California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Personal Care Aides in San Diego County

May also be called: Cargivers; Companions; and Personal Attendants.

What Would I Do?

Personal and Home Care Aides make it possible for older or disabled persons to remain living in their own home or other residential facility instead of moving to a nursing home.

Most of these workers help elderly or disabled persons when family is unable to provide care for the patient. Some Aides work part-time with a patient. Sometimes these workers provide temporary care while the patient recovers from a hospital stay, while on other occasions, the need for assistance is long-term.

Personal and Home Care Aides provide housekeeping and routine personal care services. They clean the patient’s house, do laundry, change bed linens, shop for food, and cook meals. Aides may drive the client to doctor’s or other appointments, help them bathe, get dressed, and eat. They may advise families and clients on special diets and how to address special needs. They also provide companionship to these often lonely people.

Workers in this field can be distinguished from the occupation of Home Health Aide as Personal and Home Care Aides don’t provide health-related services.

Many Aides work through home health care agencies. These organizations have professionals coordinate the activities of the Aide, placing them in homes and billing the client. Agencies work to ensure the smooth functioning of the care offered by their Aides, resolving any difficulties that arise in that care.

Aides keep records of services performed and of clients’ condition and progress. They report changes in the client’s condition to the supervisor or case manager. In carrying out their work, Aides cooperate with health care professionals, including registered nurses, therapists, and other medical staff.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Perform health care related tasks, such as monitoring vital signs and medication, under the direction of registered nurses and physiotherapists.Critical Thinking
Administer bedside and personal care, such as ambulation and personal hygiene assistance.Customer and Personal Service
Prepare and maintain records of client progress and services performed, reporting changes in client condition to manager or supervisor.Written Expression
Perform housekeeping duties, such as cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and dishes, and running errands.Time Management
Care for individuals and families during periods of incapacitation, family disruption or convalescence, providing companionship, personal care and help in adjusting to new lifestyles.Problem Sensitivity
Instruct and advise clients on issues such as household cleanliness, utilities, hygiene, nutrition and infant care.Speaking
Plan, shop for, and prepare nutritious meals, or assist families in planning, shopping for, and preparing nutritious meals.Service Orientation
Participate in case reviews, consulting with the team caring for the client, to evaluate the client's needs and plan for continuing services.Active Listening
Transport clients to locations outside the home, such as to physicians' offices or on outings, using a motor vehicle.Deductive Reasoning
Train family members to provide bedside care.Learning Strategies
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Although some Personal and Home Care Aides work for the same client for months or even years, most work with different clients, sometimes even in the course of a day. Sometimes they spend a significant length of time with the client while he or she convalesces.

Some Aides work 24-hour days, sleeping at the patient’s home so they are available if needed during the evening hours. They generally do not work more than five days a week, to give them a break from being constantly involved in one patient’s care.

Since Aides visit the client in his or her own home or apartment, working conditions vary. Some clients have extremely pleasant surroundings: air conditioned with very nice furnishings, a wide variety of entertainment options, and fully-appointed kitchens. Sometimes, though, the living conditions may be more modest and even challenging.

In some cases, other family members are in the home, and the Aide attends to specific functions such as light housekeeping and preparing meals. Often, though, the Aide is alone with the patient. As can be expected, some clients are pleasant with engaging personalities while others are unhappy or even bitter about their circumstances.

Some clients are unable to get out of bed without assistance and need considerable physical help. The Aide must guard against suffering a personal injury by learning how to turn patients, help them get out of bed and into the bathtub or shower, and helping them dress.

Aides are frequently expected to provide their own transportation. This can involve considerable travel time and expense.

Personal and Home Care Aides generally work on their own, with periodic visits by their supervisor. They receive detailed instructions explaining when to visit clients and what services to perform for them. About one-third of Aides work part time, and some work weekends or evenings to suit the needs of their clients.

These workers are generally not members of a union.

Will This Job Fit Me?

First, a person needs to decide whether this is a job they want to do. Job satisfaction and willingness to stay on the job usually comes from doing work that holds one's interest. People who like Personal and Home Care Aide work usually have a social interest. This means they truly like to help others, talk to them, teach them how to do things, and provide services.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Since the entry requirements are quite low, pay hovers just above the minimum wage. However, agencies which place Personal and Home Care Aides charge considerably more money, to cover inspections, training, and insurance requirements.

Wages

The median wage in 2015 for Personal Care Aides in California was $21,980 annually, or $10.57 hourly. The median wage for Personal Care Aides in San Diego County was $22,511 annually, or $10.82 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2015Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$19,589$21,980$24,381
San Diego County$20,938$22,511$24,085
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2015 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Benefits for this occupation can be limited. For example, a majority of Aides receive paid medical insurance, but other benefits are provided for less than half of workers (although paid vacation is offered to about half of all Aides).

