IHSS Career Pathway Courses: Parent Training and Incentives
If your child receives In-Home Support Services (IHSS) and you’re a paid parent provider, the IHSS Career Pathways program provides training opportunities to improve your skills. Here are the available course pathways with a variety of classes under each subject:
- General Health & Safety
- Adult Education
- Cognitive Impairments & Behavioral Health
- Complex Physical Needs
- Transition to Home and Community Based Living
Training time pay
IHSS providers can be paid their regular hourly rate for training time for each Career Pathways course they take. Each course has a set duration listed in the course catalog, ranging from 30 minutes to four hours, or longer for some in-person trainings.
You must have an active IHSS recipient on your provider account in order to be paid for attending IHSS classes. If you do not live with your recipient, you cannot take classes during the time you are on duty. However, even as a live-in provider, it is best to take classes when you are able to give them your full attention.
Overtime pay applies to training time, so if you work more than 40 hours per week for your IHSS recipient, you will receive overtime pay for additional hours, including hours you spend in training courses. However, these courses do not count toward your weekly or monthly maximum hours for your recipient; they are totally separate from the recipient’s IHSS hours. You will not receive a timesheet violation for attending Career Pathways courses that put you above the maximum weekly hours on your recipient’s Notice of Action.
There is no limit to the number of classes you can take, although you cannot be paid for the same class twice.
Not only can you get reimbursed for attending courses, but the program also provides incentives to complete a certain number of training hours. You can get credit for time spent in courses and completion bonuses for:
- Finishing 15 hours in a single pathway - $500 (you can do this up to two times)
- Completing one of the specialized pathways and working at least 40 hours in a one-month period for an IHSS recipient who requires those skills - $500 (one time)
- Completing one of the specialized pathways and working at least 40 hours per month for six months with an IHSS recipient who requires those skills - $2,000 (one time)
All three incentives can be earned with the same 15 hours of specialized pathway courses; you don’t need to take 15 new course hours for each incentive. The challenge is making sure that all of your classes are in the same specialized pathway; you cannot “mix and match.”
Additionally, your IHSS recipient MUST have IHSS-authorized hours related to the specialized pathway you are taking. For example, if they have a lot of paramedical services, you would choose the Complex Physical Health Needs pathway, whereas if they have protective supervision, the Cognitive Impairments & Behavioral Health pathway may be more appropriate. The IHSS recipient does not have to have needs related to each specific class in order to get credit; the classes just need to be in the right specialized pathway. For example, your 15 hours of Cognitive Impairments & Behavioral Health specialized pathway courses might include classes on a range of conditions including autism, Alzheimer’s, and psychiatric disorders, among others.
Incentives 2 and 3 run consecutively, so you need to complete the 15 hours of specialized pathway courses, work for one month with at least 40 hours of service, claim Incentive 2, work at least 40 hours per month for six months, and then claim Incentive 3.
Note that the Career Pathways Program was originally slated to end in December 2023, so if you were hoping to get the one-month and six-month incentives, you needed to have all your classes completed by May. At this time, course vendors and the Career Pathways office are both informing IHSS providers that the program has been extended until December 2024, but there has been no formal announcement or guidance from CDSS as of yet, including whether or not the incentives are extended as well. We will keep you updated with the latest news.
Finding IHSS Career Pathways classes
Here is a handy guide to the different counties/agencies and their links:
- Offers the most widely available classes, and also offers many on-demand courses, including all of the adult-education classes. The security code to register for on-demand classes is 744016.
- Center for Career Advancement
- This is the only vendor that requires you to stay on camera the whole time. They will eject you from the Zoom if you step away without notifying the class assistant or if you are gone for more than ten minutes. That said, their classes are three to four hours long, and they are the only vendor offering a course series that focuses specifically on autism.
