Professional caregiver assists woman walking

Individual and Agency Providers

Individual and agency providers are two types of professional caregivers that assist people with daily tasks such as bathing, toileting, walking, cooking, eating, grocery shopping, house cleaning and more. They perform the same work and require the same training as home care aides.

Female caregiver assists elderly woman in a wheelchair

What Does An Individual Provider
or Agency Provider do?

Assist clients with activities of daily living to help support their health and
independence, examples include:

  • Skin care and hygiene
  • Bathing
  • Meal prep and feeding
  • Walking
  • Using the toilet
  • Getting dressed
  • Laundry and house cleaning

What Is The Difference Between Individual
Providers and Agency Providers?

Individual Providers and Agency Providers perform the same work. The difference is:
  • Individual providers: Are employed directly by the client. The client provides directly supervision and direction, but the individual providers are paid by the state.
  • Agency providers: Are employed through a home care agency. A home care agency is a business that hires caregivers and sends them to client's homes to provide in-home care as home care aides.
Female caregiver helps elderly man shave his beard

To Work as an Individual or Agency Provider You Must:

  • Pass a background check
  • Be at least 18 years of age
Female caregiver assists man with feeding

Read more about training and certification requirements here.

Step One: Training

Complete 75 hours of training approved by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) which include:

70 hours – Home care aide training (Individual providers, agency providers and home care aides all require the same training!)
5 hours - Orientation and safety
Find training near you:
Individual providers:

If you are currently or planning to provide care to a friend or family member who is a Medicaid client, contact the client’s case manager directly. The case manager can help direct you to the next steps.

Contact your local Home Care Referral Registry Office. A representative will help you understand the roles and responsibilities on an individual provider and can help you get started on the next steps.

Agency Providers:

Contact local home care agencies to see if they have any position openings. Many agencies will pay you as you complete your training!
Complete the training on your own. Find a training near you: WA state Department of Social and Health Services: Find a Training Class

Step Two: Training Completion

Once you complete the training, your instructor will give you a DSHS Training Certificate. Save and keep track of this certificate for future reference. After training, you are ready to take the certification exam.

Testing - The certification exam is administered by Prometric and includes written and skills sections.
The Prometric website has lots of tools to help you prepare for the exam, including a practice written exam, skills checklists, and information in 13 languages!
Male caregiver assists elderly man get out of bed
Female caregiver assists elder woman with walker

Helpful Hint: You'll need an active email address for training and certification. You will be notified for training dates and other information only through email!

Step Three: Obtain Your License

After you pass the certification exam, the testing company will notify the Department of Health (DOH) and then you can get your official home care aide license!

Go to the DOH Home Care Aide profession webpage to submit an application for your license.
Licensing - Your home care aide license will come from the DOH.
  • Once the DOH has verified that you’ve passed the exam, they will issue and mail your home care aide license.
  • Please be sure to save and keep track of this for future use!
Average Wage
$17.12 Per Hour

The average wage for individual providers who are members of SEIU 775 is $17.12 per hour in Washington State.

Female caregiver helps elderly woman with a food tray