Resident Care Assistant: Job Outlook & Career Info

Mar 26, 2019

Resident care assistants, also known as nursing or health aides, help care for elderly and ill patients in nursing homes and resident care facilities. Read on to learn about the necessary training and skills, plus the salary expectation and employment outlook, to decide if you want to pursue this occupation.

Career Definition for a Resident Care Assistant

Resident care assistants help residents of nursing homes, assisted living and resident care facilities with their daily activities. They work under the supervision of nurses to feed and groom residents, clean their rooms and change and launder their linens. Resident care assistants interact with clients and their families throughout their days.

Education High school diploma preferred, certified nursing assistant training available
Job Skills Teamwork, physical strength, compassion, patience
Median Salary (2017) $27,520 for nursing assistants
Job Growth (2016-2026) 11% for nursing assistants

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Resident care assistants do not need to have formal educations; however, many employers prefer to hire resident care assistants with high school diplomas. Some resident care assistants enroll in training classes offered by employers or vocational schools to become certified nursing assistants (CNAs). These programs generally take between three and eight weeks to complete, and they focus on patient care and rights, basic medical skills, emergency procedures and legal issues.

Skills Required

Resident care assistants are part of a health care team, requiring them to be able to communicate well and take directions. Resident care assisting requires physical strength to help lift patients and equipment and to work standing for long periods of time. Work with ill and elderly clients and their families requires patience, compassion and the desire to serve others.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects that employment of nursing aides, including resident care assistants, will increase 11% from 2016-2026. Medical technologies will continue to lengthen the lives of elderly and ill patients, requiring additional resident care assistants to provide for their needs.

Nursing assistants, as well as resident care assistants, generally receive fairly low wages. In 2017, the lowest paid ten percent earned $20,680 or less per year, and the highest paid ten percent earned $38,630 or more, according to the BLS. Nursing assistants had an annual median wage of $27,520 during that time.

Alternate Career Options

Listed here are some other choices in personal care careers:

Personal Care Aide

Working in care communities or in clients' own homes, personal care aides usually need a high school diploma, in addition to on-the-job training. These professionals provide clients companionship and help with daily tasks and self-care. Much faster than average job growth of 39% was projected by the BLS from 2016-2026. In 2017, the BLS reported median wages of $23,100 per year.

Medical Assistant

Normally completing a postsecondary program for certification, some medical assistants secure employment completing clinical and administrative tasks in doctors' offices with a high school diploma and learn their skills on the job. A much faster than average increase in positions, at 29% during the 2016-2026 decade, was predicted by the BLS. Medical assistants earned an annual median salary of $32,480 in 2017, according to the BLS.

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