Careers in Personal Service: Options and Requirements

Oct 14, 2019

There are many personal service professionals who perform various tasks to meet the needs of customers. This work may include providing personal or home health care for the elderly or ill, providing beauty-related services, or arranging travel plans for others.

Essential Information

Personal service professionals offer customers direct service and care. Positions can be found in many major industries, such as beauty, health care, cleaning and travel. Personal service workers require a friendly attitude and strong communication skills. They must also be good listeners and tend to each client's individual needs.

Possible Career Fields Beauty Personal Care and Assistance Travel
Required Education Vocational training Supervised training Vocational training program
Other Requirements Licensure typically required Certification often required N/A
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 8% for barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists 36% for personal care aides;
37% for home health aides
-6% for travel agents
Mean Salary (2018)* $24,730 for hairdressers, hair stylists and cosmetologists $24,020 for personal care aides;
$24,200 for home health aides
$38,700 for travel agents

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Personal service jobs in the beauty industry include workers who specialize in various fields, such as hair styling and skin treatments. Personal care and assistance jobs usually involve serving clients in their homes. Travel agents represent another type of career in the personal service field. Learn more about these career options below.

Job Options in Beauty

Cosmetologists cut, color and style hair. Barbers perform similar duties and frequently provide additional services, such as shaving and trimming facial hair for men. Skincare professionals, known as estheticians, use various lotions and exfoliating products to improve a customer's facial complexion.


Cosmetologists, barbers and skincare professionals need a license to practice. Before becoming licensed they must complete an accredited training program in their field of expertise. Some schools allow students to specialize in more than one program, such as cosmetology and barbering. Coursework in cosmetology covers hair cutting and styling, facials, makeup, chemical usage and sanitary practices.

After completing an accredited training program, individuals must pass a state licensing exam. Some states only require applicants to pass a written test. Other states use a practical test that requires the applicant to prove his or her skills by demonstrating treatments and techniques on a model or mannequin. The majority of states have separate licenses for barbers, hair stylists, cosmetologists and skincare workers, although some states combine multiple specialties under one license.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists would see about an 8% increase in employment opportunities from 2018 to 2028. Also, the BLS reported that hairdressers, hair stylists and cosmetologists earned $24,730 on average per year in May 2018.

Job Options in Personal Care and Assistance

Home health aides provide in-home health care for elderly, injured or mentally disabled clients with medical problems. Generally, home care aides serve a similar group of clientele but provide slightly different services based on the client's need and the professional's expertise. Home care aides typically help clients by cleaning, cooking meals, doing laundry and acting as a companion. They could need to drive patients to appointments and meetings.


Several careers in this industry don't require formal schooling since employers train workers on the job. However, some home health aides must receive specific training and be certified. To achieve certification, workers participate in supervised training. During the training period, home health aides learn how to safely move patients, monitor vital signs, prepare meals for special-needs diets and treat infections. Some states allow aides to skip the training if they successfully pass a competency exam.

This group can expect to see a significant increase in job opportunities of roughly 36% for personal care aides or 37% for home health aides from 2018 to 2028, according to the BLS. Personal care aides earned a mean annual wage of $24,020 in May 2018, and home health aides earned only slightly more at $24,200.

Job Options in Travel

Travel agents offer another form of personal service by helping customers set up trips and vacations. They arrange flights, hotel accommodations and rental cars for travelers. They could also reserve tickets to different venues and events for clients, such as museums and concerts. Tour guides escort tourists around certain locations. They direct customers to points of interest and answer questions about the culture and history of an area.


Travel agents who want to work for an agency might need to complete a vocational training program to qualify for many positions. Certificate programs can be completed in as little as eight weeks and include courses in travel agent technology, flight reservations, hotel accommodations, marketing and geography. Tour guides require a thorough knowledge of a particular region, including local customs and insider tips for travelers. Tour guides also need time management skills and the ability to lead and entertain a diverse group of people.

The BLS reported that travel agents could expect to see a steep decline of 6% in job opportunities from 2018 to 2028. This group of professionals earned a median salary of $38,700 per year in May 2018.

The specific requirements for a job in personal service can vary widely, depending on the career field. Most professionals in personal service are required to take relevant vocational training, or go through on-the-job training. Some careers options also require certification.

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