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The personal care and services sectors include a wide variety of career options, employing many people. Personal care and services careers attract people who enjoy working closely with other people throughout the work day.

Some of the personal care and services jobs require a state license. Some schools provide specialized education programs for people interested in personal care and services careers. The length of these education programs range from several weeks to two years.

TheBestSchools provides important, reliable information about a variety of personal care and services careers including salary, employment growth, training, education and much more.

After you read through this page on Personal Care Careers keep browsing our website’s extensive career guide for more information on job options, education requirements and salaries.

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Animal Care and Service Workers

Education and Certifications Animal Care and Service Workers Need

People interested in an animal care worker career or an animal service worker career, frequently learn on-the-job, but many employers require candidates to have a high school diploma. Some community college and vocational programs serve people who want to train dogs or horses.

In some cases, a college degree helps; zoos typically seek animal care technicians with a bachelor’s degree in biology, animal science or a similar field.

Animal care workers seeking to serve as pet groomers have the option of attending a state-licensed grooming school.

Animal care workers who choose to work at a marina may need a bachelor’s degree in marine biology, animal science or a related field.

Certification programs can help a job candidate establish credentials and enhance their skills.

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What They Do

Most of us love animals and at one time or another dream of working with them someday, perhaps as an animal care or animal service worker. The occupations include a lot of work, thus it takes more than affection to sustain an animal care assistant career or an animal care technician career. Animal care worker careers and animal service worker careers include cleaning, disinfecting and repairing animals’ habitats.

Animal care workers and animal service workers find jobs in settings such as local kennels, animal shelters zoos, circuses and aquariums.

An animal care technician career includes keeping records of the food the animals eat and the treatments they receive.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $23,160
2016, Number of Jobs 296,400
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 22%
Entry-Level Education Requirements High School Diploma or Equivalent
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $36,630
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $17,880

 

Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists

Education and Certifications Barbers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists Need

Those who choose a barber career, a hairdresser career or a cosmetologist career need a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a state-licensed program in hairstyling, skin care or similar area. High schools and vocational schools offer barber, hairdresser and cosmetology courses, sometimes leading to an associate degree. Those who work solely as shampooers need no formal education.

All barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists must pass a state licensing exam.

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What They Do

While some people have or can develop the skill to tend to their own hair and beauty needs and whims, relatively few go through life without ever visiting a barber, hairdresser or cosmetologist. Most often, we rely heavily on skilled professionals who chose barber careers, hairdresser careers, or cosmetology careers to ensure we present the best face possible to the public.

Barbers and hairdressers (often called hairstylists) and cosmetologists provide an array of services, often developing a rapport with their clients which lasts a lifetime. They perform tasks such as shampooing, cutting, coloring and styling hair. They may also deal with scalp treatments, hair removal, nail and skin care and makeup application.

The bond between customers and their barber, hairdresser or cosmetologist creates a confidence which enables people to go about their day-to-day life knowing they look their best.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists who take marketing, sales and other business courses may choose to own their own shops.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $24,900
2016, Number of Jobs 673,700
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 13%
Entry-Level Education Requirements Postsecondary Nondegree Award
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $23.31/hour
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $8.95/hour

 

Childcare Workers

Education and Certifications Childcare Workers Need

Requirements for people seeking a childcare worker career vary among states, employers and the goals of the particular job. Some states require those who choose a childcare career to have a high school diploma, and many require daycare providers and family childcare providers to have a license.

Becoming a licensed center or daycare provider involves staff background checks, complete immunization records and a minimum training requirement.

While some states have no requirements for childcare workers, some employers require an associate degree in early childhood education or a child development credential.

States often require daycare workers to have Child Development Associate certification through the Council for Professional Recognition. The certification requires coursework, experience and a high school diploma.

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What They Do

When it comes to people we trust, childcare workers, also known as childcare providers, may rank right up there with doctors, given parents rely heavily on the people who watch over their children.

A childcare career involves providing for children’s basic needs — feeding them, bathing them and interacting with them. Some childcare workers also help children develop the social and intellectual skills they need to succeed at school.

A childcare worker, sometimes called a daycare worker, frequently focuses on children of various ages, especially if they provide homecare for families. A childcare provider A childcare provider career involves helping with homework, playing games and monitoring children and pre-teens’ activities.

Childcare provider careers often include working right alongside pre-school and early childhood education teachers as assistants.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $22,290
2016, Number of Jobs 1,216,600
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 7%
Entry-Level Education Requirements High School Diploma or Equivalent
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $15.76/hour
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $8.41/hour

 

Fitness Trainers and Instructors

Education and Certifications Fitness Trainers and Instructors Need

Educational requirements for those who choose a fitness trainer career or fitness instructor career depend on the specialty involved. Many employers prefer to hire certified fitness trainers. Personal fitness trainer, group fitness instructor and specialized fitness instructor require different skills.

