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Certified Direct Care Professional (CDCP)

Older adult laughing with caregiver

Start your health care career

Free training, bonuses, and access to job opportunities

Get a jump start on a new health care career. A free online program to become a Certified Direct Care Professional (CDCP) trains you to make life better for older adults and people with a disability. Becoming a CDCP will prepare you to enter the caregiving workforce, the first step on a career path with unlimited opportunity. Participants in the CDCP program will:

  • Receive free online training and certification testing
  • Be eligible to earn bonuses up to $500
  • Become qualified to work in a variety of settings
  • Connect with employers across Wisconsin
  • Learn essential skills to succeed in a caregiving career
  • Be added to the Wisconsin Certified Direct Care Professional Registry

Visit the WisCaregiver Careers CDCP website to learn more. You can also download the CDCP Fact Sheet, P-03346 (available in English, Hmong, and Spanish).

How can I become a CDCP?

You can complete the online course at your own speed. It usually takes about 30 hours. Topics include safety, ethics, and communication as they relate to health care. Then you’ll need to pass an online exam to earn certification. The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay created the curriculum and manages the courses, testing, and certification. See the CDCP Curriculum Overview, P-03320 (PDF).

What else do I need to know?

If you become a CDCP and get a job with an eligible employer, you can earn a $250 sign-on bonus. If you stay with that employer for at least six months, you’ll earn another $250. You also can earn bonuses for referring friends who complete the program.

What does a CDCP do?

CDCPs care for older adults and people with disabilities in their homes or community living spaces, like group homes. 

The role of a CDCP varies based on their clients' needs. Typical duties include:

  • Helping with personal care, like bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, moving, toileting, and exercising.
  • Providing supportive home care, such as supervision and monitoring, household tasks like laundry or yard work, as well as running errands and accompanying the participant on outings.

Sign up today to start your CDCP training!


WisCaregiver Connections

A one-stop career resource for employers and job seekers

Certified direct care professionals can connect with potential employers through our workforce platform, WisCaregiver Connections.

We are now recruiting eligible agencies to join our free provider directory. This will make it easy for CDCPs to connect with employers after completing their training. Eligible providers/agencies are those that serve HCBS participants enrolled in programs such as Family Care, Partnership, IRIS, PACE, or Children's Long-Term Support and fee-for-service (FFS) providers who serve HCBS participants.

The platform allows employers to:

  • Post job openings
  • Automatically match with job seekers
  • Screen candidate profiles and credentialing details

Plus, when you join the registry, your current staff will also be eligible to become CDCPs and receive bonuses, too!

Providers: join WisCaregiver Connections


WisCaregiver Careers CNA Program

WisCaregiver Careers CNA is a workforce development program. It addresses the shortage of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in the state by supporting recruitment, training, and retention of individuals to care for nursing home residents across Wisconsin. The program is administered by the Wisconsin Health Care Association and LeadingAge Wisconsin. It offers:

  • Free nurse aide training
  • Free nurse aide certification testing
  • $500 retention bonus after six months of employment as a nurse aide

To learn more or to register for the program, visit WisCaregiver Careers CNA or contact a participating employer nursing home directly. FoodShare recipients can also join the program through their local FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) agency.

In 2016, Wisconsin’s chief economist warned of a looming shortage in the health care workforce. At the time, nursing homes reported one in seven caregiver positions were unfilled. Wisconsin’s Division of Quality Assurance and Division of Medicaid Services created the WisCaregiver Careers Program to help fill this gap.

WisCaregiver Careers launched in 2018 to attract and keep nurse aides in the state’s workforce. To do that, the program costs were lowered and training was made more accessible. Today, this successful program has been expanded to increase its impact and reach.

Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment Program Grant, 2018-2021

DHS used this grant to help launch the WisCaregiver Careers program in 2018. It also received federal approval to invest $2.3 million in the program. Read about the success of the WisCaregiver Careers Program, P-02531 (PDF).

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Fast Forward/CMP Grant, 2020-2022

Under this grant, DHS partnered with the Wisconsin Health Care Association and LeadingAge Wisconsin to address the CNA shortage in state nursing homes. Through the partnership, new workers were offered free training, certification testing, and sign-on or retention bonuses.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grant, 2022-2024

A $6 million investment, funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Nursing Home & Long-term Care Facility Strike Team program, will expand the current program, including recruiting qualified employers to host new CNA training slots. Funds will support employee recruitment and success through retention bonuses, employer reimbursement, success bonuses, and mentorships.

Last revised February 22, 2024