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Personal Care Aide

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Overall Score
(6.0 out of 10)

Number of Jobs


Median Salary


Unemployment Rate

10.0 percent

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This Job is Ranked in
Best Health Care Jobs #32
The 100 Best Jobs #72

Personal care aides assist people with chronic diseases, physical disabilities and mental ailments by helping them prepare meals, dress in the mornings and go about their daily tasks. Without the assistance of a personal care aide, many of these often elderly people would be unable to complete the tasks of basic living. Compassion is a requirement for 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 Home Care Aide Council in Massachusetts. Personal care aides work in a variety of environments, including patient homes, small residential facilities, group homes and large-scale care communities. Unlike home health aides, personal care aides don’t perform medical-related tasks. Their work often begins post-surgery, after a client has been patched and mended by a medical professional.

Employment of personal care aides is expected to increase by 48.8 percent between 2012 and 2022, nearly four times faster than the average rate of all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is attributed to aging baby boomers who will rely on in-home assistance and seek companionship. There should be more than 580,800 new positions by 2022.


Personal care aides earned a median salary of $19,910 in 2012, or approximately $9.57 per hour, according to the BLS. The best-paid earned about $27,580, while the lowest-paid earned $16,330 that same year. Some of the highest-compensated personal care aides are employed by state governments and colleges and universities. The metropolitan areas of Taunton, Mass., Binghamton, N.Y., and Haverhill, Mass. have some of the highest-earning personal care aides in the industry.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $23,090
Median $19,910
25th Percentile $17,700


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.

Reviews & Advice

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.”

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility fair Average
Stress Level poor Above Average
Flexibility fair Average
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Last updated by Emily Brandon.

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