregiving can be a very rewarding job. You get to make a difference in people’s lives every day. With care needs expected to grow as the population ages, your skills will be in demand and highly appreciated in the years to come.

However, not everyone can work as a paid caregiver in Washington State. To do the job, you must become certified as a Home Care Aide (HCA-C). If an agency hires you before you have this certification, you will be required to work toward it.

Requirements For Becoming an In-Home Caregiver in Washington State

To work as a paid caregiver in Washington State, you must:

  • Be 18 years old or older.
  • Be authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Provide a picture ID of yourself.
  • Pass a criminal conviction background check.
  • Complete Washington State’s caregiver training requirements.

Keep in mind that the state will not pay you HCA-C wages for caring for your spouse. If you are caring for an adult family member, you will most likely have to go without pay, even if you are a professional caregiver. However, you may be able to get free or low-cost help through the state’s Family Caregiver Support Program.

How to Get Your HCA-C Certification

In-Home Caregiver

To get your HCA-C certification, you need to complete 75 hours of basic caregiver training. Some caregiver agencies, like Sunrise, will sponsor your training and let you complete it within a few months of starting a job. Other agencies may expect you to get training first or pay for it yourself.

Your 75 hours of basic caregiver training should have three parts:

Orientation and Safety Training: 5 Hours

This part of your training covers basic caregiving knowledge and safety practices. You will need to finish this part of your training before you work for a client, even if you have been hired by an agency that lets you begin work before you’ve completed the rest of your training.

This part of your training is often done online. That means you can do it on your own time.

Core Basic Training: 54 Hours

Core basic training covers the skills you will need to work as a paid caregiver for most clients. This is also the main training that will prepare you for the HCA-C test.

You must take at least part of this training in person because it includes hands-on practice in a classroom lab setting. However, you may be able to complete up to 38 of the 54 hours online in some caregiver training programs.

Population Specific Training: 16 Hours

Population specific training teaches you how to care for groups of people with more specialized care needs. You can use this training time to take courses on caring for people with dementia, traumatic brain injuries, substance use disorders, and other mental health conditions.

Most population specific training courses are only offered in-person, but some programs offer online options. Depending on your program, you can choose which population groups you learn to care for.

After Training: The Home Care Aide Exam

After you complete your 75-hour caregiver training, you can take the exam for Home Care Aide certification. To begin the process, fill out the state’s Home Care Aide Certification Application Packet. You will need to mail your application and exam fee to the Washington State Department of Health.

You can follow the process as shown in this video:

After you complete the packet, you can apply for testing at Prometric should then send you an email with a testing date, time, and location.

Keep in mind that you must take the test within 150 days of completing your training. If you wait too long to take or pass the exam, you will need to go through training again.

In-Home Caregiver Training With Sunrise

Sunrise Services offers a caregiver training program you’ll love! Our experienced instructors are eager to help you learn. We offer in-person training monthly, and you can take online training sessions at any time of day.

You can choose whether to do most of your training online or in person. While you must attend a few parts of your training at our Everett facility, you can do the rest online if you’d like. We give you as much flexibility as possible.

Our training goal is to help you become successful as an HCA-C. Since we are a certified regional test site, you can take your exam in the same facility as your training. With our flexible program, you can complete your training faster than you could with another program.

Sign up for our caregiver training program today!

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