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Personal Care Aide

Job Duties

Personal care aides, who are also referred to as homemakers, caregivers, companions, and personal attendants, provide help to people who are elderly, disabled, or sick. Their clients usually require a greater amount of care than their family and friends can provide to them. Aides usually travel to the client's home. They work with small children whose parents are incapacitated or discharged hospital patients with short-term needs. They differ from home health aides because they do not provide health-related services, but rather housekeeping and routine personal care. They may clean the house or apartment, do laundry, or change bed sheets. They often cook and plan meals for their clients. They may dress them, and sometimes bath and groom them. Some work with clients outside the home.

Nurse Assisting

Personal care aides give their clients a certain amount of psychological support. They counsel families regarding nutrition, cleanliness, and household tasks. They sometimes toilet train children who are severely mentally handicapped. Sometimes they may sit and listen to clients discuss their everyday challenges and problems. Personal care aides are supervised by registered nurses, physical therapists, or social workers if they work in home healthcare agencies.

Job Skills

Those types of people who tend to succeed in personal care aide jobs generally enjoy helping other people and working hard. They tend to be emotionally stable and responsible. They are passionate about their work and their clients, and they usually have a pleasant and optimistic personality. They also need to be honest, tactful, and discreet.

Income

In 2002, personal care aides earned a median hourly wage of $7.81. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $5.90, to the highest 10%, who earned more than $10.67. The following shows the median hourly wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of personal care aides:

  • Residential retardation, mental health, and substance abuse facilities: $8.63
  • Vocational rehabilitation services: $8.40
  • Community care facilities for the elderly: $8.14
  • Individual and family services: $8.12
  • Home health care services: $6.72

Training and Education

Training for personal care aides varies by State. In some States, no formal training requirements exist and on-the-job training is the standard. In other States, aides are required to have formal training, such as certification by the National Association for Home Care. Certification through this organization is a demonstration that the applicant has met industry standards. Some States also require applicants to have had a physical examination that includes tests for tuberculosis and other communicable diseases. Personal care aides advance by moving from cleaning to personal care duties, but advancement is very limited in this occupation. You can explore more about training for patient care careers by clicking on this link for patient care technician training.

Employment

In 2002, personal care aides held about 608,000 jobs.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, employment of personal care aides is expected to increase faster than the average. A growing population of elderly people - the population group that most needs personal care aides - will account for much of the rising demand for these workers. More patients in other age groups will also rely more on personal care aides because hospitals are increasingly moving patients out of their facilities and back into homes in order to reduce costs. The occupation also has a high rate of turnover due to the low training requirements, low wages, and high emotional demands of the job.


Personal Care Aide Training

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            About Brightwood College

            Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

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            Education Corporation of America's institutions broaden access to postsecondary educational opportunities.

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            Platt College , Online (campus option available)
            • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
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            • 3 campuses in Southern California.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

            You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.

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            • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
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            • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
            • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
            • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
            • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
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            • Offers accredited online bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctor of nursing programs to help both working professionals and recent graduates advance their careers.

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            •Provides scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid to those who qualify.

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            • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for Physician Assistants in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Dedicated to delivering quality education and personalized attention to students since 1899.
            • Provides a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services.
            • Offers counseling services and a 24/7 crisis hotline to students at no extra charge.
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            • Allows students to transfer credits from non-U.S. colleges and universities after evaluation.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            • Its main campus is located in Fort Lauderdale, with campuses located throughout the State of Florida and internationally. 
            • Provides a Department of Student Services and Resources that assists students with résumé preparation, interviewing skills coaching, mock interviewing, professional development workshops, and more.
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            • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
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            • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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            • Six Campuses across Northern CA: Fremont, San Jose, Sacramento, S. San Francisco, Hayward, and Concord.
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            • Approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with an A+ rating since 2010.
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