What Do Local Employers Say About Benefits?  Of the 18 employers in San Diego County, most provide medical insurance, and many provide vacation and dental insurance benefits to Personal Care Aides who work full-time.

Percent of Employers Who Provide
Specific Benefits by Time Base
Benefit TypeFull-TimePart-Time
Medical Insurance61%17%
Vacation44%28%
Dental Insurance44%22%
Sick Leave39%33%
Disability Insurance33%22%
Vision Insurance28%17%
No benefits28%56%
Retirement Plan22%17%
Paid Time Off Bank17%6%
Life Insurance17%11%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

Of the 11 employers surveyed who responded in San Diego County, who provides medical benefits, most reported that they pay half or more of the cost of medical insurance for full-time, and some reported that they pay half or more of the cost of medical insurance for part-time Personal Care Aides.

Percent of Employers Who Paid Medical
Insurance by Portion Paid by Time Base
Portion Paid by Employer:Full-TimePart-Time
All9%0%
Half or more64%33%
Less than Half18%33%
None9%33%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

What is the Job Outlook?

Employment prospects for Personal and Home Care Aides are very good, as the aging of the population and overall population growth will lead to an increased demand for these workers. Also affecting employment prospects is the trend to transfer patients as soon as possible out of acute care and long-term facilities to the familiar surroundings of home.

The number of elderly people, an age group challenged by health problems and often needing assistance with daily activities, is expected to increase. In addition to older persons, others, such as those with severe physical or mental disabilities, increasingly rely on home care.

In addition to job openings created by the increase in 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.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Personal Care Aides is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Personal Care Aides are expected to increase by 51.8 percent, or 200,300 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

In San Diego County, the number of Personal Care Aides is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Personal Care Aides are expected to increase by 52.7 percent, or 10,940 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Personal Care Aides
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2012-2022)
386,900587,200200,30051.827,700
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
20,75031,69010,94052.71,480
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 20,030 new job openings per year is expected for Personal Care Aides, plus an additional 2,770 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 22,800 job openings.

In San Diego County, an average of 1,094 new job openings per year is expected for Personal Care Aides, plus an additional 148 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 1,242 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Personal Care Aides
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2012-2022)
20,0302,77022,800
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
1,0941481,242
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Employers prefer job applicants who are experienced, but will hire those who have no paid experience but have cared for others in their home or outside of the home.

Early Career Planning

High school preparation courses could include English, domestic arts, health, and first aid.

Certification

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) offers national certification for Personal and Home Care Aides. Certification is a voluntary demonstration that the individual has met industry standards. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?


The largest industries employing Personal Care Aides are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Individual and Family Services 79.1%
Community Care Facility for the Elderly 3.5%
Private Households 2.3%
Residential Mental Health Facilities 2.1%
Employment Services 1.1%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

What Employers Say...

About Work Experience:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, most require new hires to have prior work experience as Personal Care Aides. In the table below, percentages may not add to 100% since employers may select more than one time period.

How Much Work Experience
Do Employers Require?
More than 5 years 0%
25 to 60 months 0%
13 to 24 months 8%
1 to 12 months 92%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

About Recruitment:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, most indicate it is easy to find applicants with experience who meet their minimum hiring requirements, while many indicate it is easy to find applicants without previous experience who meet their minimum hiring requirements to fill vacancies for Personal Care Aides.

About Hiring:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, many expect the number of Personal Care Aides they employ to grow during the coming year.

Hiring Expectations
Expect Employment to Increase 56%
Expect Employment to Remain Stable 39%
Expect Employment to Decline 6%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

About Vacancies:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, 78 percent hired Personal Care Aides during the past year. Of the hiring firms, 79 percent filled existing vacancies, 57 percent filled newly created positions.

Finding a Job

 Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Personal Care Aides.

  • Individual and Family Services
  • Home Health Care
  • Community Care for the Elderly
  • Residential Mental Health Facilities
  • Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Home Health Services

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Opportunities for advancement in this career are limited. Some workers get additional education and training to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) or Registered Nurses (RN). Sometimes, promotion within an agency may be possible to an office professional or other staff position.

Some enterprising Aides can start their own home care agency.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Personal Care Aides with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Childcare WorkersGuide
Counter and Rental ClerksProfile
Dietetic TechniciansGuide
Home Health AidesGuide
Locker Room, Coatroom, and Dressing Room AttendantsProfile
Opticians, DispensingGuide
Residential AdvisorsProfile
Transportation Attendants, Except Flight AttendantsProfile

Other Sources

  • National Association for Home Care & Hospice
         www.nahc.org
  • California Association for Health Services at Home (CAHSAH)
         www.cahsah.org

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification39-9021
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Personal Care Aides39-9021.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)SRC
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Home Health Aide/Home Attendant 512602
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Home Health Aide123080