- San Bernardino County IHSS Public Authority
- Uses Eventbrite to schedule and Canvas for classes
- Nevada Sierra Connecting Point
- Uses Eventbrite to schedule
- IHSS Career Pathways (Riverside County)
- Uses Eventbrite to schedule
- Fremont Union High School District Adult School (Santa Clara)
- If you need to drop a class from this vendor, use this Google Docs form as the link to drop classes does not appear on their website.
- San Diego County IHSS Public Authority
- San Diego requires pre-enrollment for their on-demand classes, as they use a third-party course platform and likely only have a limited number of slots on the platform. When they open up enrollment each month, you can click on the above link to register for rolling admission to their on-demand program. Once you have received your login information a couple of months later, you can visit this link to view the on-demand courses: San Diego County IHSS Public Authority Care Academy. Once you have completed all of the courses and received your certificates, your account will be closed so they can make the platform available to other providers.
It's a good idea to check these a few times a week to see if new classes have opened. (You can see the Course Catalog for more classes and dates.) Classes fill up quite quickly, so keep an eye on the websites. Homebridge usually opens classes toward the end of each month.
If you need to miss a class, please drop the class through the vendor’s website so that another provider can take your spot, as space is limited for all courses.
How to report courses on your IHSS timesheet
You enter training time in the same portal where you enter your regular IHSS timesheets. Hours should be entered based on the time listed in the catalog (and on the course completion certificate you will receive for each course). This means that if a class ends early, you should still enter the total time listed in the catalog and on the certificate. Be sure to confirm the course number and duration when you track time for a class, as some classes have the same course title but a different course number depending on whether it is live or self-paced. When tracking time, write the course title exactly as it appears in the course catalog.
Note: Self-paced courses range from 30 minutes to three hours, and while some of the three-hour classes probably will not actually take you three hours to complete, you will get credit for three hours of training time for each one. Similarly, you will receive 30 minutes of credit for a 30-minute class even if it takes you longer to review the course materials. The vendor tracks how long it takes you to complete the classes, so if you rush through a class without actually reviewing the course materials and doing the assignments, there will be a record of that and you may not get paid. Additionally, remember that there are only 24 hours in a day, and you also have to sleep and care for your IHSS recipient. IHSS has denied time entries for attempts to take shortcuts with some of the self-paced classes. In other words, the IHSS Career Pathways office will know you did not take 30 hours’ worth of self-paced courses in a 24-hour period!
Check out our visual guide below to see how to enter training time in the e-timesheets portal.
To claim training time and incentive bonuses, log into the IHSS electronic timesheet portal and click on the drop-down menu in the top left corner. Click the drop-down option for “Time Entry” and select “Career Pathways.”
Then, select your claim type (training time or specific incentives) and your recipient.
In most Career Pathways publications, the incentives are referred to consistently as Incentives 1, 2 and 3. However, the IHSS e-timesheets portal labels them differently. When you submit your timesheet claims for the incentives, make sure that all of the courses have been submitted first. Then, from the appropriate drop-down menu, you will select “Training Incentive” for Incentive 1, “One-Month Assignment Incentive” for Incentive 2, and “Six-Month Assignment Incentive” for Incentive 3.
On the next page, you can enter your course information. Be sure to include the course number and list the course title exactly as it is written, even if you run out of room. Do not abbreviate it or the claim could get rejected. Be sure to include the time specified in the catalog for your course; the certificate of completion should tell you how much time to claim, and most certificates will also include the course name and title. If the certificate does not include the course number, refer to the Course Catalog and be sure to list the course number of the specific session you attended (sometimes the same course title will have two different course numbers for the self-paced version and the live version).
Counties are generally a little bit behind on approving Career Pathways time entries, so don’t be surprised if your claim takes a few extra weeks to be processed. You should get a confirmation email for each time entry that is approved. Be sure to look at the email to make sure it isn’t rejected. If a training time claim is rejected, review the reason given in the email. Most likely, the course information wasn’t entered correctly, and you can submit the entry again with the correct information.