Personal Care Aides

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Job Outlook:
Much faster than average
Education: High school diploma or equivalent
Average: $30,180.00
Average: $14.51

What they do:

Provide personalized assistance to individuals with disabilities or illness who require help with personal care and activities of daily living support (e.g., feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and ambulation). May also provide help with tasks such as preparing meals, doing light housekeeping, and doing laundry. Work is performed in various settings depending on the needs of the care recipient and may include locations such as their home, place of work, out in the community, or at a daytime nonresidential facility.

On the job, you would:

  • Prepare and maintain records of client progress and services performed, reporting changes in client condition to manager or supervisor.
  • Administer bedside or personal care, such as ambulation or personal hygiene assistance.
  • Perform healthcare-related tasks, such as monitoring vital signs and medication, under the direction of registered nurses or physiotherapists.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Home health and personal care aides must adhere to specific rules and protocols to help care for clients. They must carefully follow instructions, such as how to care for wounds, that they receive from other healthcare workers.

Emotional skills. Home health and personal care aides must be sensitive to clients’ needs, especially while in extreme pain or distress. Aides must be compassionate and enjoy helping people.

Integrity. Home health and personal care aides must be dependable and trustworthy so that clients and their families can rely on them. They also should be respectful when tending to personal activities, such as helping clients bathe.

Interpersonal skills. Home health and personal care aides must be able to communicate with clients and other healthcare workers. They need to listen closely to what they are being told and convey information clearly.

Physical stamina. Home health and personal care aides should be comfortable doing physical tasks. They might need to be on their feet for many hours or do strenuous tasks, such as lifting or turning clients.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Characteristics of this Career

86% Concern for Others  -  Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
83% Stress Tolerance  -  Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
83% Cooperation  -  Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
80% Attention to Detail  -  Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
80% Initiative  -  Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
80% Self-Control  -  Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
80% Dependability  -  Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
79% Independence  -  Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
79% Integrity  -  Job requires being honest and ethical.
78% Adaptability/Flexibility  -  Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
77% Persistence  -  Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
71% Analytical Thinking  -  Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
71% Achievement/Effort  -  Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
69% Social Orientation  -  Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
A3 Your Strengths Importance


100% Social  -  Work involves helping, teaching, advising, assisting, or providing service to others. Social occupations are often associated with social, health care, personal service, teaching/education, or religious activities.
72% Realistic  -  Work involves designing, building, or repairing of equipment, materials, or structures, engaging in physical activity, or working outdoors. Realistic occupations are often associated with engineering, mechanics and electronics, construction, woodworking, transportation, machine operation, agriculture, animal services, physical or manual labor, athletics, or protective services.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Values of the Work Environment

78% Relationships  -  Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.


A3 Your Strengths Importance

Abilities | Cognitive, Physical, Personality

72% Oral Comprehension  -  The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
72% Oral Expression  -  The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
69% Problem Sensitivity  -  The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Job Details

Monitor health or behavior of people or animals.
Administer basic health care or medical treatments.
Administer basic health care or medical treatments.
Document client health or progress.
Maintain client information or service records.
Perform housekeeping duties.
Prepare foods or meals.
Provide counsel, comfort, or encouragement to individuals or families.
Teach health or hygiene practices.
Prepare foods or meals.
Develop plans for programs or services.
Drive vehicles to transport patrons.
Teach health or hygiene practices.
Assist individuals with special needs.
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Attributes & Percentage of Time Spent

96% Physical Proximity  -  To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
83% Contact With Others  -  How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
82% Face-to-Face Discussions  -  How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
78% Exposed to Disease or Infections  -  How often does this job require exposure to disease/infections?
77% Time Pressure  -  How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
77% Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results  -  What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
77% Frequency of Decision Making  -  How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
76% Spend Time Standing  -  How much does this job require standing?
75% Spend Time Walking and Running  -  How much does this job require walking and running?
74% Work With Work Group or Team  -  How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
69% Responsible for Others' Health and Safety  -  How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
69% Importance of Being Exact or Accurate  -  How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
69% Telephone  -  How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
69% Consequence of Error  -  How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
66% Deal With External Customers  -  How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
A3 Your Strengths Importance

Tasks & Values

99% Assisting and Caring for Others  -  Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
94% Getting Information  -  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
86% Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships  -  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
81% Training and Teaching Others  -  Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
78% Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates  -  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
78% Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards  -  Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
77% Performing General Physical Activities  -  Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
75% Communicating with People Outside the Organization  -  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
75% Documenting/Recording Information  -  Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
75% Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work  -  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
74% Making Decisions and Solving Problems  -  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
73% Handling and Moving Objects  -  Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
73% Performing for or Working Directly with the Public  -  Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
72% Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events  -  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
71% Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others  -  Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
70% Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge  -  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
69% Developing and Building Teams  -  Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
69% Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others  -  Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
67% Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings  -  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
66% Thinking Creatively  -  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
65% Developing Objectives and Strategies  -  Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

What Home Health and Personal Care Aides Do

home health aides image
Personal care aides assist clients in everyday tasks.

Home health and personal care aides monitor the condition of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses and help them with daily living activities. They often help older adults who need assistance. Under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner, home health aides may be allowed to give a client medication or to check the client’s vital signs.


