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Personal Care Assistant: Job Description & How to Become One

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Last Updated on October 5, 2021 by ashley.davis

Introduction

If you’ve ever found yourself unable to perform basic activities, you’ll understand that having someone around to help is imperative. You’ll also realize how crucial Personal Care Assistants are in the medical fraternity. This is because we often take it for granted that we can do things for ourselves. Merely being able to feed and dress is an act of independence. For many, this is not possible. As a personal care assistant, you’ll have the opportunity to help those who cannot do simple tasks for themselves. It certainly takes a special kind of person to pursue this career. 

Ask yourself some critical questions. Start by asking yourself if you’re willing to become the arms and the legs of your patient.

Let’s dig a little deeper. 

What Is a Personal Care Assistant (PCA)? 

A Personal Care Assistant (PCA) or Home Attendant takes care of a patient’s physical and emotional needs. This person aids the patient at home with everyday tasks that they aren’t able to do themselves. They can also help several patients who avail of home care services. In most instances, PCAs help elders or those who are mentally challenged.

It is important to note that you will have to be flexible, compassionate, and have a  strong desire to help people. It’s a job that requires emotional and physical resilience, and you’ll need to keep this in mind throughout your career. 

Watch this video for some more information about what a PCA does.

What Kinds of Errands Do You Do as a Personal Care Assistant?

Personal Care Assistant

As a Personal Care Assistant or Home Attendant, you’ll need to run various types of errands. It could be anything from buying groceries, shopping for gifts, arranging appointments, transporting the patient to attend multiple events such as family events, phone support, corresponding to emails, and other such activities. 

What Do Personal Care Assistants Get Paid? 

According to PayScale, the average hourly pay for a Personal Care Assistant is $11.38. A total amount earned can be anything from $18k – $33k. Of course, as your skill set grows and you gain more knowledge, your earning potential grows. Critical Care, Hospital Education, Acute Care, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and Palliative Care are among the most desired skills. So, keep acquiring new skills to earn a better salary!

What Do You Need to Become a Personal Care Assistant?

Personal Care Assistant

To become a Personal Care Assistant, you will need to qualify as a healthcare professional. You’ll also most likely have to apply to various government-funded organizations. 

You may not necessarily need to be a licensed PCA. Still, if you receive a federal payment, federal regulations require you to have at least 75 hours of training, and you may have to take a proficiency assessment. You may also need to take an exam to acquire certification. You can choose to specialize too – for example, you can specialize in elder care or disability care. 

Overall each state has specific requirements, so it’s best to enquire through the relevant organization or staffing agency in your state. 

Find information about Personal Care Assistants in your area by clicking here.

Taking care of others’ needs is a noble thing to do. If you’re considering a career as a Personal Care Assistant, start by looking inward. If you’re confident that you’ll make an excellent Home Attendant or PCA go ahead and do what it takes to achieve your goal. It’s a noble profession that will leave you with beautiful memories. 

If you’re considering a career as a Personal Care Assistant, start by looking inward. If you’re confident that you’ll make an excellent Home Attendant or PCA go ahead and do what it takes to achieve your goal. It’s a noble profession that will leave you with beautiful memories.

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Top 3 Points

1. A Personal Care Assistant (PCA) or Home Attendant takes care of a patient’s physical and emotional needs.

2. You don’t necessarily need to obtain a license in order to be PCA.

3. You may need to take an exam and get certified if you’re planning on specializing in a specific area of care (like disability care).

Conclusion 

Remember, you’ll require a passion for this job because your authenticity and empathy will have a direct effect on how well your patient heals and thrives. Go ahead and make a positive impact on someone’s life!

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