CHOOSING A CAREER / AUG. 13, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Become a Personal Care Aide

personal care aide
istock

If you enjoy caring for others while making their lives easier and richer, you may want to consider becoming a Personal Care Aide.

What does a personal care aide do?

Personal care aides assist clients who need help with the activities of daily living. That may include:

  • Washing and dressing
  • Toileting
  • Cooking and eating
  • Shopping
  • Cleaning and laundry
  • Managing finances
  • Managing and administering medications
  • Helping family members learn how to provide care when you’re not there

Where and when do personal care aides work?

  • Unlike care assistants, who usually work in day centers or residential homes and care for a group of people, personal care aides typically support one person in a private home.
  • Shifts may include weekend and evening work. Some clients may need assistance around the clock, in which case you’ll share shifts with other personal care aides. Other clients need help only with certain activities or just need someone to be present when family members can’t.
  • Clients who need daytime care as well as someone to be present overnight may choose to have a personal care aide who lives-in.
  • Personal care aides who contribute to National Security are eligible for holiday and sick pay.

What do personal care aides earn?

Most personal care aides are paid an hourly wage set by their employer. In addition, live-in aides often receive free or low-cost lodging.

 

 

Low end

 

High end

Pay (annualized)

 

£12,000 - £16,000

 

£18,000 - £21,000

What skills do personal care aides need?

Interpersonal skills are more important than prior experience or training. Successful personal care aides share the following characteristics:

  • A desire to help people
  • Empathy
  • Ability to work independently
  • Patience
  • Willingness to handle the nitty-gritty details of personal care, like taking a client to the bathroom
  • A sense of humour
  • Reliability
  • Ability to tolerate repetitive tasks and/or explain the same thing multiple times
  • A warm and approachable demeanour
  • Ability to work with many different kinds of people
  • Ability to stay calm under pressure

What are the qualifications and entry requirements?

  • There are no national entry requirements. Employers, however, frequently require personal care aides to take and pass a background check.
  • Many people enter the field after doing related volunteer work or caring for a family member.
  • While not required, there are a number of qualifications that will make you more competitive and may increase your rate of pay:
    • Level 1 Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care
    • Level 2 Supporting Individuals with Learning Disabilities
    • Level 2 Awareness of Dementia
    • Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care.
    • Level 5 Diploma in Leadership in Health and Social Care
  • There are additional career development opportunities for people already working in the field:
    • Equality and inclusion
    • Principles of safeguarding
    • Person-centered support
    • Health and safety

What are the job prospects?

Jobs for personal care aides are expected to increase sharply after the 2012 rollout of Personal Health Budgets, which give people more choice regarding their health care. National Careers Service forecasts that an additional 235,000 personal care aides will be needed between now and 2020.

Being a personal care aide isn’t for everyone. It takes patience, generosity, and a sincere desire to serve. If that sounds like you, you can find out more at www.skillsforcare.org.uk.

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