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What Is a Sitter and How to Become One

What Is a Pet Sitter?

A pet sitter cares for pets for variable periods of time while the owner is unavailable. This ranges from a few hours per day to month-long vacations and longer. There are many kinds of pets that need care, from fish, dogs, cats, and rabbits, to reptiles, rodents, and birds. Some pet sitters are asked to visit the owner’s home to take care of the pet various times per day or overnight. Your clients may want to board their pets at your house. The tasks required depend on the pet, but dog walking, companionship, feeding, and playing are the most common.

How to Become a Sitter

While Sitter positions vary and may apply to a range of possible clients, the most traditional role is entry-level. As such, aspiring Sitters don’t need extensive schooling or credentials, but certain personality traits and basic training are key. For example, Sitters who work with babies and young children should know how to change, feed, bathe, and generally provide care for children of those age groups. All Sitters, no matter the age of your client, should be comfortable performing minor housework and some cooking. While not necessarily required, Sitters may consider obtaining an up-to-date CPR and First Aid certification. For Sitters who work with elderly or ill clients, you should possess a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) license. If you’re interested in becoming a Sitter, you should be comfortable working nights, weekends, holidays, and other less traditional hours.

What Are the Different Types of Sitter Jobs?

Sitter jobs vary widely, with some requiring a license or industry experience. The most common sitter positions include patient sitters, elderly/companion caregiver, dog sitter, pet sitter, house sitter, childcare provider, babysitter, and nanny. A babysitter is an entry-level job, often but not always done by young people, useful for transitioning into a career as a full-time nanny or doula. A patient sitter is an entry-level position for someone with a CNA license (Certified Nursing Assistant) or who is currently a nursing student looking for hospital or elderly care experience.

How to Get a Job as a Patient Sitter

A patient sitter (also termed companion or patient observer) is an entry-level hospital, nursing home, and extended care facility job encompassing a number of related duties. To get this type of position you must possess strong interpersonal skills, some computer experience, and CPR certification. Clinical experience is preferred, and all applicants should have at least some knowledge of medical terminology. Many hospitals do not hire sitters, and the positions are given to CNAs. Some hospitals provide online applications or utilize recruiting services.

What Do Babysitters Do?

Babysitters are responsible for the wellbeing of children from infants to about age 13. It’s advisable to be trained in First-Aid and CPR. Expected tasks may include food or bottle preparation with careful attention to food allergies, light housekeeping, providing activities for the child and playing with them, transporting them to and from school, maintaining a schedule set by the parents, naptime, giving medication, changing diapers, and more. You may have to help with homework after school, put them to bed, read, give time-outs, and console them if they become upset. You must address injuries if they occur and make decisions as to whether it is necessary to call the parents or if certain situations can wait until they return. It is often preferable to keep a structured yet creative and fun environment. Patience is a necessity. Requirements vary between families.