Home Health Care Industry a Draw For Less Educated Workers

The home health care industry has become a draw for less educated workers, who account for nearly 49% of the total health care workforce in the nation’s largest metro areas, according to a new report by research firm Brookings Institution. 

While individuals with less than a bachelor’s degree (“pre-baccalaureate”) work in multiple health care occupations, they are heavily concentrated in a subset of positions including nursing, psychiatric and home health aides, registered nurses, personal care aides and licensed practical nurses, Brookings says. 

Workers with less than a bachelor’s degree in the 10 largest pre-baccalaureate health care occupations total 3.8 million, making up nearly half of the total health care workforce in the 100 largest metros.

In these 100 areas, pre-baccaulaureate workers in the nursing, psychiatric and home health aide occupations number roughly 1.2 million. 

While the number of these pre-baccalaureate workers is growing, their earnings aren’t. Income levels vary significantly, with home health aides lagging behind their higher paying counterparts. 

Some pre-baccaulaureate health care workers make upward of $50,000 annually, but about half of personal care aides and nursing, psychiatric and home health aides have a high school diploma or less, and post median annual earnings of $21,000 and $25,000, respectively, Brookings reports. 

These lower-paying pre-baccalaureate health care occupations account for the bulk of growth in this job sector, particularly occupations of personal care aides, whose numbers rose by nearly 400,000 between 2000 and 2009-11. 

“By contrast, median earnings among pre-baccalaureate workers across all industries and occupations fell by 14 percent, or about $5,500,” the firm states. 

Read the full report. 

Written by Emily Study

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