Personal care and service careers include a diverse and widely-ranging variety of professions. Job descriptions vary widely, as do educational requirements. The common denominator for those who enter careers in this field is a strong interest in providing a service to another person, usually on a one-on-one interactive basis.
Personal grooming professionals focus on providing hair and/or skin care services to enhance the appearance of consumers. Jobs in this category include barbers, cosmetologists, hairdressers, manicurists, pedicurists, makeup artists, and skin care specialists. Meanwhile, personal assistants help busy individuals with household and personal errands. Other service professionals perform specific tasks that help their clients meet a goal or solve a problem.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the aging baby boomer population will require more care and opt to stay at home to receive it. This could lead to exceptional growth in certain segments of the personal care and service industries. Specifically, the BLS expects employment in personal care and service occupations to increase 21 percent from 2012 to 2022. According to the BLS, the following careers are some of the most popular in this field:
Top Careers in Personal Care and Service (BLS, 2013)
|Career||Number of Workers Nationally in 2013||Job Description||Degree Requirements|
|Barbers||15,100||Barbers use their skills and expertise to create styles for their clientele. They trim and cut hair, shampoo and massage the scalp, apply color, and manage their workspace.||The BLS reports that many barbers attend a trade or technical school to learn the art of cosmetology. Programs offered typically lead to a certificate of completion or Associate degree.|
|Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists||351,960||Hairdressers and hairstylists wash, color, and cut hair to their client's specifications. They may also add permanent waves or create hairstyles for special occasions.||Most hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists attend a trade or technical school in order to earn a certificate or Associate degree in Cosmetology.|
|Personal Care Aides||1,135,470||According to the BLS, personal care aides perform a wide range of tasks that depend on the needs of their clients. They may help with hygiene and personal grooming, assist with grocery shopping or cleaning, and prepare meals, among other tasks.||Formal education is not required, but most personal care aides hold a high school diploma.|
|Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Directors||24,280||Morticians, undertakers, and funeral directors prepare deceased bodies for viewing. They may embalm, dress, and apply makeup to the deceased and/or arrange the funeral and burial. They also provide emotional support to family members of the deceased.||An Associate degree in Mortuary Science is the minimum educational requirement for this career. However, certain states require morticians, undertakers, and funeral directors to earn a Bachelor's degree.|
|Animal Care and Service Workers||164,960||Animal care workers take care of an animal's basic needs. They may groom them, bathe them, feed them, and exercise them, although tasks vary according to the job.||Animal care workers are not required to complete any postsecondary education.|
Personal Care and Service Career Education
Although a certificate or degree are not always required for a career in the personal care and service industries, many individuals choose to receive postsecondary education in order to improve their job prospects. Meanwhile, certain service careers do require a certificate or degree and/or licensure in order to gain employment. The following table uses BLS data from 2013 to outline the different degree options in this field and what kind of career they may help you qualify for:
|Degree Type||Timeline for Completion||Possible Careers|
|Certificate||Certificate programs can typically be completed in 9-24 months.||Barbers, Childcare Workers, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists, Manicurists and Pedicurists, Shampooers, Theatrical Makeup Artists, Animal Care and Service Workers, Flight Attendants, Gaming Services Occupations, Recreation Workers, Skincare Specialists|
|Associate||Associate degrees can typically be completed with two years of full-time study. However, programs completed on a part-time basis may take longer.||Barbers, Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Directors, Hairdressers and Cosmetologists, Theatrical Makeup Artists, Flight Attendants, Skincare Specialists|
|Bachelor's||Bachelor's degree programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete.||Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Directors|
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," May 2013 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Barbers, Hairdressers, and Cosmetologists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/barbers-hairdressers-and-cosmetologists.htm#tab-1
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Personal Care Aides, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/personal-care-aides.htm#tab-1
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Funeral Service Occupations, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/funeral-service-occupations.htm#tab-1
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Animal Care and Service Workers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/animal-care-and-service-workers.htm#tab-1
Schools for Personal Care And Service are listed in the column to the left.
This table shows summary data on occupations in the US. Clicking on any occupation name brings you to a page showing job prospects and salaries for that occupation in hundreds of metro areas across the country, with data updated through 2022.(Where data is denoted by an asterisk (*), summary info was not available.
Click each Occupation title for more details.
|Animal Care and Service Workers||214,680|
|Child Care Workers||564,630|
|Funeral Directors and Funeral Service Occupations||8,400|
|Gaming Services Occupations||9,950|
|Hairdressers and Cosmetologists||377,210|
|Manicurists and Pedicurists||110,170|
|Theatrical Makeup Artists||3,140|