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Career profile Personal Care Aide

Also known as Caregiver, Home Care Aide, Medication Aide, Patient Care Assistant (PCA), Personal Care Aide, Personal Care Assistant (PCA), Personal Care Attendant (PCA), Resident Care Assistant (RCA)

Personal Care Aide

Also known as Caregiver, Home Care Aide, Medication Aide

Interests Profile
  • Social
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$20,130 - $36,990 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Service Orientation
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Psychology
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Administer bedside or personal care, such as ambulation or personal hygiene assistance.
  • Prepare and maintain records of client progress and services performed, reporting changes in client condition to manager or supervisor.
  • Perform healthcare-related tasks, such as monitoring vital signs and medication, under the direction of registered nurses or physiotherapists.
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What does a Personal Care Aide do?

Personal Care Aides provide personalized assistance to individuals with disabilities or illness who require help with personal care and activities of daily living support (e.

In addition, Personal Care Aides

  • 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.

What kind of tasks does a Personal Care Aide perform regularly?

Personal Care Aides are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Administer bedside or personal care, such as ambulation or personal hygiene assistance.
  • Prepare and maintain records of client progress and services performed, reporting changes in client condition to manager or supervisor.
  • Perform healthcare-related tasks, such as monitoring vital signs and medication, under the direction of registered nurses or physiotherapists.
  • Care for individuals or families during periods of incapacitation, family disruption, or convalescence, providing companionship, personal care, or help in adjusting to new lifestyles.
  • Participate in case reviews, consulting with the team caring for the client, to evaluate the client's needs and plan for continuing services.
  • Perform housekeeping duties, such as cooking, cleaning, washing clothes or dishes, or running errands.
  • Instruct or advise clients on issues, such as household cleanliness, utilities, hygiene, nutrition, or infant care.

The above responsibilities are specific to Personal Care Aides. More generally, Personal Care Aides are involved in several broader types of activities:

Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
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.

What is a Personal Care Aide salary?

The median salary for a Personal Care Aide is $27,080, and the average salary is $28,060. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Personal Care Aide salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Personal Care Aides earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Personal Care Aides earn less than $20,130 per year, 25% earn less than $23,560, 75% earn less than $31,280, and 90% earn less than $36,990.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Personal Care Aides is expected to change by 32.6%, and there should be roughly 599,800 open positions for Personal Care Aides every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$20,130 - $36,990
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Personal Care Aides?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Personal Care Aide are usually higher in their Social, Realistic, and Conventional interests.

Personal Care Aides typically have very strong Social interests. Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Also, Personal Care Aides typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Lastly, Personal Care Aides typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Personal Care Aide tend to value Relationships, Support, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Personal Care Aides strongly value 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.

Second, Personal Care Aides moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Personal Care Aides moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Personal Care Aides must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, dependability, and concern for others.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Personal Care Aides, ranked by importance:

Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Personal Care Aides need?

Working as a Personal Care Aide usually requires a high school diploma.

Personal Care Aides need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Personal Care Aides

  • 16.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 35.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 25.6% completed some college coursework
  • 9.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 10.1% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.3% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.7% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Personal Care Aides

Personal Care Aides may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, psychology, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Personal Care Aides might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Personal Care Aides

Personal Care Aides must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Personal Care Aides need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Personal Care Aides, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
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.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Critical Skills needed by Personal Care Aides

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Personal Care Aides frequently use skills like service orientation, social perceptiveness, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Personal Care Aides, ranked by their relative importance.

Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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