Getting a job as a Personal Care Assistant is a great way to test the waters and determine if a career in home health care is for you. Personal care aides work in peoples’ homes assisting them with many common household tasks. Unlike Home Health Aides which are required to have taken at least 75 hours of classes, personal care assistants typically are only required to have completed a First Aide and CPR course. PCA’s earn slightly less than Home Health Aides, but because of the minimal education requirements it is a great entry level position for anyone who thinks they want to enter the healthcare industry.
Personal Care Assistant Training
As mention, the only training required to obtain employment as a Personal Care Aide is completion of an American Red Cross approved CPR and First Aid class. Because demand is so high for home health care providers, most agencies will hire you before you have taken the CPR course since it can easily be completed online in less than a day. Post employment training may be required depending on the agency you work for, but most of that training will be centered around company policies and procedures and will almost always be provided by your employer.
Personal Care Assistant Duties
As a personal care assistant your job responsibilities will be more centered around assisting the client with mobility, companionship, and general housekeeping. A common job for a personal care aide would be to visit an otherwise healthy elderly person for a couple of hours several days per week. During these visits you might prepare meals, do laundry, prepare a grocery list, or simply do light cleaning around the house. Another common job scenario for a personal care assistant would be to assist a disabled or handicapped client start their day. You may arrive early in the morning and assist them with getting out of bed, bathing, dressing, and possibly preparing meals for the day.
Ultimately, the main thing that a personal care assistant provides is companionship. Most of your clients will be individuals that do not have anyone else that is able to assist them with their day to day lives, or they may be an elderly person that has lost their spouse and may not have any other relatives nearby. In these cases you may be the only person they have regular contact with, and therefore by default, you will become their primary companion. You must take this role very seriously, and it is something you must consider before choosing to take on such a huge responsibility.
What is the Next Career Move for a Personal Care Assistant?
Once you have worked as a personal care assistant and have decided that you enjoy your career but would like to start earning more income, it is now time to look into furthering your education and moving up the job ladder. The most likely path would be for you to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, then continue with the additional Home Health Aide certification classes. Earning these certifications will open up several job possibilities and will certainly increase your salary. The good news is that if time is an obstacle, you can even keep your current job and take most of your CNA classes online so that your life will not be interrupted.
Personal Care Assistant jobs are truly the gateway to long and successful careers in the health care industry, why not get started now!
- AS - Medical Assisting and Administration
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- AA: Medical Office Assistance