Personal care aides
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Overview
Home health aides and personal care aides help people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or cognitive impairment by assisting in their daily living activities. They often help older adults who need assistance. In some states, home health aides may be able to give a client medication or check the client’s vital signs under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for personal care aides are expected to grow by 39%, and should have about 418,400 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
The likelihood of autmoation for ${title} is near the middle of all careers' likelihoods.
Workforce size
Personal care aides, with 2,016,100 workers, form a larger workforce than 98% of careers.
Education
Only 13% of personal care aides have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by personal care aides
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
Fewer personal care aides have bachelor's degrees than 64% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for 97% of all other jobs is higher than the middle salary for personal care aides. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most personal care aides.
This job's median $24KAll jobs' median $39K$22K$38K20142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 81% of personal care aides -- that's a larger percentage than 92% of other jobs.
Gender of personal care aides
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For personal care aides, the median men's salary was 15% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 40% of personal care aides are minority, and 26% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of personal care aides
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (26%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Personal Care Aides per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 28% of personal care aides, and 33% have company-sponsored health insurance (16% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for personal care aides
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of personal care aides who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (64%)
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (62%)
  • Consequence of Error (53%)
  • Time Pressure (50%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (47%)
  • Deal With Physically Aggressive People (40%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (37%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (35%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do personal care aides earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for personal care aides, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for personal care aides compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for personal care aides (BLS Salary Data)
$24K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$24K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all personal care aides, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for personal care aides compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for personal care aides (ACS Salary Data)
$22K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$22K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where personal care aides work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Personal care aides (ACS)
Private for-profit (59.3%)
Private not-for-profit (16.1%)
Local government (5.7%)
State government (9.6%)
Federal government (0.8%)
Self-employed incorporated (1.0%)
Self-employed not incorporated (7.2%)
Working without pay (0.3%)
Distribution: Salaries of personal care aides by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$22K$21K$20K$24K$25K$22K$25K$13K$23K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Working without paySelf-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of personal care aides by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$24K$24K$24K$37K$0$10,000$20,000$30,000$40,000$50,000State governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for personal care aides

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$24K$21K$22K$23K$23K$22K$23K$23K$18K$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
020K40K60K80K100KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Personal care aides and gender

With 81% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 92% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
81%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Personal care aides
Men (19%)
Women (81%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for personal care aides, with the median salary for men 15% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$21K$24K$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Personal care aides have one of the middle percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job higher than that for 43% of other jobs.

15%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of personal care aides

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a higher percentage of minority personal care aides than for 98% of other careers. This career hires a larger percentage of foreign-born workers than most other careers.

Race/origin of personal care aides
White (55% )
Black (26% )
Asian (8% )
Other (5% )
Multiracial (3% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (1% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
40%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
26%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for personal care aides by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$20K$21K$21K$21K$22K$22K$23K$23K$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50KAmerican IndianHispanicOtherMultiracialWhiteBlackAsianPacific Islander
Distribution: Salaries for personal care aides by nativity
$21K$22K$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by personal care aides

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), personal care aides typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as personal care aides as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for personal care aides.

Education attained by personal care aides
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for personal care aides

Home health aides and personal care aides typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, though some positions do not require it. There are also postsecondary nondegree award programs at community colleges and vocational schools.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for personal care aides

Aides who work for agencies that receive reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid must get a minimum level of training and pass a competency evaluation to be certified. Some states allow aides to take a competency exam in order to become certified without taking any training.

Additional requirements for certification vary by state. In some states, the only requirement for employment is on-the-job training, which employers generally provide. Other states require formal training, which is available from community colleges, vocational schools, elder care programs, and home healthcare agencies. In addition, states may conduct background checks on prospective aides. For specific state requirements, contact the state’s health board.

Aides also may be required to obtain CPR certification.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for personal care aides? Below we see the distribution of personal care aides salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as personal care aides, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$20K$21K$22K$24K$25K$30K$32K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KNone (13%)High School (36%)Some College (29%)Associate's Degree (9%)Bachelor's Degree (11%)Master's Degree (2%)Professional Deg/Doct (0%)
Certificate/degree pathways

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click the program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Program
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Less than bachelor's
bachelor's degree
Higher than bachelor's
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Home Health Aide/Home Attendant
1,418
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for personal care aides

What jobs will most personal care aides hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of personal care aides reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Personal care aidesNursing, psychiatric, and home health aidesLicensed practical and licensed vocational nursesRegistered nursesMaids and housekeeping cleanersChildcare workers
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for personal care aides

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 5 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as personal care aides as well as 1% of respondents after working as personal care aides. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for personal care aides
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides
380,800
$0$200K$25K
Maids and housekeeping cleaners
207,700
$0$200K$20K
Registered nurses
203,800
$0$200K$63K
Childcare workers
202,700
$0$200K$20K
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
62,800
$0$200K$38K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for personal care aides: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as personal care aides? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of personal care aides surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for personal care aides
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Cashiers
659,300
$0$200K$20K
1.3%
Personal care aides
418,400
$0$200K$22K
39.8%
Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides
380,800
$0$200K$25K
13.1%
Maids and housekeeping cleaners
207,700
$0$200K$20K
1.1%
Registered nurses
203,800
$0$200K$63K
1.8%
Childcare workers
202,700
$0$200K$20K
1.9%
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
62,800
$0$200K$38K
1.6%
No occupation
19.3%
Read about personal care aides
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Home health aides and personal care aides typically do the following:

  • Assist clients in their daily personal tasks, such as bathing or dressing
  • Housekeeping, 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 (depending on the state they work in), such as checking a client’s pulse, temperature, and respiration rate. They may also help with simple prescribed exercises and or 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, which help clients breathe.

Personal care aides—sometimes called caregivers or personal attendants—are generally limited to providing non-medical services, including companionship, cleaning, cooking, and driving.

Direct support professionals work with people who have developmental or intellectual disabilities. They may help create a behavior plan and teach self-care skills, such as doing laundry or cooking meals.

Certified home health or hospice agencies often receive payments from government programs and therefore must comply with regulations regarding aides’ employment. Aides work under the direct supervision of medical professionals, usually nurses. These aides keep records of services performed and of clients’ conditions and progress. They report changes in clients’ conditions to supervisors or case managers, and work with therapists and other medical staff.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of personal care aides? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Detail oriented
Home health aides and personal care aides must adhere to specific rules and protocols and carefully follow instructions to help take care of clients. Aides must carefully follow instructions from healthcare professionals, such as how to care for wounds or how to identify changes in a client’s condition.
Integrity
Home health aides and personal care aides should make clients feel comfortable when they tend to personal activities, such as helping a client bathe. In addition, aides must be dependable and trustworthy so that clients and their families can rely on them.
Interpersonal skills
Home health aides and personal care aides must work closely with clients. Sometimes, clients are in extreme pain or distress, and aides must be sensitive to their emotions. Aides must be compassionate, and they must enjoy helping people.
Physical stamina
Home health aides and personal care aides should be comfortable performing physical tasks. They might need to lift or turn clients.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for personal care aides
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) for 97% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for personal care aides. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $24KAll jobs' median $39K$22K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$10K$20K$30K$40K$50K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for personal care aides are anticipated to grow by 39% over the next decade; only 0% of jobs are predicted to grow more.

The projected employment for personal care aides is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

200020102020203001,000,0002,000,0003,000,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most personal care aides? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as personal care aides. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Personal Care Aides per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.010.020.030.040.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where personal care aides earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for personal care aides compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for personal care aides.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Personal Care Aides to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which personal care aides earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.20.40.60.81.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Personal care aides (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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