Home Health Aide training prepares you to work as a personal care provider in a wide variety of home care settings. Programs can be completed in just a matter of weeks, make you eligible to sit for your state certification exam, and include hands-on training with real patients.
Best of all, classes are available both online and on-site, and may be taken by either current CNAs who are interested in acquiring a Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA) certification, or students with no prior healthcare experience.
CNA vs. Home Health Aide vs. Personal Care Aide
There are three primary types of aides who work in the home health care industry: Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Home Health Aides (HHA), and Personal Care Aides (PCA). While CNAs may add home care work to their job description after acquiring the proper certification, HHAs and PCAs focus on the field exclusively.
The primary differences between CNAs, Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides are broken down in the following graphic:
As you can see, the barriers to entry are significantly lower for the PCA, but the pay and opportunities for upward mobility are severely limited when contrasted against those of the HHA and CNA. It is for this reason that individuals who are serious about a career in home care usually choose to become a Home Health Aide.
Prerequisites for Home Health Aide Training
The prerequisites for HHA classes vary from one program to the next, but generally include the following:
The ability to pass a criminal background check
Recent negative test results for tuberculosis
Unlike most CNA training programs, applicants to HHA programs are usually not required to have a high school diploma or GED. It is important to note, however, that some programs do require applicants to already be a Certified Nursing Assistant prior to admitting them to classes.
Standard HHA Class Curriculum
Because the curricula for Home Health Aide classes must meet federal guidelines and those of the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC), the material covered is usually very similar from one program to the next.
Accredited programs must cover the fundamentals of both home care and basic health-related sciences, and include a clinical component that allows students to gain experience working alongside a current Certified Home Health Aide (CCHA).
Training programs are federally required to include a minimum of 75 hours of instruction, with at least 15 hours dedicated to clinical training. This requirement and additional federal regulations for Home Health Aide training programs are specifically spelled out in Title 42 of the U.S. Code for Public Health.
Most states have their own individual requirements as well which can dramatically increase the number of class hours and the amount of material covered by a course.State Requirements
The following sample curriculum reflects the state of California’s minimum requirements for its accredited HHA training programs:
Sample HHA Training Class Curriculum
|Course Title||Total Hours||Class Hours||Clinical Practice Hours|
|Intro to Aide and Agency Role|
|Interpreting Medical and Social Needs of Patients|
|Personal Care Services|
|Clean and Care Tasks in the Home|
Classes for Certified Nursing Assistants
If you’re already certified as a CNA, the additional training required for you to earn a HHA certificate is considerably less than what is stated above.
Because you would have already completed most of the classroom-based theory courses (e.g. biology) during your CNA training, only the home care-specific portion of the HHA program is required. This generally consists of 35 hours split between hands-on, clinical training (15 hours minimum) and 20 hours of additional classroom study in home care fundamentals.
Finding HHA Training Programs
If you’ve decided to become a Home Health Aide, your next step is to find an accredited HHA training program. Fortunately, you’ll find this to be a relatively easy task as we’ve already provided you with a list of accredited online Home Health Aide training classes below, as well as the search feature at the upper right that will help you locate on-campus programs near you.