New Jersey Caregiver Requirements
No. In fact, home care and home health care are different realms in the same arena. Only certified nurse assistants (CNAs) and other licensed home health care professionals can legally provide medically oriented and/or direct patient care.
When you are hired as a caregiver, your agency will provide clear guidelines as to which duties are in your arena and which tasks and responsibilities fall to home healthcare providers.
Understanding Caregiver Requirements & Next Steps
Do you feel the call to support seniors and their families? Would you like to learn more about how to become a caregiver and other, helpful caregiver requirements? Click the button below to learn more!Do you feel the call to honor your elders, make the world a better place, and share your generous and kind heart with others? It sounds like in-home caregiving may be an ideal career path for you.
In addition to all of the wonderful ways caregivers help to improve the lives of their clients and families, caregiving shifts are flexible and can be tailored to meet the demands of your personal and family schedule.
What Qualifications Do I Need To Become A Caregiver?
A big heart and a fair amount of patience are certainly valuable. However, more “professional” qualifications vary from state-to-state and agency-to-agency.
There is a large demand for caregivers right now, so many senior care agencies are happy to hire strong candidates based on their interpersonal skills, and will subsidize any further professional education or training required.
Here in New Jersey, professional home care aides are called certified home health aides (CHHAs) and there are certification and continuing education and training programs offered to meet the certification requirements.
Similar training and certification are also required in New York and Delaware. We’ll cover that further below. That said, other caregiver requirements are every bit as important and – some might advocate – even more important than nuts-and-bolts education and training.
How Old Do I Have To Be?
Caregivers must be 18-years old or older.
Caregivers need to be legal adults because they bear a tremendous responsibility. Their executive function must be rooted in a certain level of life experience and maturity. This ensures the ability to meet whatever a shift may bring and feel confident using the resources provided to them by their agency and client in case a critical medical, emotional, or safety emergency arises.
Do I Have To Have A College Degree?
No, not at all. You must have completed high school or passed an accredited high school equivalency exam (such as the GED).
In fact, many of our adult caregivers appreciate the flexibility of caregiving shifts because they accommodate the schedule when they are ready to attend junior college, university, or a trade school.
If you have taken additional education courses or studied elsewhere, it’s worth noting your complete education history, even if you never finished or graduated.
What Additional Soft Skills Are Preferred?
Other soft skills (meaning things that can’t be taught in a classroom or verified by a certification or license) include:
- Communication skills (Being an introvert is just fine, but you do need to willingly and pleasantly hold, initiate, and participate in conversations with clients, their family members, and your agency team members.)
- Observation skills (Senior caregivers must be very alert and attuned to their clients, observing and noting any changes that may require a shift in the care plan or would trigger a call to the case manager and/or the family.)
- Time management
- Punctuality and consistency
- The ability to manage your physical/mental/emotional health-
- Prior experience caring for a loved one (While not essential, many caregivers go “pro” after they experienced caregiving for a loved one at home. Personal experience gives you a level of true sympathy for the clients and their family members.)
The above are some of the most important “skills” or personal traits agencies look for when hiring new staff.
What Are CHAA Requirements In New Jersey And The Surrounding States?
As mentioned before, New Jersey prefers professional caregivers to become licensed through state-approved programs. While it can be helpful to become certified before applying for jobs, many agencies are willing to hire uncertified prospects and allow you to complete your formal certification within a stated period of time.
Once you are certified, you must show proof of continuing education credits and pay a small fee to maintain the certification from year to year. Visit the NJ Consumer Affairs Certified Homemaker-Health Aides page to learn more about that path.
In New York, CHAAs are also required to take and pass a home health aide certification program to be listed on the state’s registry. You can read more about that on the state’s Home Care – Information for Home Care Professionals page. The state of Delaware has similar requirements, and you can read more about them here.
Although these programs are not identical, they typically range from roughly 60 to 75 hours (or more) of classroom learning and training and usually include some amount of supervised clinical experience as well.
Are There Other Helpful Licenses Or Credentials Worth Knowing About?
Yes. While never mandatory (although they will be once you are hired), it is a good idea to have your basic first aid and CPR training, which are available from the American Red Cross as well as The American Heart Association.
Then, there are all other types of “life experience” worth mentioning. For example:
- Do you sing?
- Play an instrument?
- Are you an expert card player?
- Have scrapbooking experience?
- Do you garden?
- Love pets?
- Have formal dance training/experience?
Companionship is one of the most common services provided by caregivers so your well-rounded skillset makes you more easily placed with clients based on their interests.
Does Being Bilingual Help?
This can also be a tremendous boost to your resume. While you must be a fluid English speaker, our clients speak a myriad of native languages, from Spanish and Chinese to Tagalog, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, and more.
In their senior years, and especially if they have dementia, Alzheimer’s, or more serious physical conditions, clients often find it easier and more comforting to speak in their native languages. Therefore, we try to pair them with multilingual caregivers who can accommodate them as much as possible.
To find out more information on how to become a caregiver in New Jersey you can give us a call at (866) 377-2903 or learn even more with the link below.