Becoming certified as a Home Health Aide qualifies you to work in any number of home care settings, and prepares you for a rewarding career as a professional caregiver. With a projected over half-a-million new HHA jobs needed by 2022 (www.bls.gov), the demand for home health and personal care specialists is at an all-time high, so now is the perfect time to get started in this rapidly-expanding field.
If you’d like to work in position that allows for flexible hours and gives you the chance to make a difference in the lives of others – all while working in a relaxed setting – then a career in home health care may be right for you!
HHA Job Description
Home Health Aides are allowed to perform basic health-related tasks (e.g. checking a patient’s pulse rate), but the majority of their shift is usually spent assisting clients with housekeeping and personal care at their place of residence.
During a typical workday, an HHA can expect to do the following:
Clean the client’s residence (e.g. wash dishes, vacuum, etc.)
Assist the patient with bathing, dressing, etc.
Plan and prepare meals for the client
Help schedule appointments and transportation for the patient
Provide the client with companionship and monitor his or her well-being
As mentioned, there may also be situations where the caregiver is required to provide low-level healthcare services, such as: taking a patient’s temperature, checking his or her pulse rate, or monitoring vital signs.
Home Health Aide Training & Certification
To become a Home Health Aide, you must first complete a formal training program and then pass a standardized HHA certification exam (click here to see a sample test from the District of Columbia).
Most HHA training programs contain at least 75 hours of instruction (this is a federally-mandated minimum requirement), 16 of which must take place in a clinical environment, and can be completed in as little as two weeks. Certain states also have additional requirements that can increase the total number of hours significantly.
How Much Do Home Health Aides Make?
According to May 2013 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median Home Health Aide salary in the U.S. is $20,820.
This figure varies considerably by state, however, as home care professionals employed in states in the Northeast (e.g. Connecticut at $29,180) and West (e.g. California at $29,000) tend to earn well above the national average.
It should also be pointed out that HHAs who work in large cities (e.g. $34,000 in New York City) also earn substantially more than their rural counterparts. As is the case with real estate, where HHA pay is concerned, it’s all about location, location, location.
Home Health Aide classes are currently
offered through a wide range of institutions around the country. From vocational schools and community colleges, to the American Red Cross, it is possible to find quality courses accredited by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) that fit a variety of different budgets, schedules and learning styles.
To find courses near you, we recommend that you use our search feature at the upper right, or review the list of accredited Home Health Aide training programs below.