|Number of Jobs:||607,000|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Healthcare Jobs||#23|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#62|
Personal care aides assist sufferers and survivors of chronic diseases, physical disabilities, and mental ailments—many of which are elderly—by helping them eat their meals, dress in the mornings, and going about their daily tasks throughout the day. Without the assistance of a personal care aide, many of these people would lack help with the basic necessities needed to survive. Because of this, compassion behooves anyone interested in this line of work. “You have to have a strong interest in caring for others and an ability to be very patient and understanding,” says Lisa Gurgone, executive director of The Massachusetts Council for Home Care Aide Services. Personal care aides work in various environments that range from a patient’s home to small residential facilities (or group homes) and large-scale care communities. Unlike home health aides, personal care aides don’t perform medical-related tasks. Their real work begins post-surgery, after a client has been patched and mended by an experienced medical professional.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment growth of about 70 percent between 2010 and 2020 for this profession, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This expedited growth is attributed to an aging baby boomer population that relies on in-home assistance and companionship. There should be more than 600,000 new positions by 2020.
According to the BLS, personal care aides earned $19,730 in 2011, or approximately $9.49 per hour. The best-paid earned about $26,590, while the lowest-paid earned $16,240 in 2011. Some of the highest-compensated personal care aides work in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals. The metro areas of Fairbanks, Alaska, Ocean City, N.J., and Bethesda, Md., have some of the highest-earning personal care aides in the industry.
Personal care aides are often trained on the job by nurses, other aides, and supervisors who offer instruction on how to cook for clients with dietary restrictions, adhere to safety techniques, and respond to emergencies. Some states also require more standardized training, which is acquirable through community colleges, vocational schools, elder care programs, and home health care agencies. Formal training is strongly encouraged for personal care aides interested in using the career as a springboard to a more advanced position. With training, a personal care aide can progress to a home health aide. Their experience might also help them to provide a good foundation for a career as a registered nurse.
Detailed-oriented workers with physical stamina and strong interpersonal and time-management skills are the most likely to succeed as personal care aides. Due to low-paying salaries, personal care agencies see fairly high turnover. “A lot of agencies are hiring all the time,” Gurgone says. “So, it’s good to call an agency and see if they are hiring and see if they offer an initial training for workers.”
|Stress Level||Above Average|