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3 Steps To Become A Personal Care Aide (PCA)

A personal care aide or assistant is a professional who helps individuals, usually with physical or psychiatric impairments, perform tasks they can’t carry out on their own.

Their primary goal is to improve their client’s day-to-day living conditions and lifestyles.

If you find peace and pride in helping others, you might consider turning your passion into a career.

Interested? Good.

Continue reading to learn how you can become a professional personal care aide.

Steps You Need To Take To Become A Personal Care Aide

Becoming a personal care aide is an ideal career for individuals who are always willing to offer a helping hand.

If you’re looking forward to becoming a PCA, you ought to take the following steps:

1. Obtain A High School Diploma

In most cases, you’ll be required to have a high school diploma to become a personal care aide. And, although rare, you might also need to have undergone post-secondary education.

That said, having a career as a PCA is suitable for persons who aren’t willing to pursue or haven’t had additional schooling after high school.

2. Get The Necessary Certifications

Certifications in caregiving can increase your chances of getting hired.

For instance, you can obtain a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification.

Furthermore, getting certifications in the field of safety, health, and communication can also be advantageous in some cases.

Furthermore, depending on your state, you might need to take PCA classes before you start working as a PCA, or as an ongoing, such as an annual, requirement.

3. Determine Your Desired Working Environment

Personal care aides work in different settings and fields. That said, it’s vital to ascertain your ideal working environment.

You should remember that it determines the type of clients you work with, the tasks you need to carry out and how fast, as well as how many clients you ought to work with at a given time, among others.

For instance, if you prefer offering your services to individual clients who live in different locations, it’d be wise to work as a home care aide.

However, if you can work with more than one client at the same place and at the same time, a living facility might be your ideal setting.

Moreover, your working environment will dictate whether you must travel or not.

Home caregivers travel more than facility PCAs. This is because the former often works with several clients living in different places of residence.

The latter, on the one hand, rarely travel while on shift.

The only move they need to make is to transfer from one room to another.

Skills Required To Be A Personal Care Aide

Based on the nature of their work, PCAs require softer skills than those with more technical jobs.

Among the skills that could come in handy as you work as a personal care assistant include:

  • Active listening: A PCA should possess active listening skills to better understand clients and engage in healthy conversations.
  • Reliability: Once you become a personal care aide, your clients will depend on you to go about their daily lives. With that in mind, you should always be available to offer assistance whenever necessary.
  • Time management: In most cases, PCAs work in shifts to be able to help several clients. Therefore, they need to have time management skills to avoid missing appointments. Remember, care services may involve administering medication, and failing to do so in time can interfere with the client’s health.
  • Empathy: While you must always maintain professionalism, sometimes, you might need to put yourself in the shoes of your clients to help you better understand where they’re coming from.
  • Communication: This is the foundation of any relationship. Good communication between you and your client helps you understand their needs and where to set boundaries.
  • Cooking: In most cases, personal care aides providing home care prepare meals for their clients. An aide with proper cooking skills therefore can help satisfy their client’s nutritional needs.
  • Physical strength: It helps a lot when a PCA is physically strong. This way, they can easily help their clients get in and out of their wheelchairs or beds. Physical strength can also help you assist your clients when walking or performing physical exercise.


If you’re looking forward to starting a career as a personal care aide, you first need to secure a high school diploma. After that, consider obtaining the necessary certifications in first aid or CPR, among others.

Fortunately, these certifications are offered by numerous agencies and schools these days.

All you need is to take the first step and pursue your dream.

Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels

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