Home health and personal care aides typically do the following:

  • Assist clients in their daily personal tasks, such as bathing or dressing
  • Perform housekeeping tasks, such as laundry, washing dishes, and vacuuming
  • Help to organize a client’s schedule and plan appointments
  • Arrange transportation to doctors’ offices or other outings
  • Shop for groceries and prepare meals to meet a client’s dietary specifications
  • Keep clients engaged in their social networks and communities

Home health aides may provide some basic health-related services—such as checking a client’s pulse, temperature, and respiration rate—depending on the state in which they work. They also may help with simple prescribed exercises and with giving medications. Occasionally, they change bandages or dressings, give massages, care for skin, or help with braces and artificial limbs. With special training, experienced home health aides also may help with medical equipment, such as ventilators to help clients breathe.

Home health aides are supervised by medical practitioners, usually nurses, and may work with therapists and other medical staff. These aides keep records on the client, such as services received, condition, and progress. They report changes in the client’s condition to a supervisor or case manager.

Personal care aides, sometimes called caregivers or personal attendants, are generally limited to providing nonmedical services, including companionship, cleaning, cooking, and driving. Some of these aides work specifically with people who have developmental or intellectual disabilities to help create a behavior plan and teach self-care skills, such as doing laundry or cooking meals.

Work Environment

Home health and personal care aides held about 3.7 million jobs in 2022. The largest employers of home health and personal care aides were as follows:

Individual and family services 49%
Home healthcare services 24
Residential intellectual and developmental disability facilities 7
Continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly 7

Many home health and personal care aides work in clients’ homes; others work in group homes or care communities. Some aides work with only one client, while others work with groups of clients. They sometimes stay with one client on a long-term basis or for a specific purpose, such as hospice care. They may work with other aides in shifts so that the client always has an aide.

Aides may travel as they help people with disabilities go to work and stay engaged in their communities.

Injuries and Illnesses

Work as a home health or personal care aide can be physically and emotionally demanding. Because they often move clients into and out of bed or help with standing or walking, aides must use proper lifting techniques to guard against back injury.

In addition, aides may work with clients who have cognitive impairments or mental health issues and who may display difficult or violent behaviors. Aides also face hazards from minor infections and exposure to communicable diseases but can lessen their chance of infection by following proper procedures.

Work Schedules

Most aides work full time, although part-time work is common. They may work evening and weekend hours, depending on their clients’ needs. Work schedules may vary.

Getting Started

High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)
Associate's Degree (or other 2-year degree)

How to Become a Home Health or Personal Care Aide

Home health aides image.
Under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner, home health aides may be allowed to give a client medication.

Home health and personal care aides typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, but some positions do not require it. Those working in certified home health or hospice agencies must complete formal training and pass a standardized test.


Home health and personal care aides typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, although some positions do not require a formal educational credential. Postsecondary nondegree award programs are available at community colleges and vocational schools.


Home health and personal care aides may be trained in housekeeping tasks, such as cooking for clients who have special dietary needs. Aides may learn basic safety techniques, including how to respond in an emergency. If state certification is required, specific training may be needed.

Training may be completed on the job or through programs. Training typically includes learning about personal hygiene, reading and recording vital signs, infection control, and basic nutrition.

In addition, individual clients may have preferences that aides need time to learn.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Home health and personal care aides may need to meet requirements specific to the state in which they work. For example, some states require home health aides to have a license or certification, which may involve completing training and passing a background check and a competency exam. For more information, check with your state board of health.

Certified home health or hospice agencies that receive payments from federally funded programs, such as Medicare, must comply with regulations regarding aides’ employment. Private care agencies that do not receive federal funds may have other employment requirements that vary by state.

Aides also may be required to obtain certification in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Job Outlook

Employment of home health and personal care aides is projected to grow 22 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 684,600 openings for home health and personal care aides are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


The services that home health and personal care aides provide will be in high demand to care for the rising number of older people.

The locations in which care is offered are affected by both policy changes and lifestyle preferences of older adults and people with disabilities. Long-term care services are increasingly shifting from institutional settings, such as nursing homes, to home- and community-based settings. This shift is expected to create many new jobs for home health and personal care aides.  

Contacts for More Information

For more information about home health and personal care aides, visit

American Society on Aging

National Association for Home Care & Hospice


For more information about licensing and certification requirements, check with your state board of health.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of home health and personal care aides.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2022
Child care workers Childcare Workers

Childcare workers attend to children's needs while helping to foster early development.

High school diploma or equivalent $28,520
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide basic medical care.

Postsecondary nondegree award $54,620
Medical assistants Medical Assistants

Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks, such as scheduling appointments and taking patients’ vital signs.

Postsecondary nondegree award $38,270
Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants Nursing Assistants and Orderlies

Nursing assistants provide basic care and help patients with activities of daily living. Orderlies transport patients and clean treatment areas.

See How to Become One $35,740
Occupational therapy assistants and aides Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides

Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.

See How to Become One $63,450
Physical therapist assistants and aides Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides

Physical therapist assistants and aides are supervised by physical therapists to help patients regain movement and manage pain after injuries and illnesses.

See How to Become One $57,240
Psychiatric technicians and aides Psychiatric Technicians and Aides

Psychiatric technicians and aides care for people who have mental conditions or developmental disabilities.

See How to Become One $37,330
Registered nurses Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care and educate patients and the public about various health conditions.

Bachelor's degree $81,220
Social and human service assistants Social and Human Service Assistants

Social and human service assistants provide client services in a variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work.

High school diploma or equivalent $38,520

Information provided by CareerFitter, LLC and other sources.

Sections of this page includes information from the O*NET 27.3 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.

CareerFitter, LLC has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.