As a residential assisted living consultant in Arizona, I am often asked by job seekers if there is any way to get free training to become a certified caregiver in Arizona. The answer is not a simple one. But yes, there are ways to get free caregiver certification online in Arizona. You can train to become an Arizona caregiver and not have to pay for it.
We have had a great need for caregivers in Arizona for years now. And post-Covid, this need has only increased. We have seen salaries increase for these positions as the demand has swelled. There are many candidates who have the passion and desire to become a caregiver but simply cannot afford the training. With some determination and a deliberate strategy, let me show you how you can put yourself in a position to attend training and get free caregiver certification training online in Arizona.
What are the requirements to train and become a certified caregiver in Arizona?
Let us first understand what the requirements are to enroll and train. Arizona-certified caregivers must be at least 18 years of age, you need to be at least eighteen to enroll. Instruction is delivered in English, so the ability to read and comprehend the English language is also required.
The caregiver course is 62 hours including 40 hours of classroom instruction and 22 hours of practical instruction. Instruction covers the following topics.
- Legal and ethical issues
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Service plans
- Infection control
- Nutrition and food preparation
- Fire, safety, and emergency procedures
- Home environment and maintenance
- Basic caregiver skills
- Mental health and social services
- Care of the cognitively impaired resident
- Basic restorative services
- Medication management.
Where can you enroll and attend Arizona Caregiver Training?
Training institutions for Arizona Certified Caregiver certificates must be licensed by the NCIA Board of Arizona. Be careful not to take a generic training class offered online and expect that training credential to be accepted for employment in Arizona. You MUST attend a licensed training institution to take the D&S diversified test and receive a verifiable caregiver training certificate. You can click this link and see all currently licensed schools for caregiver training.
Can you attend and complete certified caregiver training online?
Yes. As part of the Arizona Governor’s executive order during the Covid pandemic, some schools were allowed to develop and deploy online training programs for Arizona caregiver training. These programs are still authorized. The schools that are authorized to deliver online training are marked in red in the directory linked above. Since programs vary and development was rapid due to the pandemic, be sure to review the capabilities of the digital training and make sure it is suitable for your needs.
Additionally, the NCIA Board is meeting to approve permanently adopting online or digital caregiver training by licensed schools. They have had a couple of meetings and final approval has not happened yet, but I expect this to happen in the next few months.
How much does Arizona Caregiver Training cost?
Most licensed training schools offer Arizona Caregiver Training for about $600. There may be some ancillary fees such as the $65 D&S Diversified testing fee. Some schools will offer either payment plans or financing programs. Contact the training school to understand all associated costs and whether they offer either of these options.
What additional requirements are there to work as a Certified Caregiver in Arizona?
Certified caregivers employed by assisted living facilities in Arizona must have the following current credentials-
- Valid Level 1 Fingerprint Clearance Card issued by Arizona Department of Public Safety
- Current CPR Training Completion Card
- Current First Aid Training Completion Card
- Current Negative TB Screening test, either TST or Blood Test, or signed statement from a medical practitioner, occupational clinic, or public health clinic stating you are free of evidence of TB.
Where can I work after I become a Certified Caregiver?
Caregivers must be certified to work in licensed assisted living homes and assisted living centers in Arizona. Caregivers working in these healthcare facilities must also meet the other pre-hire requirements. Certified Caregivers also have skills that are in demand for Home Care companies that caregiving services in clients’ homes. They understand certified caregivers are well-trained for these services.
What can you expect to be paid as a certified caregiver in Arizona?
Compensation has risen significantly over the last year or two. In the Phoenix metro area certified caregiver pay can range from $15 to $22 dollars an hour depending on the facility and location.
What if you cannot afford training, is there free training to become a certified caregiver?
Often, students with an extreme passion and desire to become a certified caregiver can leverage the current market demand to identify opportunities to have their training sponsored by a prospective employer. They may be willing to pay for training based on a commitment to work for the facility for a certain length of time, say one year. Or they may finance the training by paying for it and then deducting the cost in installments from your paycheck.
The way to give yourself the best chance of having your training sponsored or paid for is buying completing all the other pre-hire requirements and having your documents well organized. This shows the employer that you are dedicated to a common goal and makes them more comfortable investing in your future.
Contact employers that are recruiting for certified caregivers and make your case that you have met all other requirements already and just need assistance in completing the training program. Explain that you have identified a training program that offers online training and that you are able to work immediately as an assistant caregiver while you quickly complete training and become certified.
You can also make inquiries at the caregiver training schools. They often have established agreements with assisted living providers to train new employees. They can direct you to employers that are already willing to provide certified caregiver training for their employees.
Working as an assistant caregiver
Assistant caregivers are not yet certified but meet all other hiring requirements for certified caregivers. Assistant caregivers can be hired by facilities and allowed to work performing direct care in assisted living facilities. However, they must always be fully and directly supervised by a certified caregiver while providing direct care to a resident.
What if you are an LNA/CNA, can you work as a certified caregiver in Arizona?
The short answer is no. Caregivers are trained in medication administration and LNAs/CNAs do not have medication training and are not allowed to pass medications within their scope of services. The good news is that CNAs/LNAs can attend a Certified Caregiver “Bridge” training program that will allow them to become a certified caregiver. Since CNAs/LNAs are trained caregivers except for medication administration, the bridge program focuses on this topic. It is usually shorter and cheaper than the complete certified caregiver training course.
If you have the passion and drive to work in service to our most vulnerable and deserving residents, do not let anything stop you. Use these techniques to show prospective employers why you are the best person to hire to take of our seniors.
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