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Do you want a rewarding career? Are you interested in the medical field, but are worried about the costs of technical school or university? Do you like working with people, especially those who are over 65, disabled, or need special assistance? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then working as a Personal Care Attendant/ caregiver may be a great career for you!

What is a Personal Care Attendant?

‘PCA’ stands for Personal Care Attendant. PCAs also go by: Caregivers, Personal Care Assistants, and Personal Care Workers. In some states and locations, PCAs can be referred to as Home Health Aides, although HHAs are generally responsible for tasks that not all PCAs are trained to complete.

What do Personal Care Attendants do?

Personal Care Attendants/ Caregivers assist with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). ADLs are everyday tasks (basic activities) an individual will perform throughout their day, for example: taking a bath or shower (bathing), walking around (ambulation), using the restroom (toileting), and preparing for the day or a nighttime routine (dressing and grooming). IADLs build upon the basic tasks an individual will perform throughout their day, for example: cooking and preparing meals, house cleaning and organization, clothing and bedding laundry, and transportation and errands. Importantly, PCAs also provide companionship, so social skills and a love for others are a must in this career field!

Where do Personal Care Attendants work?

Most Personal Care Attendants act as in-home caregivers, which means that the PCA works in the primary residence of the patient (or client). However, there are PCAs that work in assisted living facilities. Each scenario comes with its rewards and challenges. In-home PCAs tend to like the flexibility in scheduling and bond they build with patients. PCAs in assisted living facilities tend to see more patients throughout the day and usually have a more regimented schedule.

How do you become a PCA? Is training or certification involved?

Home care agencies and facilities look for individuals who are compassionate about the health and wellness of others! The Personal Care Attendant field is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States; therefore, PCAs are and will continue to be in high-demand! This is excellent news for individuals with different backgrounds and varying degrees of experience. Some common examples of individuals who become PCAs are: those who are looking to step into the medical field; those who are pursuing higher education; fresh, ambitious young adults who have completed high school and are looking to gain work experience; single parents who need a flexible schedule; and retired adults who wish to serve their community.

Each state in the United States has varying requirements to work as a Personal Care Attendant. Typically, and in the State of Nevada, PCAs are required to: be at least 18 years old; have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent; have a valid PCA certification, including training on Elder Abuse and Awareness; have a valid CPR/ AED/ First Aid certification; have satisfactory results of a background and reference check; and have satisfactory results of a physical exam and TB test. 

Training & Certification

There are several avenues to complete Personal Care Attendant training and many companies exist to provide certification. Additionally, home care agencies and facilities are now able to offer state-compliant certifications themselves. If pursuing the PCA field, see what certifications and training are available in your area. If you are applying to a particular agency or facility, ask the Hiring Manager or HR if they offer caregiving training. Most certifications are a combination of online and in-person hours, and cost $150, on average, to complete. Most states require 16 hours of training. Our agency offers online training, dependent on a candidate’s circumstances and background, at no cost. If interested, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Heroes Caregiving team.

What about pay though?

The truth is: the Personal Care Attendant industry has often been criticized for not paying their workers an appropriate or livable wage. However, there is good news on the horizon! Many founders and owners are waking up to the fact the most critical part of their businesses is their employees. Therefore, Caregiver pay is expected to increase significantly between 2022-2024. The average pay for a Personal Care Attendant in the United States is $14/ hour, as of 2022, up from the previous $11/ hour pre-pandemic. Even more notable changes are occurring, with some agencies paying their PCAs between $14-$18/ hour. At Heroes Caregiving, we are proud to be one of these agencies, as we believe in the betterment of work culture, proper pay, and life/work balance. We understand that happier PCAs result in happier patients.


We expect more exciting news for PCAs in the near future! So start a new career today and become an invaluable asset to our society! 

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About the author 

Aubrey Dirkes

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