Caretaker Job Overview
Caretaker jobs within the healthcare industry can range from home health aides to personal care jobs. Home health and personal care aides provide routine, individualized healthcare such as changing bandages and applying topical medication for the elderly, people with disabilities, or residents of a care facility. In some states, home health aides may be able to give a client medication or check their vital signs under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner.
A typical day might involve:
- Helping clients in their daily personal tasks, such as bathing or dressing
- Providing basic health-related services according to a client’s individual needs, such as checking their vital signs or administering prescribed medication at scheduled times
- Light housekeeping such as laundry, washing dishes or vacuuming in a client’s home
- Organizing a client’s schedule and planning appointments for them
- Arranging transportation to a doctor's office or for other event
- Shopping for groceries and preparing meals to a client’s dietary specifications
- Providing companionship
Caretaker Job Education Requirements
There aren't any formal education requirements for caretakers, but most have a high school diploma. In some states, the only requirement for employment is on-the-job training, which employers generally provide. However, those who work for a certified home health or hospice agency must get formal training — available from a community college or vocational school — and pass a standardized test.
Home health aides may also be trained in housekeeping tasks, such as cooking for clients who have special dietary needs. They also learn basic safety techniques, including how to respond to emergency situations.
Caretaker Job MarketHome health aides filled over 875,000 jobs in 2012. Employment of all home health aides is projected to grow a whopping 48 percent in the next 10 years. As baby-boomers get older and the elderly population grows, the demand for caretakers to provide assistance and companionship will continue to rise. The older population tends to have more health problems, thus needing help with daily activities.
Many elderly and disabled clients rely on home care as a less expensive alternative to nursing homes or hospitals. Those clients who need help with everyday tasks and household chores can reduce their medical expenses by returning to their homes to receive the care they need.
Caretaker Job Salary Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for medical caretakers was $22,050 in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $16,600 and the top 10 percent earned more than $29,250.