With the employment landscape in the U.S. constantly shifting, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the creation of 11.9 million new jobs from 2020 to 2030. Though the overall growth stands at 7.7%, some jobs have a growth rate that far exceeds this level.
Among all occupational groups, healthcare support occupations are projected for the fastest employment growth. Personal care and service occupations and food preparation and serving related occupations are also projected for rapid employment growth, mainly due to recovery growth following low 2020 base-year employment.
Healthcare occupations and those associated with healthcare (including mental health) account for 7 of the 30 fastest-growing occupations from 2020 to 2030 as the baby boomer population ages and chronic conditions are on the rise.
Among the healthcare professionals projected to be in demand, home health and personal care aides top up the list in terms of numeric employment change while nurse practitioners top in terms of percentage employment change.
Let's understand more clearly what this means.
While the employment of nurse practitioners will increase an incredible 52 percent between 2020 and 2030, it will translate to 114,900 job openings only. On the other hand, with a 33 percent growth projection during the same period, the BLS predicts that 1,129,900 job openings will become available to aspiring home health and personal care aides.
Interesting, isn't it?
So, in this blog, we explore the highest employment generating profession in the U.S. - home health and personal care aides.
A personal care aide is someone who works to help another person complete their daily activities. Personal care aides may work in hospitals, nursing homes, adult day care centers, or private residences (like home caretakers).
Home health and personal care aides monitor the condition of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses and help them with daily living activities. They often help older adults who need assistance. Under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner, home health aides may be allowed to give a client medication or to check the client’s vital signs.
A personal care aide is not a nurse or other medical professional but a trained caretaker. While sometimes the duties of personal care aides and licensed practical nurses may overlap, it is important not to confuse the two. They are two distinct careers that do have different duties and requirements.
Home health and personal care aides typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, but some positions do not require it. Those working in certified home health or hospice agencies must complete formal training and pass a standardized test. Postsecondary nondegree award programs are also available at community colleges and vocational schools.
In this profession, experience is considered to be of utmost importance and is regarded as a plus by many employers.
Home health and personal care aides may need to meet requirements specific to the state in which they work. For example, some states require home health aides to have a license or certification, which may involve completing training and passing a background check and a competency exam. For more information, check with your state board of health.
The average annual salary for home health and personal care aide in the U.S. was $27,080 in 2020. Wages typically start from $20,130 and go up to $36,990.
Most aides work full-time, although part-time work is common. They may work evening and weekend hours, depending on their clients’ needs, work schedules may vary.
Home health and personal care aides, who assist with routine healthcare tasks such as bathing and feeding, will account for over one million new jobs in the next decade. This will be almost 10% of all new jobs created between 2020 and 2030. Unfortunately, these workers are the lowest paid on the list.