Personal Care Worker: Job Description, Salary Info and Requirements

Personal care workers assist in taking care of elderly and disabled individuals. Their duties may include housekeeping, cooking and transportation, as well as regulating medications. Personal care workers generally hold a high school diploma or GED and receive some on-the-job training.

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Personal Care Worker Job Description

Personal care workers are hired by public or private health care providers to assist in the daily care of elderly or disabled individuals. They typically live in the individual's home providing day-to-day care. Job duties may include housekeeping, food preparation and shopping. Along with these tasks, a personal care worker may also be responsible for monitoring or administering medication under the supervision of a nurse or physician. They may also be responsible for training patients to care for themselves, as well as training family members on proper bedside care.

Personal care workers must also participate in case reviews concerning their patients. These are done in order to determine the current well-being and future health needs of the patient.

Personal Care Worker Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual wage for personal care aides was $20,830 in May 2012 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported an average salary for home health aides of $21,830, at that same time. Additionally, the BLS projected employment to grow by 70% for personal care aides and 69% for home health aides, from 2010-2020.

Personal Care Worker Job Requirements

Personal care workers generally hold a high school diploma; however, this is not required. Depending on the type of hiring health care agency, he or she may receive on-the-job training. For example, those working for Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement agencies must have some level of training (www.bls.gov). Training typically covers topics in nutrition, personal hygiene, personal care and infection control. A criminal background check, as well as a physical exam is often required.

Voluntary certification is available through the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. The requirements to become certified typically include completion of 75 training hours and the passing of an exam. Applicants may also be required to be observed for competency by a registered nurse.

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