Caregiving can be a deeply rewarding career. If you are looking for an in-demand job that doesn’t require extensive education and you want to make a visible difference in people’s lives, you should seriously consider becoming a home care aide (HCA-C)!
If you’re interested in pursuing this track, navigating the different types of jobs and requirements can be quite confusing. First, let’s clarify what a home care aide is.
What is an HCA-C?
An HCA-C is a type of certified caregiver in Washington state. These professionals help care for people who have difficulty with daily tasks, usually because of aging, illness, injury, or disability. They often assist people who might otherwise be confined to their homes.
HCA-Cs work in a variety of care settings. Many work directly in the home of the client providing one-on-one care. Others work in adult family homes, or assisted living facilities where care is provided to many clients during a shift.
What is it like to be an HCA-C?
Home care aides work closely with their clients in their homes. They perform a wide variety of duties, including housekeeping, helping clients walk, assisting with personal hygiene, preparing meals, helping clients get to medical appointments, and providing companionship.
HCA-Cs usually spend much of their time on their feet, moving and caring for patients as well as completing household tasks that their clients cannot. At times, caregiving can be emotionally demanding if patients are uncooperative or in a bad mood.
HCA-Cs can work either full- or part-time, with most full-time aides working about 40 hours a week. However, those hours often include evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays. Patients sometimes need care 24 hours a day depending on their abilities.
Some of the benefits of being an HCA-C include having a flexible schedule and building strong personal relationships with clients. If you want to help people every day, you may enjoy being a caregiver.
Can working as an HCA-C help me begin a career in nursing?
Becoming a home care aide can be a great starting point for anyone who wishes to pursue a career in nursing. With a little additional training, you can work your way up to becoming a nursing assistant – certified (NAC).
Sunrise offers a NAC Bridge education program for caregivers who wish to become NACs. After becoming an HCA-C, you will already have more than two thirds of the training needed to become a nursing assistant.
Should I become an HCA-C?
Caregiving is a good career for empathetic people. Patience, communication skills, problem solving abilities, and a positive attitude are also a must! If you enjoy making a tangible difference in other people’s lives, you may find caregiving to be extremely rewarding work.
HCA-Cs may also need a certain level of stamina and strength since they sometimes act as their clients’ arms and legs. Read more about the skills required for caregiving.
HCA-Cs work closely with individuals who need their help. As a caregiver, you may find that you develop close personal relationships with many of your clients. However, there may also be times when clients are irritable, disoriented, or otherwise difficult to work with. Be prepared to deal with emotional as well as physical labor.
If you have any interest in caregiving, now is a great time to get started! The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists home health aides as one of the top 10 occupations for job growth, with an expected 37% increase in jobs over the next decade.
Some of the only requirements to work as an HCA are that you are over the age of 18, pass a Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) background check, and meet training requirements.
What training do I need to do to become an HCA-C?
HCA-Cs must complete 75 hours of training and pass a state exam to provide care in Washington. These 75 hours include 5 hours of orientation and safety training, 40 hours of core basic training, and 30 hours of population-specific training.
Population-specific training addresses the unique care needs of specific populations a caregiver may work with. These can include clients with vision loss, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and many other conditions.
Core basic training includes a combination of instructor lectures, activities, and hands-on skill practice. This portion of the training must be completed in person. However, other parts of the training can be taken online with Sunrise.
Some employers will pay for students to complete a caregiver training program. For example, Sunrise not only pays for new employees’ training, but also pays them an hourly wage to complete their training. Other employers may require prospective caregivers to become certified before being considered for hiring.
After completing your training, you will need to pass a state exam that tests your home care aide skills and knowledge. Training must be completed within 120 days of your date of hire and the deadline to become certified is 200 days from the date of hire.
In Summary: How to Become HCA-Certified
- Fill out the Home Care Aide license application from the Department of Health.
- Complete 75 hours of training at Sunrise Services or another training program.
- Take the written state exam at Sunrise Services or another testing site.
What should I know about caregiver training at Sunrise?
Sunrise has been providing quality caregiver training in our communities for more than 20 years. We offer a variety of in-person and online training, including the full 75 hours required to become an HCA-C and several continuing education opportunities. Online courses can be completed at any time of day or night.
Our in-person training classes are offered monthly at our Everett, and Mt. Vernon. As an extra advantage, Sunrise is a regional test site for the State HCA-C exam. That means you will be practicing at the same location where you will eventually take your exam!
We not only pay for our employees’ caregiver training, but also pay them an hourly wage to complete that training. If you are not an employee, it costs $595 to take the 75-hour course at Sunrise, including all required books and materials.
Our instructors and office staff are compassionate, skilled, and ready to answer any questions you may have. You’re going to love our classes!