Take your passion for people to the next level with a rewarding career as a Professional Caregiver.
The role of professional caregiver has been listed as one of the most in demand in South Africa today. It is a rewarding, challenging and immensely important job that helps change people’s lives, brings people dignity, and transforms how they live.
That said, it is a demanding career that asks you to be calm, patient, compassionate and kind as you deal with people in difficult situations caused by age or ill-health. Caregivers are among the most remarkable people, but it takes a certain kind of person to thrive in this environment.
Caregivers need amazing interpersonal skills, they need to have physical strength and fitness, and they need to be calm in an emergency and excellent at handling stressful situations. This is perhaps one of the most under-recognised roles in the world. The clue is in the title – care giver. If you opt into this career, you will be giving a lot of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally, but you will also experience amazing relationships and a sense of personal achievement that’s rarely found in other jobs.
As a caregiver, the following skills will stand you in good stead:
- You are patient and calm and able to ease the worries of the people you’re caring for.
- Compassion and gentleness are also really important qualities as often people receiving care are in a difficult personal or emotional state
- Reliability and trustworthiness – when you take on this role, people will depend on you for critical things in their daily life. You must be able to commit to being on time and reliable.
- Attentive and understanding. Really listening to someone and paying attention to their needs will make you stand out as a caregiver.
There are millions of people in South Africa who need ongoing care and the support of caregivers which makes this an incredibly important role. If you decide to embark on this journey, you can expect to be rewarded with rich friendships, deep interpersonal engagements, and the knowledge that you really helped people when they needed it the most.
According to Payscale, the average caregiver salary in South Africa is R89,000.
Boost your skills while at school
You won’t need to complete matric to take on the role of caregiver, grade 10 is enough. However, completing matric will be hugely beneficial to you if you consider moving from caregiving into nursing, which is what many people decide to do. It’s a good idea to be fluent in more than one language so consider expanding your skills in Zulu, English and Afrikaans, and to have a basic understanding of Life Sciences.
Vodacom e-school does ask you to register first but the process is as simple as entering your name, a password of your choosing, and the one-time-pin that they send you. Then select your grade (you can change this at any time) and start learning. Read our comprehensive breakdown of the accountancy profession below to find out which role best suits you and your career aspirations and to help you choose the right subjects at school.
How to train to become a professional caregiver
There are many different ways in which you can approach your caregiver training. Some courses are short and simple, but only grant you access to basic caregiving opportunities, while others are more intensive and offer you an accredited certification at the end of your training. Your choice of course will depend on your budget and where you would ultimately like to take your career.
Courses last anything from two months to a year and you can choose from some really well-known companies, such as the Red Cross. This is another added bonus of the caregiver career – many courses offer you the opportunity to take your skills abroad. This role is very much in demand all over the world, so you can invest into a course that provides international accreditation as well.
The following courses are on offer from reputable South African training organisations. They differ in terms of entry requirements, costs and length of study time so make sure you pick the right one for your future.
Professional caregiver courses:
- Nido Health Healthcare Assistant Course – this course is approved and offers you training that can be used to them move your career into nursing.
- Intec College Home Health Care Course – an accredited course with a NQF qualification.
- Robin Trust Home Based Care Worker Course – short training courses structured around your busy life and that will allow you to expand your understanding of the role. It includes practical training which is immensely beneficial.
- TAFTA Care Practitioner Course – Durban-based training course that takes three months to complete.
- UNISA Short Course in Care for the Caregiver – a six-month course that focuses on the caregiving requirements.
- Hospice WITS – a variety of professional healthcare workshops designed to suit different training levels and areas of interest.
- Red Cross – a series of courses designed to provide you with different skills for home and life care.
Relevant links and information:
- South African Government – register as a caregiver for older persons information
- Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa
- Professional Caregivers Association of South Africa