According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, home care aide is among the top 10 occupations with the largest job growth.
Home care aides help care for physically or mentally ill, injured, disabled or infirm individuals who are confined to their homes or living in residential care facilities. They may also provide daily care services to people with disabilities who work outside the home.
Home care aides work under the supervision of a nurse who may or may not be readily available. They also work closely with family members in the provision of care. Both men and women work as home care aides.
Most full-time aides work about 40 hours a week, but because patients need care 24 hours a day, some aides work evenings, nights, weekends and holidays, or may “live in.” Many work part time.
Home care aides spend many hours standing and walking, and they often face heavy workloads. They may be trained in how to move and care for patients, and some may have access to mechanical devices that can reduce the risk of injury. Working as a home care aide can also be emotionally demanding because the patients they care for may be disoriented, irritable or uncooperative.
In many cases, you can get a job as a home care aide without a high school diploma or previous work experience. For those home care aides who want to improve their skills, online training is available. Local training may be available through agencies, facilities, groups and organizations. While state certification is not required, professional organizations may set standards of practice for their states. In most situations, there is a requirement to demonstrate competency prior to performing services.
In addition, home care aides who work for Medicare-certified home health agencies must complete a competency evaluation program that meets certain federal regulation standards. This generally involves passing a competency test covering 12 areas and completing a state test.
Some people become home care aides while they pursue education to become nurses, physical therapists, speech therapist or related positions.
Learn More About a Career as a Home Care Assistant/Aide
- Watch the video profile, “Home Health Aides” (which is located in the Health Science category).
- Home Healthcare Nurses Association
- National Association for Home Care and Hospice
- National Network of Career Nursing Assistants