Group home workers work in residential care facilities assisting people with disabilities, displaced young people, people with addictions and others who need support or help with the activities of daily living. While the job of helping others can be a rewarding one, group home workers don't make a lot of money. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, group home workers -- also called personal care aides -- earn well below the median income of most workers in the U.S.
The BLS reports that all personal care aides earned a mean annual wage of $20,990 as of May 2013. The median income was $20,100 per year vs. a median income of $34,750 for all occupations as of May 2012. Personal care aides who work in residential care facilities -- which include group homes -- earned a mean wage of $22,010 as of May 2013. The highest paid 10 percent earned $27,740 a year or more, while the lowest paid 10 percent earned $16,440 or less. Many work full-time, but if you're looking for part-time work, you can expect a mean hourly wage of $10.09. Meanwhile, the Indeed.com job website, which compiles salary data based on job openings listed on its site, lists the average salary for personal care aides at $23,000 a year as of December 2014.
The BLS reports that Alaska was the highest paying state for personal care aides as of May 2013, at an average of $28,940 per year. North Dakota was next at $28,150, followed by New Jersey at $27,950. Most of the highest paying states tended to be concentrated in the Northeast, while most of the lowest paying were in the Southeast and Southwest. Cost-of-living differences often contribute to different rates of pay.
Earning More in the Profession
One way to increase your salary potential is to earn a degree or certificate that opens up new doors. For example, community colleges and technical schools offer certificate and associate's degree programs in Human Services. Successful completion of these programs gives you the opportunity to work as a social services or human services assistant in the group home setting. According to the BLS, social and human services assistants earned a mean annual wage of $31,280 as of May 2013. By earning that degree and working your way up in the group home, you can also qualify for a manager position. According to data compiled by Indeed, group home managers earned an average salary of $70,000 as of December 2014.
Outlook, Training and Skills
According to the BLS, employment of personal care aides is expected to increase 49 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This is largely due to an aging baby boomer generation. While you will need to be an emotionally stable, positive and organized person to succeed in this position, the job doesn't require extensive training. To become a group home worker or personal care aide, you'll typically only need a high school diploma and on-the-job training. In some states you might also need to be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and basic first aid. In addition, some states might require you to attend training programs in human services. Your employer might pay for this after you're hired.