Some employers seek applicants with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, physical fitness or exercise science.

People seeking a personal trainer career often need certification to work with clients or members of gyms or health clubs. Most fitness trainers or fitness instructors need CPR certification before getting their physical fitness certification. Basic certification requires no specific training or education; however fitness trainers and fitness instructors can take exams, workshops and seminars.

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What They Do

While many of us want to get fit and stay fit, we don’t know the best way to go about it, thus we turn to fitness trainers and fitness instructors to guide us toward better health.

People who choose a fitness trainer career or fitness instructor career walk the talk, teaching average clients the things they’ve learned from their own fitness efforts.

Working on their own or for other businesses, fitness trainers and fitness instructors lead, teach and motivate individuals and groups in exercise; activities to improve their cardiovascular system and stretching and strength training. Their own fitness training enables a fitness trainer or fitness instructor to demonstrate techniques and forms and explain to students of any age how to improve their skills.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Fitness trainers and fitness instructors who earn advanced degrees can qualify to own their own facilities.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $39,210
2016, Number of Jobs 299,200
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 10%
Entry-Level Education Requirements High School Diploma or Equivalent
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $74,520
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $19,640

 

Funeral Directors

Education and Certifications Funeral Directors Need

An associate degree in mortuary science provides the minimum training needed for a funeral director career. However, funeral home owners increasingly prefer hiring a funeral director who has a bachelor’s degree.

Funeral directors need one to three years of hands-on training under the direction of a licensed funeral director. Funeral directors in every state need a license; most states require funeral director applicants to be at least 21 years of age. Continuing education and a qualifying exam are part of the process of becoming a licensed funeral director.

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What They Do

Death takes a toll on the family left behind, but professional funeral directors know how to help loved ones through the decision-making involved in saying farewell.

People who choose a funeral director career manage funeral homes and arrange the details of funerals. A funeral director career includes handling all of the logistics.

Working with families and other loved ones, funeral directors arrange for wakes, memorial services and burials and can help determine whether a body should be buried, entombed or cremated. Such decisions matter greatly, especially among varying cultures and religions; that’s why professional funeral directors fill an important role.

Funeral directors also help families write obituary notices and arrange for pallbearers. They may decorate and prepare the funeral service site and provide transportation for the deceased and mourners.

The demeanor and sensitivity of a funeral director can greatly ease a family’s suffering.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $56,850
2016, Number of Jobs 54,400
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 5%
Entry-Level Education Requirements Associate Degree
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $153,340
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $39,940

 

Gaming Services Workers

Education and Certifications Gaming Services Workers Need

People interested in a gaming services worker career generally need a high school diploma or GED. For supervisory positions, management courses help, but a formal post-secondary education usually isn’t required.

Some schools offer an associate degree in casino operations, casino management or gaming management. Some schools provide a bachelor’s degree in casino management or certificates for gaming managers. Some colleges and universities provide a hospitality management degree with a gaming or casino specialization.

Most casino or gaming services workers receive formal training from their employers.

State regulatory agencies license gaming services workers, who must provide a photo, pay a fee and pass background and drug tests.

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What They Do

People in an array of positions keep the gaming industry hopping. A good deal of the excitement happens within casinos and racetracks, where some gaming services workers take bets and pay the winners, some are sports book writers and runners, and others are gaming dealers. Higher up the chain, gaming managers, gaming supervisors and slot supervisors also play a big role.

Success in a gaming services career often depends on an applicant’s ability to deal well with people from all walks of life and all income levels. Gaming managers and gaming supervisors take responsibility for people who work in their assigned area, but they also keep an eye on the gaming tables to ensure adequate staff and proper operations.

Customer service comprises the bulk of slot supervisors’ duties because of increased automation, with both casinos and racetrack casinos using video slot machines.

A gaming dealer career involves dealing cards, spinning the roulette wheel or managing craps games. Gaming and sports book writers and runners take and record bets on sporting events.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Gaming dealers can advance in their career to a gaming supervisor job and later to a gaming manager job. A slot supervisor can advance in their gaming services career to a gaming manager job.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $22,300
2016, Number of Jobs 176,100
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 2%
Entry-Level Education Requirements Bachelor’s Degree
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $58,060
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $17,170

 

Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides

Education and Certifications Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides Need

Most home health care aides and personal care aides have a high school diploma, although no specific education requirements exist for this position. Home health aides and personal care aides typically receive on-the-job training. Some employers may require a competency evaluation prior to hire.

