Personal and Home Care Aide Jobs

Training and Education Jobs and Salaries

Personal and home care aides hold over 770,000 jobs. The majority of personal and home care aide jobs are in home health care services, individual and family services, residential care facilities, and private households. About eight percent of personal and home care aides are self-employed.

Excellent job opportunities are expected for this occupation because rapid employment growth and high replacement needs are projected to produce a large number of job openings. Employment of personal and home care aides is projected to grow by 51 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This occupation will be amongst the occupations adding the most new jobs, growing by about 390,000 jobs. The expected growth is due, in large part, to the projected rise in the number of elderly people, an age group that often has mounting health problems and that needs some assistance with daily activities.

The elderly and other patients, such as the mentally disabled, increasingly rely on home care. This trend reflects several developments. Inpatient care in hospitals and nursing homes can be extremely expensive, so more patients return to their homes from these facilities as quickly as possible to contain costs. Patients who need assistance with everyday tasks and household chores rather than medical care can reduce medical expenses by returning to their homes.

Furthermore, most patients particularly the elderly increasingly prefer care in their homes rather than in nursing homes or other in-patient facilities. This trend is aided by the realization that treatment can be more effective in familiar surroundings. Finally, home care has become easier and more feasible with the development of better medical technologies for in-home treatment. In addition to job openings created by the increased demand for these workers, replacement needs are expected to lead to many openings.

The relatively low skill requirements, low pay, and high emotional demands of the work result in high replacement needs. For these same reasons, many people are reluctant to seek jobs in the occupation and therefore, persons who are interested in and suited for this work particularly those with experience or training as personal care, home health, or nursing aides should have excellent job prospects.

Median hourly earnings of wage and salary personal and home care aides are around $9.00. The middle 50 percent earn between $8.10 and $10.20 an hour. The lowest ten percent earn less than $8.05, and the highest ten percent earn more than $11.60 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of personal and home care aides are as follows: residential mental retardation facilities pay around $9.60 per hour, services for the elderly and persons with disabilities pay about $9.20 per hour and home health care services pay around $8.00 per hour.

Most employers give slight pay increases with experience and added responsibility. Aides usually are paid only for the time they work in the home, not for travel time between jobs. Employers often hire on-call hourly workers and provide no benefits. More information about employment opportunities may be obtained from local hospitals, nursing care facilities, home health care agencies, psychiatric facilities, residential mental health facilities, social assistance agencies, and local offices of the State employment service.