Updated: Sep 20
In Washington state, all long-term caregivers are required to be properly certified within a certain timeframe. Being a long-term care facility owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that your caregivers have all the necessary certifications. While their own training is their own legal responsibility, you cannot hire an HCA for longer than 200 days. It is all part of HCA training deadlines everyone has to follow.
Given the challenging turnover numbers and the fact that your business can grow, you need to do your best to find the most convenient solution for your caregiver training needs. You need a training provider that will act as a partner to keep your HCAs certified and their licenses up to date.
That means you should be careful when picking a training provider. Here are some factors that might make your training – and your life – easier, and that you should take into account when picking your HCA training provider in WA.
Is the Provider DSHS Certified?
The first, most basic requirement you should pay attention to when looking for an HCA training provider is DSHS certification. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services must approve the program for it to be valid and for a caregiver to be able to obtain their certification. You can look for courses or check whether the training provider you have chosen is certified on the DSHS website.
Does The Provider Have a Workforce Board Certification?
The Workforce Board certification is an important trust marker when choosing a training center. The Washington State Workforce Board oversees the state’s workforce programs. It also evaluates and regulates the private training centers and programs.
This ensures the quality of the training and protects the consumers. They also handle student complaints, which is another precious fail-safe. It ensures that the students get the best possible training and the appropriate certification.
Not all training centers are Workforce Board certified, but it’s worth it to seek out those that are. After all, would you like to get your certifications from an entity that didn’t go through all necessary certification processes themselves?
Can They Accommodate Your Shift Schedule?
Most caregivers who want to get HCA certified are already employed. Even those who aren’t can start working as soon as they have received two hours of orientation and an additional three hours of safety training.
They can complete the rest of their training and get their certificate while they’re working, as long as they get the training within 120 days from their hire date and the certification within 200 days of hire.
This is important and may make stuff easier at first, but sometimes it can be a problem to juggle training sessions and working in shifts. Traditional training programs usually have a set schedule and flexibility is not a given. One way to overcome this problem is to look into online HCA training.
The HCA training consists of three required components Orientation & Safety, Core Basic (which includes skills lab), and Population Specific. You will notice that many HCA training providers offer partial online Core Basic training, but their skills labs are actually in-person courses. However, there is now an option to do skills labs online, as well.
Do They Offer Adequate Support?
When it comes to education, and especially certification that you must obtain within a limited time, you cannot afford to do your training with a company that is slow to respond.
If you or your caregivers (students) need clarification, information, or any other kind of help, you want a provider that is easy to reach and has well-organized and helpful customer support.
The best way to establish whether that is the case is to try contacting them a few times before you buy one of their training courses. Send them an email, call them, text them – try all of the contact channels they provide.
See how fast they reply and how helpful they are when they do. If you email them and don’t hear back from them within a day or two, maybe reconsider and look into other options.
What’s the Word of Mouth?
Before you commit to any one training center, do your research. The best way to judge whether they are the right choice for you is to hear from people who have worked with them in the past.
Ask around. Maybe someone you work with has experience with training companies – be it positive or negative.
If you don’t personally know anyone who has direct experience with the training company, try looking for reviews online – professional forums are the best place to start.
How Long Have They Been in the Game?
One thing to consider when narrowing down the list of potential training providers is how long they’ve been around. A new business might offer an excellent program, and you shouldn’t dismiss them just because they started out recently. But more often than not, longevity is a sign of quality.
A business has to have customers to stay afloat, and poor reputation can weed out the good from the bad very quickly. Not only that, but consider the fact that, the longer a training center has been in business, the more experience they have accrued.
This experience is often what ensures that your training will run smoothly and that your HCAs will get the best possible training.
Choosing the right training provider depends on many factors, some of which are highly subjective. Think about what your personal requirements and priorities are before settling on your choice.
Always bear in mind that this course is not just about the certificate that your caregivers get in the end, but also about acquiring the skills they will need to do their job well.
As one of the biggest and oldest training companies in Washington, we at Cornerstone have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and the know-how to share this knowledge with our students.
We pride ourselves on our customer and student support – our team is always there to answer any questions you might have, whether they are about the program itself, or local legislation.
We are also the only training center that offers 100% online HCA training, including the skills lab. It is possible to complete the core basic training and the skills lab – online, at a pace that suits you and doesn’t interfere with your schedule.
The Cornerstone team is led by Robin Vanhyning, a Registered Nurse and former adult family home owner. After her extensive hands-on work in caregiving, she gained a decade’s worth of experience in training.
This experience combination, as well as her in-depth knowledge of the ins and outs of the industry, make her uniquely qualified to create the best possible training for anyone wishing for the highest quality HCA training experience for their caregivers.