Some states have no training requirement for home health aides and personal care aides, but other states require a formal training from a community college, vocational school, elder care program, or home health care agency. Some states also require a background check for all home health aides and personal care aides.

Home health care aides working for an employer receiving reimbursements from Medicare or Medicaid must obtain training and pass a competency evaluation or earn a state certification.

Home health aides and personal care aides may receive certification from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). Certification is not required, but many employers prefer to hire certified workers.

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What They Do

Home health aides and personal care aides are also known as superheroes to the individuals they help. Typically, home health aides and personal care aides assist disabled, chronically ill, cognitively impaired, and elderly individuals.

Common duties performed by home health aides and personal care aides range from assisting clients in bathing and dressing to light housekeeping duties and meal planning and preparation. A home health aide career and a personal care aide career include scheduling appointments, social events, and exercise, as well as arranging transportation to and from events for a client. Perhaps the most important thing home health care providers and personal care aides do for their clients, however, is provide companionship.

Home health aides usually work for certified home health or hospice agencies receiving government funding. They are usually supervised by a nurse. Duties of a home health care worker may range from giving massages, skincare, and help with braces or artificial limbs to changing sheets and emptying bedpans.

Depending on the state laws, home health aides may also occasionally dispense medication or check their client’s vital signs under the direction of a nurse or healthcare practitioner.

Personal care aides often work in a client’s home and are hired directly by the client or the client’s family. Personal care aides may not provide any medical services.

Direct support professionals work with individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities. Their tasks typically include creating a behavior plan, helping their client find work, and teaching self-care skills.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $23,130
2016, Number of Jobs 2,927,600
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 41%
Entry-Level Education Requirements High School Diploma or Equivalent
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $31,260
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $18,450

 

Manicurists and Pedicurists

Education and Certifications Manicurists and Pedicurists Need

Those who want to pursue a manicurist career and pedicurist career must complete a state-approved cosmetology program, which often requires many hours of practical experience. Many schools offer nail technician certificate or diploma programs. Many Associate in Cosmetology programs and cosmetology certificate programs provide nail technology skills.

All states except Connecticut require nail technician candidates to pass a licensing exam to become a manicurist or pedicurist. All candidates must have a high school diploma or GED and be at least 16 years of age.

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What They Do

The roles of manicurist and pedicurist date back a whopping 4,000 to 5,000 years, when the choice of nail color indicated social status in China. But a lot has changed in the intervening centuries, and the demand for manicures and pedicures performed by qualified nail technicians has grown right alongside the personal wellness and self-improvement industries.

Hands contribute to the first impression we make on new acquaintances, thus these trained professionals who clean, shape and beautify our fingernails and toenails do important work when it comes to self-image.

Many women and some men visit manicurists and pedicurists regularly. Nail work frequently plays a big part in the increasingly popular spa treatments.

Creativity and the ability to build a warm rapport with clients remain important to the success of those who choose a manicurist career or pedicurist career. Those two elements contribute significantly to word-of-mouth referrals for nail technician clients. Repeat appointments are the key to building a successful business, and a gift for small talk may make all the difference.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $23,230
2016, Number of Jobs 126,300
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 13%
Entry-Level Education Requirements Postsecondary Nondegree Award
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $15.89/hour
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $9.37/hour

 

Massage Therapists

Education and Certifications Massage Therapists Need

Education and training for massage therapists varies by state and locality. Typically, individuals seeking a massage therapist career need a high school diploma and complete a massage therapy education program provided by a private or public postsecondary institution requiring 500 hours of study.

Schools provide full-time and part-time programs and often offer job placement and continuing education. Some schools offer an Associate in Massage Therapy degree program or a Diploma in Massage Therapy program.

The majority of states require massage therapists to obtain a license or certificate and pass an exam prior to practicing. In the states that do not require a massage therapist to obtain a license or a certificate, there may be specific regulations at the local level.

Two nationally recognized tests for massage therapists are the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx) and the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCETMB).

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What They Do

Massage therapists are a lot of people’s best friend. Massage therapists really get into their work, using their hands, fingers, forearms, elbows, and sometimes even feet to manually manipulate soft-tissue muscles to help people relax, relieve pain, rehabilitate injuries, and reduce stress. A massage therapist career may also include using lotions, oils, massage tables, massage chairs, and medical heat lamps.

An appointment with a massage therapist begins with a discussion about the client’s goals and expectations of the massage, as well as a description of any ailment or injury the client aims to alleviate with the massage.

A massage therapist then massages the desired area specified by the client, as well as any related areas that may help with pain relief, healing, or stress reduction. At the end of an appointment, a massage therapist may teach the client some stretches, strengthening moves, or posture adjustments that may further help with a particular issue.

