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Should Family Caregivers Become State-Certified?

Kristen Hicks
By Kristen HicksAugust 1, 2018

If taking care of your parent or senior loved one has meant giving up some (or all) of your own income, you might wonder if there’s a way for you to tap into some of the pay for in-home care offered by services like long-term care insurance or Medicaid.

In a lot of cases, these services require that you hire a state-certified in-home care aide, which rules out most family caregivers that are transitioning from a different career to care for a senior loved one. In some cases, however, it may be worth going through the caregiving certification process in your state.

3 Reasons for Family Caregivers to Become State-Certified

Here are three reasons for family caregivers to consider becoming state-certified:

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1. It Could Help You Get Paid

First things first, it’s important that you thoroughly do your research when planning to become state-certified. Some long-term care insurance policies will pay for family caregivers even if you don’t get state certification and some will exclude family caregivers even if you do have it. In either case, spending the money and time required for certification will be a waste if that’s the main reason you’re doing it.

The same can go for Medicaid coverage. The details of what is covered can vary state by state, but some states have programs that will allow for family members to be paid as in-home caregivers even without a state certification. In states where Medicaid will pay for professional in-home care, many will require going through agencies the Medicaid program has contracted with. So your certification won’t matter if you’re not employed by one of their agencies.

These situations require you to take some time to get on the phone or visit relevant agencies and start asking questions. If getting certified can get you paid like a professional in-home caregiver, then that time is likely to be well worth it. If not, then you don’t want to waste any more time than you have to.

2. You Can Get the Training You Need

Becoming state-certified involves spending time on courses or training modules that provide the information needed to become a good caregiver. That includes learning about basic safety, handling emergency situations, helping with hygiene and learning how to safely transfer a person in and out of a wheelchair.

Chances are, you don’t just intuitively know how to do all the things your parent or senior loved one needs now or will need over time. The valuable information provided during the certification process can help you become a better family caregiver.

Certification isn’t the only way for you to get that training, however. You can find a number of free resources that cover similar information. The Family Caregiver Alliance provides free classes and workshops and Care Academy has a free online course for family caregivers. Try out the free resources available first to see if they cover the main information you need, but know that the certification courses are an option if you still feel you need more.

3. You May Be Interested in a Caregiving Career

If taking care of your loved one has made you realize that you have a passion for caregiving and you want to pursue it as a career, then getting your certification is absolutely worth it.

It can help you become a better caregiver for your loved one now and set you up to transition to caring for others for pay down the line.

The State-Certification Process

To start, you need to look up the specific requirements in your state. Most states require 10 hours of training and some require additional licensure. State certification costs $59. You also have the option of getting nationally certified for $79.

For both options, you’ll complete the online training required and take an exam at the end to confirm you’ve mastered the concepts covered.

Once you’re done with the training and have passed the exam, you’ll be a certified caregiver.

The certification process won’t make sense for every family caregiver, but knowing it’s an option can help you figure out if it’s right for you. Do your research and decide if it’s time to get state-certified.

Are you a family caregiver who is state-certified? What was your certification process like? We’d like to hear from you in the comments below.

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Kristen Hicks
Kristen Hicks
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