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How confident are you in helping adult learners prepare for a career in health care? In renewable energy?

Hello Career Pathways colleagues,

Perhaps, like me, you have seen the growing trends the past several years in health care, and renewable energy source careers, and have been confident in recommending these two career pathways to adult basic skills learners. Well, here's some data based on a Cognizant Jobs of the Future Index, reported in an article, Jobs for Humans in the Robot Age that might shake our confidence.

Jobs that fell the most: *

  1. Solar Energy Installer: -55%
  2. Alternative Energy Manager: -48%
  3. Home Health Aide: -37%
  4. Registered Nurse: -31%
  5. Aerospace Engineer: -4%

Jobs that grew the most in the past year:

  1. Personal Care Aide: +295%
  2. Genetic Counselor: +222%
  3. Transportation Supervisor: +204%
  4. Fashion Designer: +148%
  5. Video Game Designer: +102%

What's caused the big changes in these two fields? It's an important reminder that whatever career one is preparing for, one should expect change. Environmental, political and social change are all to be expected in our future. Given that, how is an adult learner to prepare? How are occupational and basic skills educators to design programs that will provide the underlying skills of all careers that provide family-sustaining wages or salaries? What are those skills? Are career pathways programs teaching those skills?

David J. Rosen

* Bolding of the first four items is mine.


Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

David, thanks for posting these statistics and reminding us of how things are constantly changing. I wonder if anyone can tell us about the difference between a home health aide and a personal care aide? I was thinking these jobs were the same, but they obviously are not the same.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition and Teaching & Learning CoPs.

Elizabeth Andress's picture

Just a quick note that we've discovered that the terms, the required training and credentials and the oversight boards vary by state.  We live in Minnesota and have a granddaughter pursuing training in Arizona, and we were very confused about her pathway until we went down and talked through it all with one of the training providers.  Best to figure this out within your state.


Michael Cruse's picture
One hundred

Thanks, David, for sharing these jobs reports as food for thought.  I'm curious about how they've reported on the two allied health jobs:  home health aides and personal care aides. The nearly 300% increase for care aides, and 37% decrease for health aides, suggests that the skills of care aides are in greater demand than those of health aides.  While there are real differences in the educational requirements, licensing, and job tasks of these two jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), I think there is more to this story than meets the eye.

Home health Aides (HHA) may provide some basic health-related services (depending on the state they work in), such as checking a client’s pulse, temperature, and respiration rate. They may also help with simple prescribed exercises and or with giving medications. Occasionally, they change bandages or dressings, give massages, care for skin, or help with braces and artificial limbs. With special training, experienced home health aides also may help with medical equipment such as ventilators, which help clients breathe.

Personal Care Aides (PCA)—sometimes called caregivers or personal attendants—are generally limited to providing non-medical services, including companionship, cleaning, cooking, and driving.

BLS breaks down the employment projections below, with HHAs increasing 47%, and PCAs increasing 39%. This is much faster than the average rate for all occupations, which is 7%.

Employment projections data for home health aides and personal care aides, 2016-26
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Home health aides and personal care aides

2,927,600 4,136,400 41 1,208,800

Home health aides

31-1011 911,500 1,342,700 47 431,200 employment projections excel document xlsx

Personal care aides

39-9021 2,016,100 2,793,800 39 777,600 employment projections excel document xlsx

BLS also reports that, "Job prospects for home health aides and personal care aides are excellent. These occupations are large and are projected to add many jobs. In addition, the low pay and high emotional demands may cause many workers to leave this occupation, and they will have to be replaced."  This last sentence - bold italics added for emphasis - makes two important observations about both jobs; they are low paying, and share high emotional (and physical) demands.  Similarly, when looking at pay for the two jobs, there is surprisingly little difference

How does this additional perspective make you think about the jobs data David shared? Given that both health and care aides are in the allied care field, how should our healthcare pathways programs capitalize on moving both groups into higher levels of education, job security, and salary?


Mike Cruse
Career Pathways Moderator



David J. Rosen's picture
One hundred

Hello Susan, Elizabeth, Mike and others,

Mike, thanks for sharing the BLS data. I went back to see what the source was of the Cognizant data that this article cited,  and it looks like its based on a well-known proprietary employment openings database known as Burning Glass.  The cognizant data reports are based on a newer analysis that appears to be different from the BLS approach. (See Select "Read more about the Index".) Because this analysis is new, and "the index is not about predicting the future. Rather, it is a tool that allows us to look at trends",  Cognizant (and we)  can't know how reliable its predictions are. So, if I had to choose, for now at least, I would rely more on the BLS data.

Elizabeth, that's a great point that it's important to pay attention to local, or at least state employment trend data, especially in health care where regulations, delivery systems, salaries and wages, and changing federal and state health care policy may affect jobs and careers, and where this mix of variables may vary from state to state. In some states more than others, hospitals -- especially in rural areas -- are cutting back or closing altogether.

Mike, thanks for looking at the difference in qualifications and salaries for home health aides (HHAs) and personal care aides (PCAs). I wonder if someone has studied what is happening in the health care industry that accounts for the rise of jobs for PCAs compared with HHAs who appear to have more health-related occupational training. Also, perhaps we have some employment counselors here who can provide some insights into this from their local  perspective. I also wonder if HHAs might have better opportunities for advancement in the health care industry, for example to LPN or Rad Tech training programs or other next-step positions in the health care career pathway. Anyone know?

David J. Rosen