Starting your training journey as a care professional

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Posted by Rachael Tom

There is a lot to learn when you first start caregiving, and one of the great things about being a caregiver in Washington is that your union-negotiated training benefits help you provide care safely and effectively, and learn everything you need to know as a care professional.

One of the first things you will do is take the Orientation & Safety (O&S) class. This online course is available through SEIU 775 Benefits Group. In order to take this and other online courses, you will use My BenefitsGet instructions here. If you are unable to complete this course online, please contact your manager or case manager for help.

After that, please wait to be scheduled for Basic Training. When it is your turn, you will receive an email inviting you to register.* 

Once you are enrolled in Basic Training you will be taking a combination of live online classes and in-person classes in your area. Benefits Group classrooms have several rules in place right now to keep everyone safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Basic Training 70 is the 14-day course that you take to become an Individual Provider and pass your Home Care Aide (HCA) exam. It is a combination of online and in-person classes, and this online schedule is an example of how that usually works. (Your classes may be in a slightly different order, depending on instructor and classroom availability in your area.) 

In Basic Training, you will learn a wide variety of things about caregiving, including active communication, problem solving, care recipients’ rights, encouraging independence, promoting dignity and privacy, preventing abuse and neglect, respecting cultural and lifestyle differences, preventing the spread of disease, and food handling.

Basic Training is offered in multiple languages. For information on fully translated courses, translated course materials, requesting an interpreter or providing your own interpreter, please see this website.

If you need a little extra help while you are in training, you can contact a Peer Mentor — a caregiver who has already been through the training and certification process. You can attend a session where they demonstrate caregiving skills online, or get one-on-one help by email or phone. Services are available in several languages. More information on the Peer Mentor program is available online.

Not new to home care? Use your great training benefits to stay certified and keep developing as a care professional. Continuing Education and Caregiver Learning Library are updated with current information on everything from COVID-19 safety to fighting insect infestations.

These valuable resources and trainings are available to you at no charge because they are paid and authorized through your employer and included as a benefit in your union contract.

*⚠️ Because of COVID-19 cancellations and restrictions, registration is taking longer than usual, but that’s OK for now. Training requirements are currently waived until Gov. Jay Inslee declares an end to the COVID-19 State of Emergency or until further action by the Legislature. That means you do not have to complete Basic Training in order to start working. It is a good idea to get that training done as soon as you can so that you don’t fall behind once the requirement comes back.

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