Working in the USA is a dream for many caregivers. For one, the country is just a really great place to live in. For another, caregivers in the USA are paid really well; in fact one of the highest in the world. Plus, there is a shortage of healthcare workers in general, so a job is almost always assured if you qualify.
If you wish to work in the USA as a caregiver, then you may have lots of questions in your head. In this article, some of these questions will be answered for you, thanks to an OFW caregiver who shared her experiences through YouTube.
Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on their video on their accounts.
FAQs About Caregivers Working in the USA
In this article, Lyn from Jerseylife talks about caregiving and caregivers. In particular, she discusses how much caregivers earn in New Jersey, USA. She did mention that every state has a different policy, so salaries may vary from one state to the next. See the full video below:
How to Become a Caregiver in the USA
She first arrived in the USA back in 2011. After complying all the necessary documents and requirements, including visa processing, she went to school to study and become a CNA (a certified nursing assistant).
So what are the requirements so you can enroll in CNA school? Well, she was asked to submit, among others, a high school diploma. To graduate, she needed to complete 90 hours of school; 50 classroom hours and 40 clinic hours of training.
After completing the 90 hours, there will be a final examination which you need to pass. The exam includes a clinical skill test. In that test, you need to demonstrate that you know all the most important skills that caregivers need to know.
These skills include proper handwashing, washing the dentures of the client or patient, feeding the client or patient, transferring patient from bed to chair, chair to bed, and more.
You need to pass this skill test before taking another test. This next test is called the knowledge test. This is an oral examination, and if you pass this one as well, you will finally be recognized as a certified nursing assistant.
More on the oral exam; you have a two-year time frame to retake if you don’t pass the first time. For example, if you failed the first time you took the oral test, you will have to wait for another year to take another exam.
If within two years you didn’t pass, you will have to study again and basically go back to square one. Therefore, it’s really a must that you pass on your first try, especially since studying to become a CNA is not cheap.
In fact, back in 2012 when our YouTuber enrolled for that CNA certificate, she spent more than 1000 dollars. If you find yourself in this position, then in preparing for the exams, all you have to do is take time studying and reviewing. You have to devote several hours in a day to studying for the exam because you want to pass it at the first go.
After getting the certificate and license to be a CNA, you can now apply for a job as a caregiver.
As mentioned above, to be a qualified caregiver, you need to be a licensed Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA. However, there is another kind of caregiver called the CHHA which she did not mention.
Starting Work as a Caregiver
Our YouTuber mentioned that her experiences during the job hunt was very challenging, although nowadays she just laughs about it, realizing she learned to be stronger and wiser because of those challenges.
At the start, she thought she would get a job right away because of her license. She did go out and applied for several caregiving jobs in hospitals and through agencies. Unfortunately, most hospitals she applied for preferred those with work experience.
This puts here in a dilemma; how can she get the experience she needs when no one would hire her? Well, she realized that her chances of getting a job were probably better through an agency.
She got accepted and so that was the start of her experience as a caregiver.
Salary of a Beginner Caregiver
In this video, Lyn answered questions from her YouTube audience, and one of the questions was: as a beginner, how much did you earn? Were paid on an hourly or a daily basis?
As a fresh CNA graduate, her first pay was 10 dollars and 50 cents per hour. She worked at an agency who sent her out to work for a homecare facility. In this job, she had to go from one house to another, taking care of her multiple clients.
After a year of working for the agency, her performance was evaluated. One thing they looked at was whether she was constantly on time for work. They also asked he clients to know if she took care of them well.
Because of the good report they got from her performance, the agency increased her salary to 11 dollars per hour.
On Kindness of Patients and Co-workers
She said that if you treat your patients good, they will also treat you good. She also said that her co-workers are kind as well. However, she said that you must stay away from when people are arguing, when they are gossiping, etc. Just do your job and set certain limits and boundaries for yourself.
You have to do this so that you can stay away from conflicts. Most of the time, based on her experience, conflict among co-workers arise from gossip. This happens when workers say bad things about other co-workers and undermine them. It’s better to stay away from these. Again, just do your job so that you don’t get involved in conflict.
Salary of Professional Caregivers
Professional caregivers are those that are certified CNAs that work in hospitals. Based on what she heard from others in New Jersey, the starting salary is 17 dollars per hour.
You can definitely earn more if you work in a hospital. Moreover, the salary is also high if you work in a long term facility. These include nursing homes; they can also earn 17 dollars per hour as a starting salary.
The good thing about working in nursing homes and other long term care facilities is that you only have to work 8 hours a day. Beyond that is considered overtime, and you get paid more for working beyond regular hours.
Overtime pay is actually time and a half. That means, if you’re earning 17 dollars per hour for regular work hours, each overtime hour will give you an additional half of 17 dollars, which is 8.5 dollars. That means overtime pay is actually a very high 25.5 dollars per hour.
This is not the case for all facilities, though. There are other facilities that require caregivers to work 40 hours a week, and any hour that goes beyond 40 hours is now categorized as overtime.
She mentioned that she has a friend working at a long term facility. She said that their overtime policy is such that you are required to work 8 hours a day, and if you go beyond those hours for that particular day, then that is already considered overtime.
This is better in many ways. For one, you don’t have to work 40 hours a week before you can get overtime pay. As you can see, if you are a caregiver that is willing to work beyond regular hours, you will really earn a lot of money.
Difficulties of Being a Caregiver
The salary of a caregiver may be high, but it is a very challenging profession. But if you develop a love for this career, then you will find that it is a very rewarding one.
The nature of the work itself makes it quite difficult. For one, you work long hours in a day. For another, it is a physically tasking job. There’s a lot of lifting involved, rolling, lots of cleaning, and more.
You really need to be physically fit and strong to be successful in this job. Not only that, you need to be energetic and mentally attentive at all times. You need to focus on the job at hand.
Despite these challenges, being a caregiver has its perks. Aside from the high salary, if you have a passion for taking care of elders, those who are in need of care and help, then you will really enjoy this job.
In fact, the only true way of being a successful caregiver is to have the heart to be one in the first place. You have to be dedicated and devoted to your job. You can’t just say you want to be a caregiver because of the high salary. Your heart needs to be in it, too.
Otherwise, you won’t last very long in this profession.
If you’re not happy with your job as a caregiver, you won’t be motivated to sacrifice time. It is a time demanding job. You have to be where you need to be, rain or shine, good weather condition or not, you need to be with your patient.
There you have it. Aside from the salary, this article shows you what life is like as a caregiver in the US. Sounds interesting? Well, check out the other articles in this website, or visit our YouTuber’s page for similar content.