You’ve spent the majority of your adult life – or maybe even your teen years – caring for one or more children. Or, maybe you care for an elderly parent or grandparent. Either way, your experience in caring for others makes you highly qualified to become a caregiver. From compassion to patience and even just knowing how to handle loved ones when they become difficult, you can put your soft skills to work and make a tremendous amount of money at the same time in these fields.
Love helping others? Caring for loved ones, friends, and even your neighbors can be incredibly rewarding, but it does require a significant amount of patience and skill. Your soft skills make you a great candidate for a full-time career in caregiving, but they aren’t enough to truly become a qualified professional. These insider tips will help you find your path to making a living while caring for others.
Want to Become a Caregiver? Survive and Financially Thrive With These Tips.
Do Some Soul Searching
Caregiving isn’t easy – in fact, depending on which sector you’re in, it may be harder than any other job you’ve ever worked in the past. But the rewards are enormous: stable work opportunities, decent compensation, and plenty of opportunities for growth later on down the road.
To start your path, sit down and take a realistic look at what you love to do and where your skills lie. If your experience is mostly in caring for the elderly, aim for work in geriatrics. If you prefer working with children, think about education, speech-language pathology, or even early childhood intervention instead. Try your best to match your current skills or experience with your chosen learning path; it will be easier for you to succeed, at least in the beginning.
Start by Volunteering
Not ready for school? That doesn’t mean you can’t start developing skills that make you more attractive to schools and employers right now. Contact local nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and daycares and offer your time as a volunteer. You’ll help staff and organizations better serve their clients, all while gaining precious experience making you more competitive and attractive once you enter the workforce.
Start Small; Evolve Later
Let’s say you don’t have extensive training. You want a career in caregiving, but you also don’t have much money for school, and you can’t take time off to attend university. You still have options – and they’re surprisingly easier to access than you might think.
One approach is to pick a caregiving career you can start with very little training, such as Personal Care Assisting or Medical Assisting. While these careers don’t pay as much as more robust options (just $23,000 for PCAs and $34,177 for MAs), they can be a great stepping stone to better things. They also have a lower barrier of entry and completion, finishing in just a few short months.
Early Experience Helps
Getting whatever experience you can before you apply to advanced degree programs, such as pre-med or nursing, can increase your chances of being accepted to your first choice program. Colleges and universities are far more likely to accept you if they see you have prior training in healthcare, education, or caregiving already. That six-month online Medical Assisting certificate program just might be the difference between waiting years to get in and attending an elite school with a scholarship.
Research Career Viability
You spend time figuring out what sector you want to work in, and maybe even which specific career you plan to take. But is that sector really viable? Healthcare is changing, and that means certain industry positions are slowly becoming obsolete. By the same token, other positions are “rising stars” that show dramatic growth explosion.
Use BLS.gov to search for your favorite careers, like Medical Assisting, and confirm how fast the field is growing or how likely you are to find a job within it. In this instance, BLS statistics reveal that Medical Assisting is growing by 29 percent over the next few years – much faster than the national average. The same page reveals an average salary of around $32,000 – not bad for an entry-level position with just a certificate.
Can’t wait to get started as a caregiver? We have great news: you can start studying or explore training options right now, without ever leaving your seat. Explore accredited options for learning at qualified, highly-supportive online schools and take your soft skills into the professional world. Give up the 9 to 5, minimum-wage jobs; there’s a better option out there waiting for you.