How to Become an Elder Care Worker

How to Become an Elder Care Worker: Career Path Guide

If you want to become an elder care worker, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as an elder care worker:


• You want to work in a healthcare setting, and directly with patients/clients

• You are understanding, tactful, patient, gentle, respectful and non-judgmental

• You would enjoy a job that involves physical activity, such as standing, walking and lifting

• You are able to perform duties such as meal preparation, light housekeeping and laundry

• You have the will to enrich people’s lives through caring and compassion, as well as have them enrich your life


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an elder care worker. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, educational requirements, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Elder Care Worker

Although there are no industry-regulated educational requirements for becoming an elder care worker, most employers prefer to hire candidates that have completed at least a high school diploma, as on-the-job training is often available.


Some employers however, require elder care workers to have completed a recognized health care aide certificate program or equivalent. These programs usually take between four months and one year to complete. Completion of these programs enable graduates to demonstrate the knowledge base, skill set and attitudes that are consistent with industry expectations for entry level elder care workers.




Elder Care Worker Job Description

Elder care workers are responsible for providing quality personal assistance, daily care, and support services for people that require short-term assistance or ongoing care, such as the elderly, the disabled, as well as acute or chronically ill patients. Oftentimes they work under the direction of a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN).


The personal care and assistance elder care workers provide typically includes helping clients with daily personal care such as washing, dressing, using the toilet and feeding themselves, as well as helping clients carry out general tasks such as housework, laundry and shopping.


Elder care workers must be able to foster and maintain their client’s independence and trust, as well as gain the confidence of the client’s family and other caregivers. Elder care workers are also known as nursing attendants, health care aides, home support aides, home support workers or residential support workers.



Elder Care Worker Job Duties

• Confer with client receiving care and their family in order to gain full understanding of client’s needs

• Provide information to other health care professionals as required

• Establish and maintain accurate and confidential client reports and files

• Coordinate the delivery and requisition of appropriate services and supplies

• Discuss any concerns with the supervisor

• Monitor blood pressure and other physical conditions, as required

• Provide in-home care including general housekeeping, personal hygiene and meal preparation

• May transport clients to appointments and activities

• Ensure that care is provided according to all relevant laws, policies, procedures and regulations

• Assist with exercises, physiotherapy and other medical plans



Who Employs Elder Care Workers?

The following types of organizations employ elder care workers on a casual, part-time, full-time and contractual basis:


• Extended and intermediate care facilities

• Home support agencies

• Private home

• Hospices

• Assisted living residences

• Adult care centres

• Self-employment (working independently as a personal care attendant)




Find Elder Care Worker Job Opportunities

Elder Care Worker Jobs - Canada


Elder Care Worker Jobs - United States






Skills Needed to Become an Elder Care Worker

In order to become effective in a career as an elder care worker, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:


• Able to work within health and safety guidelines

• Able to assist clients with bathing, grooming and dressing, and other personal hygiene activities

• Able to perform light housekeeping

• Able to prepare meals

• Able to assist clients with therapeutic activities such as range of motion exercises

• Able to effectively communicate with clients

• Able to perform wheelchair transfers



Characteristics Needed to Become an Elder Care Worker

In order to enjoy performing the duties of an elder care worker, you need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your duties as an elder care worker is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.


• You want to work in a healthcare setting, directly with patients/clients

• You are compassionate and deeply interested in helping people

• You would enjoy working with patients and being part of a team

• You are understanding, tactful, patient, gentle, respectful and non-judgmental

• Have an ability to work in a fast-paced and often demanding environment

• You would enjoy a job that involves physical activity

• You have the ability to relate to people from a wide variety of backgrounds

• You are able to remain calm under pressure, such as when an emergency occurs



Other Qualifications Needed to Become an Elder Care Worker

In order to be hired as an elder care worker, employers will typically require you to have other qualifications in addition to work experience, skills and education. These other qualifications may include:


• Possession of a valid driver’s license

• First aid and CPR certification

• Able to pass a criminal record check



Elder Care Worker Salary

The earnings of elder care workers can vary based on their level of education, their level of experience, the size and type of their employer, the region in which they work, and many other factors.


There is no salary information available from reliable sources specifically for the career Elder Care Worker. We can however, get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary level of workers in closely related occupations.


Elder Care Worker Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates occupational group earn an average salary of $31,005 per year.


Elder Care Worker Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Nurse Aides, Orderlies and Patient Service Associates occupational group is $27,469 per year.


Elder Care Worker Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Personal Care Aides occupational group is $19,910 per year.



Elder Care Worker Jobs

Our job board below has "Elder Care Worker" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Elder Care Worker Career: Working Conditions

Work Setting: Elder care workers may work in a wide variety of settings, they may range from institutional settings to private homes. Their work setting may be comfortable or poorly maintained and undesirable.


Working Hours: The hours of work for elder care workers can also vary. Many home care agencies and institutions offer 24-hour service, in which case they would require elder care workers who can work in shifts that could range form daytime, evening or overnight hours, including weekends and holidays.


Work Environment: There is a considerable amount of physical activity involved in elder care work. The work often involves helping people to move, bath, dress and perform other daily activities, such as wheelchair transfers. Elder care workers are required to lift items and be on their feet for long periods of time.


The work of elder care workers also involves working very closely with individuals who are dealing with losing, or having lost, much of their independence. Some clients may be pleasant, which is can be highly rewarding, whereas some clients can be difficult, which can be frustrating and stressful. 



Careers Similar to Elder Care Worker

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Elder Care Worker, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Geriatric Care Manager


Health Care Aide

Long Term Care Nurse

Medical Social Worker



Elder Care Worker Career Information: References

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an elder care worker.


Alberta Learning and Information Service website:

National Careers Service website:

Stenberg College website:

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website:



Scholarships for Becoming an Elder Care Worker

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as an Elder Care Worker. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming an Elder Care Worker: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming an elder care worker. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


Top Banner Image: