How to Become a Caregiver in California

To become a caregiver in California, particularly if you wish to make it your career, follow these steps:

1. Gain experience with older adults as a first step.

Before getting trained and licensed as a caregiver, get a bit of experience either through volunteer work or assisting someone you know like a neighbor.

One, it’ll let you know if you like working with older adults and are OK with personal care kind of work. Two, when you do start training, you’ll understand it all better if you have some hands-on experience. This is good advice for almost any career or vocation! Get a sample first.

How to Become a Caregiver

2. Training for Caregiving Careers in California:

There at least 3 kinds of licenses in CA, 4 if you include Medication Management.

We’re going to talk about three California caregiver certificates in order of amount of training time required.

Home Care Aide (HCA):

HCAs provide non-medical assistance in the home to senior adults and the disabled. That assistance with the activities of daily living includes:

— dressing
— bathing and grooming
— meal preparation
— social and enrichment activities or exercise activities
— laundry or light housekeeping,
— and more

Home Care Aides or HCA’s provide non-medical caregiving.
You can apply on your own or a home care agency (like us) can help you with the application. You’ll find the HCA application for CA here. Main requirements are to pay $35 and pass a background check.

How to Become a Caregiver

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA):

To become a CNA in California, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the competency evaluation exam. The training program typically lasts several weeks and covers both classroom instruction and clinical practice. Review the requirements for Certified Nursing Assistant here.

  1. Be at least sixteen (16) years of age.
  2. Have successfully completed a training program approved by the California Department of Public Health, which includes an examination to test the applicant’s knowledge and skills related to basic patient care services.
  3. Obtain a criminal record clearance.
Caregiver Duties

Home Health Aide (HHA):

HHAs assist with activities of daily living in a person’s home. Training programs for HHAs may vary in length but typically include instruction on personal care, basic medical tasks, and communication skills. Home Health Aide (HHA) Certification requirements are available here.

An applicant for certification as a HHA shall comply with each of the following:

  1. Be at least sixteen (16) years of age.
  2. Hold an active Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certificate.
  3. Have successfully completed a 40 hour training program approved by The California Department of Public Health, which includes an examination to test the applicant’s knowledge and skills related to basic patient care services.
  4. Maintain a criminal record clearance.
Caregiver California

What’s the Difference between a Home Care Aide (HCA) and a Home Health Aide (HHA)?

Yes, these titles are very similar. A Home Care Aide (HCA) works with seniors at home and helps exclusively with non-medical tasks, ie. bathing, grooming, meals, etc.

A Home Health Aide (HHA) has a Certified Nursing Assistant certificate and can help with some basic medical needs as well as personal care needs.

3. Pass Background Checks:

All California caregiver certificates require the individual to undergo a background check. An employer may also require a drug screening.

4. Seek Employment:

Once you’ve met the necessary requirements, you can begin seeking employment as a caregiver. Opportunities may be available through home care agencies, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, or private clients.

5. Maintain Continuing Education:

To keep your skills up-to-date and potentially advance in your career, consider pursuing continuing education opportunities relevant to caregiving.


Kudos to you for considering a career in caregiving.

Remember to check with the California Department of Public Health for the most up-to-date information on caregiver certification requirements.

If you are interested in getting started as a Home Care Aide (HCA), contact us. We can help with the application and possibly offer you your first assignment.

How to Become a Caregiver