Analysis: Personal Care Aides Training Lacking in Many States

PCA Map from PHIA recent Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI) analysis uncovered some shocking news: Many states have no training requirements for personal care aides (PCAs) who help the elderly and people with chronic diseases or disabilities live in their homes.

In fact, PHI found that 23 states (45 percent) have no training requirements. States that do have training standards have varied requirements. Researchers looked at number of training hours, skills and competencies, availability of state-sponsored curriculum, exams and credentialing and found that the training requirements were inadequate in many states.

Unlike home health aides and certified nurse aides (CNAs), PCAs do not have federal training standards.

“Our findings that very few states have any standardized PCA training with a comprehensive statewide curriculum show that states need strong federal guidance to encourage them to adopt a gold standard for PCA training,” said Dr. Dorie Seavey, PHI director of policy research.

According to the researchers:

  • 35 percent of states have a requirement for training hours.
  • 22 percent of states have state-sponsored PCA curriculum.
  • 35 percent of states require an exam.
  • 18 percent of states require PCA certification.
  • Of states with a training hours requirement, 68 percent require 40 hours or less of training.

PHI recommends that federal and state governments invest in federal training standards, a credentialing process, a training infrastructure and reimbursement for PCA training expenses for workers providing Medicaid-funded long-term services and support.

Read the full analysis here.