Career Detail


Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides
Nursing and psychiatric aides help care for physically or mentally ill, injured, disabled, or infirm individuals in hospitals, nursing care facilities, and mental health settings.
The Job
Nurse aides employed in nursing care facilities often are the principal caregivers, having far more contact with residents than do other members of the staff. Because some residents may stay in a nursing care facility for months or even years, aides develop ongoing relationships with them and interact with them in a positive, caring way.
Work Environment
Work as an aide can be physically demanding. Aides spend many hours standing and walking, and they often face heavy workloads. Aides must guard against back injury because they may have to move patien
College Majors
Nursing and psychiatric aide training is offered in high schools, vocational-technical centers, some nursing care facilities, and some community colleges.
Minimum Qualifications
In many cases, a high school diploma or equivalent is necessary for a job as a nursing or psychiatric aide. However, a high school diploma generally is not required for jobs as home health aides. Specific qualifications vary by occupation, State laws, and work setting. Advancement opportunities are
Personality traits helpful for this career
Applicants should be tactful, patient, understanding, emotionally stable, and dependable and should have a desire to help people.
Quick Facts
  • Numerous job openings and excellent job opportunities are expected.
  • Most jobs are in nursing and residential care facilities, hospitals, and home health care services.
  • This occupation is characterized by modest entry requirements, low pay, high physical and emotional demands, and limited advancement opportunities.
Compensation and Outlook
Median hourly wages of nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants were $11.46 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.71 and $13.76 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.34, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $15.97 an hour.
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