How to Become a PCA

How to Become a Personal Care Aide

If you are looking at entering the medical field and want to learn how to become a PCA (personal care aide), there are several different requirements you must complete in order to do so. With these requirements, you open yourself up to rather extensive job listings and the ability to work just about anywhere in the country.

Currently, the demand for personal care assistants is unbelievably high. According to the projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of available jobs for PCAs is expected to grow by as much as 70% through the year 2020. This is an incredible number and one of the highest of all occupations in the U.S.

How To Become a PCA

As a PCA, you would work with the elderly, cognitively challenged individuals and the disabled, and many times you work directly in someone’s home. As an entry level position into the healthcare industry, you do not have to spend years in school or training, so if you don’t want to enroll in a university for the next decade of your life, as is the case with many other medical positions, this is one of the more desirable options out there.

Educational Requirements

For starters, there is no real specific requirements in terms of education. You do not need to hold a high school diploma, although it is always desirable to have. You train directly under a registered nurse and are trained in how to work with a client and how to provide the very best service possible.

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Although there is no actual educational requirements, there are specific training practices needed in order to become a personal care assistant. For starters, you must enroll into a training program through an organization such as the National Association for Home Care and Hospice.

As you are typically going to be working inside the homes of patients, you need to become completely comfortable with doing so. The certification programs offered by these organizations typically require around 40 to 75 hours of formal training. Once this has been completed, a registered nurse is going to assess you and your capabilities in 17 different competency skills.

Types of Courses

During the up to 75 hours of training, there are several different courses and topics you are going to cover. These topics include gerontology and physical developmental disabilities, death and dying and other forms of individuals who you are most likely going to work with. A personal care assistant is more likely than not going to work with someone who suffers some sort of mental condition, either due to old age or is someone who has been suffering through the issue since birth and is not able to care for themselves completely on their own.

The skill sets offered through this training include the ability to take blood pressure, temperature and the pulse rate of an individual, plus emergency medical response, the ability to directly communicate disease control, assist in administrative medicine and even infection management. You also are going to go through basic first aid and even CPR. There are some client based topics you’ll need to master, which includes assisting in grooming, cooking foods for specific diets and sanitary housekeeping.


After you have finished your training and going over the course material you are going to be appraised by the registered nurse, and as long as the nurse passes you in the 17 skill sets, you are able to begin your work as a personal care aide. If you do not pass, or if there are areas in which you need to work on, you do not need to start all of the educational training over, but instead need to just focus on the specific areas the nurse found you to be lacking in. Once you have gone over these areas you are then able to move forward and complete the training.

As a personal care aide, you are able to help those around you and obtain a new career for yourself. Now should be the time you start looking for a good program to start your training. And from what you have read here, you should realize that the ways to become a PCA are easier than you imagined.

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