Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Training Programs and Courses

Personal care attendants (PCAs) work for home health aide firms or they may work independently to serve patients. Keep reading to learn more about the job and the training programs that can prepare you for employment. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is A Personal Care Attendant?

Personal care attendants, also called home health aides or home care aides, are professionals that help with the daily needs of a patient with a handicap or illness. The patients may vary from the chronically ill to the handicapped or the elderly. Sometimes, personal care attendants help with the hospice care a person needs near the end of their lives.

How Do I Become Eligible?

A formal education is not necessarily required to become a personal care attendant. The necessary training is often provided on-the-job, where you can be taught by nurses or other practicing aides. This is because many of the tasks a personal care attendant performs are daily routines, like feeding patients, bathing or clothing them, bringing them to appointments or cleaning their homes.

While formal education, not even a high school diploma, may be necessary for this field, there are some education opportunities that can prepare you for work in personal care. Educational programs can also be useful if you plan to work for an agency that receives Medicaid or Medicare, because this means that you need to be certified through your state. Certification typically means that you need to complete at least 75 hours of training, which can include postsecondary education.

Beyond state regulations, you may also become certified voluntarily through an organization like the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. You can use this certification to prove a nationally-recognized level of competency in the field.

What Training Programs are Available?

Programs for personal care attendants do not typically result in a certificate or degree, but rather are offered as short, undergraduate training programs. Through such a program, you can study first aid, CPR, issues of abuse, Alzheimer's disease and cultural issues. Hands-on experiences, including lab work and an externship, may be required. Due to the hands-on nature of these programs, online options may be rare.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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