Massage therapists may specialize in specific types of message, such as Swedish massage, deep-tissue massage or sports massage. Many massage therapists specialize in several different types of massage.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $39,990
2016, Number of Jobs 160,300
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 26%
Entry-Level Education Requirements Postsecondary Nondegree Award
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $77,470
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $20,300

 

Recreation Workers

Education and Certifications Recreation Workers Need

Recreation workers’ education requirements vary with the job and employer, but many activities specialists have a bachelor’s degree. Other qualities matter more for part-time recreation workers, such as camp counselors and activities specialists. These include maturity, the ability to build rapport with those they serve and experience leading activities.

Some recreation workers hired for supervisory or administrative roles have work experience or a master’s degree in parks and recreation, business administration, or public administration.

The National Recreation and Park Administration offers certification in the recreation worker field; certification requires a bachelor’s degree and relevant full-time experience. Certification requirements come with some roles, such as teaching or coaching water-related activities, which calls for lifesaving certification.

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What They Do

For those of us who equate recreation workers with camp counselors and directors of parks and recreation, this may sound strange, but recreation workers play an important role early in our lives and again later on. Camps for children employ recreation workers, and so do senior living communities, retirement homes and even nursing homes, which rely on activity specialists to help their residents have productive and enjoyable days. After all, an active mind leads to a more healthful life.

Playgrounds, parks, camps and senior centers employ recreation workers who enjoy people. Recreation worker careers may include leading arts and crafts, sports, games, music, theater, and camping skills sessions.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Greater responsibilities in management usually come with experience for those who choose recreation worker careers. A recreation worker may become the director of a recreation department.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $24,540
2016, Number of Jobs 390,000
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 9%
Entry-Level Education Requirements High School Diploma or Equivalent
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $77,470
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $20,300

 

Skincare Specialists

Education and Certifications Skincare Specialists Need

People interested in a skincare specialist career can receive vocational education during or after high school. States require dermatology specialists to have a license, which involves taking a written and practical exam after completing a skincare specialist program. On-the-job training and continuing education frequently follow formal education.

In addition to education and licensing, skincare specialists may find greater success if they hone their interpersonal skills and work on their ability to sell products or influence clients to trust their expertise.

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What They Do

Few, if any, people are completely happy with their appearance, especially their skin, a victim to age, weather, allergies, the environment and other factors. That’s why skincare specialists have a growing niche in today’s society, offering skin improvement procedures and techniques as well as good old-fashioned pampering.

A dermatology specialist career includes cleansing and beautifying clients’ skin to improve the way they look and feel about themselves. Treatments vary widely and can include electrolysis and hair removal. Skin specialist careers include providing facials, full-body treatments, and head and neck massages. Many skin specialists also sell products.

As with many personal care services, demand has increased for in-home services, such as facials, thus many skin specialists have expanded their offerings.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $30,080
2016, Number of Jobs 61,300
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 14%
Entry-Level Education Requirements Postsecondary Nondegree Award
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $28.27/hour
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $8.97/hour

 

Travel Agents

Education and Certifications Travel Agents Need

People interested in a travel agent career typically need a high school diploma, good computer skills and training. However, many employees prefer travel agents who have taken travel industry classes in areas such as marketing and reservation systems from a community college or vocational school. In addition, some technical schools and colleges offer degree programs in travel and tourism. Most employers offer some level of on-the-job training, especially in computer systems.

Although not required, some associations such as The Travel Institute, offer certification that provide professional training to travel agents once they obtain employment. Other certifications and training are available based on agent experience and length of employment. Different states require travel agents to attain a business license. Contact a local state agency for further information when pursuing a travel agent career.

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What They Do

Travel agents bring people, places and events together, all in one service. They plan and sell lodging, transportation and tickets to events and activities to travelers and travelling groups. Travel agent careers include planning itineraries, selling tour excursions and packages and coordinating travel arrangements for clients.

Travel agent careers include coordinating travel services for both vacation and corporate clients, booking hotel, air, car rental reservations, group tours and excursions and reviewing and determining total travel costs.

A travel agent career involves providing a detailed overview of travel plans such as local customs, attractions, languages spoken, required documents, weather conditions, points of interest and financial information and conducting all financial transactions such as the collection of payment.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $36,990
2016, Number of Jobs 81,700
Employment Growth Forecast, 2016-2026 -12%
Entry-Level Education Requirements High School Diploma or Equivalent
2017, Wage of the Highest 10% $62,320
2017, Wage of the Lowest 10% $21,350

* Salary, number of jobs and employment growth provided by
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