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The Average Salary of a Senior Care Provider

by Rick Suttle

Older Americans depend on senior care providers to assist them with various tasks in their homes, or at nursing facilities. Senior care providers plan and prepare meals for the elderly, vacuum and clean their homes and assist them with exercise routines. They also pick up groceries and prescriptions, drive clients to doctors appointments and provide companionship to often isolated senior citizens. If you want to become a senior care provider, you must be trained on the job for several days or weeks. In return, you can expect to earn an average salary of slightly more than $20,000 annually.

Salary and Qualifications

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes senior care providers under the category, "Personal Care Aides." They earned average annual salaries of $20,830 as of May 2012, according to the BLS. If you were among the top 10 percent in earnings, you'd make over $27,580 per year. The educational requirements for senior care providers are minimal, as most only have high school diplomas. Nurses or senior care supervisors will then train you to properly care for the elderly. Some employers prefer hiring senior care providers who have at least two years of experience working with the elderly. In this field, you may increase your number of job opportunities by becoming certified through the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, which includes 75 hours of training and competence in a variety of skills. You must then pass a written exam to earn your certification. Other key qualifications for this job include compassion, physical stamina, an attention to detail, and interpersonal and time-management skills.

Salary by Industry

In 2012, average salaries for senior care providers varied within certain industries. They earned the highest salaries of $35,250 per year working for state government facilities, according to the BLS. They also earned relatively high salaries in psychiatric and abuse hospitals at $27,410 annually. Your salary would be closer to the national average for senior care providers if you worked in a retirement or assistant living facility – $21,010 per year. You'd earn slightly less working in home health-care services at $20,770.

Salary by State

Senior care providers earned the highest annual salaries of $28,130 in Alaska in 2012, based on BLS data. Their earnings were also comparatively higher in New Jersey and Massachusetts at $27,340 and $26,500 per year, respectively. If you worked in Minnesota or California, you'd earn $23,090 and $22,140 per year, respectively. And your annual salaries in Pennsylvania and Texas would be $21,420 and $17,430, respectively.

Job Outlook

The BLS reports that jobs for personal care aides, including senior care providers, will increase 70 percent in the next decade – a growth rate that far exceeds the 14 percent national average for all jobs. Most of your job opportunities in this field will be created by population increases among the older baby-boomers and elderly Americans. In recent years, more seniors are choosing to live at home because of the high cost of nursing homes.

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