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Home Health and Personal Care Aides

Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7llPqIH-DdQ.
Quick Facts: Home Health and Personal Care Aides
2020 Median Pay $27,080 per year
$13.02 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2019 3,439,700
Job Outlook, 2019-29 34% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 1,159,500

What Home Health and Personal Care Aides Do

Home health and personal care aides monitor the condition of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses and help them with daily living activities.

Work Environment

Home health and personal care aides work in a variety of settings, including clients’ homes, group homes, and day services programs. Most aides work full time, although part-time work is common. Work schedules may vary.

How to Become a Home Health or Personal Care Aide

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 may need to complete formal training or pass a standardized test.

Pay

The median annual wage for home health and personal care aides was $27,080 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of home health and personal care aides is projected to grow 34 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the baby-boom generation ages and the elderly population grows, the demand for the services of home health and personal care aides will continue to increase.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for home health and personal care aides.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of home health and personal care aides with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about home health and personal care aides by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Home Health and Personal Care Aides Do About this section

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.

Duties

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 About this section

Home health aides image.
Many aides work in clients’ homes; others work in group homes or care communities.

Home health and personal care aides held about 3.4 million jobs in 2019. The largest employers of home health and personal care aides were as follows:

Individual and family services 44%
Home healthcare services 25
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.

How to Become a Home Health or Personal Care Aide About this section

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.

Education

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.

Training

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).

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.

Pay About this section

Home Health and Personal Care Aides

Median annual wages, May 2020

Total, all occupations

$41,950

Home health and personal care aides; and nursing assistants, orderlies, and psychiatric aides

$28,270

Home health and personal care aides

$27,080

 

The median annual wage for home health and personal care aides was $27,080 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,130, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $36,990.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for home health and personal care aides in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly $27,430
Individual and family services 27,360
Residential intellectual and developmental disability facilities 27,300
Home healthcare services 26,220

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.

Job Outlook About this section

Home Health and Personal Care Aides

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Home health and personal care aides

34%

Home health and personal care aides; and nursing assistants, orderlies, and psychiatric aides

25%

Total, all occupations

4%

 

Overall employment of home health and personal care aides is projected to grow 34 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the baby-boom generation ages and the elderly population grows, the demand for the services of home health and personal care aides will continue to increase.

Elderly clients and people with disabilities are increasingly relying on home care as an alternative to nursing homes or hospitals. Families may prefer to keep aging family members in their homes rather than in nursing homes or hospitals. Clients who need help with everyday tasks and household chores, rather than medical care, may be able to reduce their medical expenses by staying in or returning to their homes.

Job Prospects

About 568,800 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.

Employment projections data for home health and personal care aides, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Home health and personal care aides

31-1120 3,439,700 4,599,200 34 1,159,500 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

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 Help on Entry-Level Education 2020 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Child care workers

Childcare Workers

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

High school diploma or equivalent $25,460
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

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

Postsecondary nondegree award $48,820
Medical assistants

Medical Assistants

Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals, offices of physicians, and other healthcare facilities.

Postsecondary nondegree award $35,850
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 $30,830
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 $60,950
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 $49,970
Psychiatric technicians and aides

Psychiatric Technicians and Aides

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

See How to Become One $33,140
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 $75,330
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 $35,960
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Home Health and Personal Care Aides,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides-and-personal-care-aides.htm (visited May 14, 2021).

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 9, 2021

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2020 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2020, the median annual wage for all workers was $41,950.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2019

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2019, which is the base year of the 2019-29 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2019-29

The projected percent change in employment from 2019 to 2029. The average growth rate for all occupations is 4 percent.

Employment Change, 2019-29

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2019-29

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2019 to 2029.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

2020 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2020, the median annual wage for all workers was $41,950.