A personal care assistant aids those who are elderly, disabled, chronically ill, physically impaired or cognitively impaired. Personal care assistants generally assist older adults, but they are known to provide services to people of all ages including children and infants. Personal Care Assistants work in hospitals, day programs, hospice facilities and in private residences and provide assistance to those who are not fully capable of caring for themselves.
Personal Care assistants are not required to have a high school diploma. They generally receive training on the job by registered nurses, practical nurses, or experienced Personal Care Assistants. There are courses available for those who desire formal training as a Personal Care Assistant. Upon completion of such courses, students will receive a certificate stating that they have the necessary skills to work in this field. However, most training is received at the employment site.
Personal Care Assistants must have the ability to perform housekeeping tasks such as changing bed linens, washing clothes and other laundry items, vacuuming, shopping for food and preparing meals. Personal Care assistants must also know how to assist clients with bathing, grooming, and dressing. Proper patient lifting and patient handling is a required skill as well. Personal Care Assistants must also have great people skills and an extreme amount of patience. Compassion, care and emotional stability are a must for anyone working in the field.
Jobs and Career Outlook
There is always a demand for Personal Care Assistants; therefore, the job outlook for this field remains high. Employment in this field is expected to grow by over 50% by the year 2018 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The substantial growth is primarily due to the amount of baby boomers that will require these services. Also, the health care industry is experiencing substantial growth, which will lead to the openings of many jobs in this field. There will continue to be excellent job opportunities for those entering this field over the next ten years. The average salary for personal care aides is $20,100 per year.