Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides: Careers That Help

by Kate Williams

What do home health aides do and why is it a best career for the ESFJ? Home healthcare aids and personal care aides help people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or cognitive impairment by assisting in their daily living activities. Because of this, it is best career for the ESFJ.

Personality Type Match: ESFJ

This is a good career for the ESFJ, or provider personality type because they are innately wired to help people. This job not only helps, but it helps the most vulnerable people — the elderly and or disabled. ESFJs are social and can read people’s emotions quite easily. They want people to be comfortable and communicate on an emotional level.

Career Interests: Social, Realistic

These jobs are hands-on, and involve a lot of interaction with people. If your career interests are social and realistic, home healthcare or personal aide is possibly something you would enjoy doing.

  • Social occupations involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Work Values This Career Supports

If you want a job that offers meaningful relationships in a non-competitive workplace and plenty of freedom to make decisions, home healthcare aide or personal aide fits the bill. This profession fulfills the following work values.

  • Relationships — These jobs provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. .
  • Support — A supportive job has management that stands behind its employees.
  • Independence — These careers allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Work Environment

Home health aides and personal care aides work in a variety of settings, including clients’ homes, group homes, and day services programs.

How to Become a Home Health Aide or Personal Care Aide

Home health aides and personal care aides typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, though some positions do not require it. Those working in certified home health or hospice agencies must complete formal training and pass a standardized test.

Home Health Aide Pay

The median annual wage for home health aides and personal care aides was $25,280 in May 2019.

Job Outlook: Fantastic

Overall employment of home health aides and personal care aides is projected to grow 34 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

As the baby-boom generation ages and the elderly population grows, the demand for the services of home health aides and personal care aides will continue to increase.

Home health aides and personal care aides help people with disabilities, chronic illness, or cognitive impairment by assisting in their daily living activities.

They often help older adults who need assistance. Home health aides may be able to give a client medication or check the client’s vital signs under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner.

Job Duties

Home health aides and personal care aides typically do the following:

  • Assist clients in their daily personal tasks, such as bathing or dressing
  • Housekeeping, such as laundry, washing dishes, and vacuuming
  • Help to organize a client’s schedule and plan appointments
  • Arrange transportation to doctors’ offices or other outings
  • Shop for groceries and prepare meals to meet a client’s dietary specifications
  • Keep clients engaged in their social networks and communities

Home Health Aides vs Personal Care Aides

Home health aides may provide some basic health-related services (depending on the state they work in), such as checking a client’s pulse, temperature, and respiration rate.

They may also help with simple prescribed exercises and or with giving medications. Occasionally, they change bandages or dressings, give massages, care for skin, or help with braces and artificial limbs. With special training, experienced home health aides also may help with medical equipment such as ventilators, which help clients breathe.

Personal care aides—sometimes called caregivers or personal attendants—are generally limited to providing non-medical services, including companionship, cleaning, cooking, and driving.

Direct support professionals work with people who have developmental or intellectual disabilities. They may help create a behavior plan and teach self-care skills, such as doing laundry or cooking meals.

Certified Home Health Aides

Certified home health or hospice agencies often receive payments from government programs and therefore must comply with regulations regarding aides’ employment.

Aides work under the direct supervision of medical professionals, usually nurses. These aides keep records of services performed and of clients’ conditions and progress.

They report changes in clients’ conditions to supervisors or case managers, and work with therapists and other medical staff.

Home health aides and personal care aides held about 3.4 million jobs in 2019. The largest employers of home health aides and personal care aides were as follows:

Individual and family services44%
Home healthcare services25
Residential intellectual and developmental disability facilities7
Continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly7

Most home health aides and personal care aides work in clients’ homes; others work in small group homes or larger care communities. Some visit four or five clients in the same day, and others only work with one client all day—in some cases staying with one client on a long-term basis. They may work with other aides in shifts so that the client always has an aide. They help people in hospices and day services programs, and may travel as they also help people with disabilities go to work and stay engaged in their communities.

Injuries and Illnesses

Work as a home health or personal care aide can be physically and emotionally demanding. Because they often move clients into and out of bed or help with standing or walking, aides must use proper lifting techniques to guard against back injury.

In addition, aides frequently work with clients who have cognitive impairments or mental health issues and who may display difficult or violent behaviors. Aides also face hazards from minor infections and exposure to communicable diseases but can lessen their chance of infection by following proper procedures.

Work Schedules

Most aides work full-time. They may work evening and weekend hours, depending on their clients’ needs.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of home health aides and personal care aides.

 OccupationJob DutiesEntry-Level EducationMedian Annual Pay, May 2019

Childcare Workers

Childcare workers attend to the basic needs of children, such as dressing, feeding, and overseeing play.

High school diploma or equivalent$24,230

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) provide basic nursing care.

Postsecondary nondegree award$47,480



Medical Assistants

Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals, offices of physicians, and other healthcare facilities.

Postsecondary nondegree award$34,800

Nursing Assistants and Orderlies

Nursing assistants provide basic care and help patients with activities of daily living. Orderlies transport patients and clean treatment areas.

See How to Become One$29,640

Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides

Occupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, improve, as well as maintain the skills needed for daily living and working.

See How to Become One$59,200

Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides

Physical therapist assistants and aides are supervised by physical therapists to help patients regain movement and manage pain after injuries and illnesses.

See How to Become One$48,990

Psychiatric Technicians and Aides

Psychiatric technicians and aides care for people who have mental illness and developmental disabilities.

See How to Become One$32,020



Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care and educate patients and the public about various health conditions.

Bachelor’s degree$73,300

Social and Human Service Assistants

Social and human service assistants provide client services in a variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work.

High school diploma or equivalent$35,060

For more information about home health aides and personal care aides, including voluntary credentials for aides, visit

American Society on Aging

National Association for Home Care & Hospice

Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute

Personal Care Aides

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides-and-personal-care-aides.htm (visited ).


You may also like