What Are My Caretaker and Caregiver Job Options?

Children, people with special needs and the elderly are all groups that benefit from the ministrations of caretakers and caregivers. Read on to learn more about these jobs. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Caretaker/Caregiver Jobs

In this article, we'll discuss possible career options such as home health aide, child care worker and hospice nurse.

Important Facts About These Careers

Home Health Aide Childcare Worker Hospice Worker (Registered Nurse)
Similar Occupations Nursing Assistant, Personal Care Aide, Social/Human Service Assistant Special Education Teacher, Childcare Center Director, Kindergarten Teacher Paramedic, Physician Assistant, Social Worker
Key Skills Physical stamina, integrity, and interpersonal skills Patience, interpersonal, and instructional skills Emotional stability, organizational, and critical-thinking skills
Median Salary (2014) $21,380 $19,730 $66,640
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 38% growth 5% growth 16% growth

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Home Health Aide

As a home health aide, you'll provide in-home care to patients who are elderly or disabled. You could work for an agency, or you might be privately hired by a patient's family. You'll assist patients in routine care, such as bathing, using the bathroom and grocery shopping. You might perform clean-up tasks, report changes to your patient's health, accompany patients to the doctor or make sure they take their medicine. You can provide appropriate physical support to prevent patient injury and help patients move to and from their beds and other areas in their homes.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that you'll need formal training, generally acquired on-the-job, to perform your duties (www.bls.gov). If you work as part of a home health care agency, you'll receive training from nurses or other employees. You also have the option to study at a community college.

State certification applies to some home health aides and depends on the state in which you work. This might require meeting minimum education requirements and passing an exam. The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) offers certification in this field, and obtaining it might help you stand out to employers.

Child Care Provider

If you decide to work as a child care provider, you'll generally supervise children, individually or in groups, while their parents are absent. You can look after children who are not yet kindergarten age or provide care for school-age children before and after school hours. Your duties might include teaching children social skills, supervising their interaction with one another and planning activities that engage children's minds and attention spans. You could provide food and drink to children as needed and perform basic housekeeping tasks. You might read to children and provide them with opportunities to learn about math and art.

As a child care provider, you'll need to maintain a safe and sanitary environment and provide specific accommodations to children with special needs. You could operate a child care facility in your own home or you might be hired privately by a child's parents. You can also work for an organization that provides services in an independent facility.


To become a childcare worker, you may or may not need any formal education. Some jobs require a high school diploma or less, while others demand an early childhood education degree. For example, you likely wouldn't have any education requirements if you want to be a nanny, but you'd probably need a degree or other credential to work in a Head Start program. In addition, there are state licensure requirements to meet if you plan to run a daycare.

Hospice Nurse

According to the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA), if you work as a hospice nurse, you'll ensure that terminally ill patients maintain the highest possible quality of life (www.hpna.org). You can work in a hospice unit, an outpatient facility or in the patient's home to support patients who are in the last six months of their lives, as well as their families. You'll most likely work with a team of nurses and doctors to meet your patient's changing needs. Your duties might include assessing your patients' ongoing health, managing your patient's pain, scheduling physician and other specialist visits as needed and negotiating with doctors and insurance companies. You could also help families monitor medical expenses.


According to the BLS, you'll need to be a licensed registered nurse in order to work in hospice care. To become licensed, you need to enroll in an accredited nursing program, which can lead to a diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree. You'll then be required to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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