Home health care nurses help patients, such as the elderly or disabled, who require assistance at home for health-related challenges. A nursing diploma is one option for those interested in becoming a home health care nurse, though undergraduate degree programs are more common and more widely accepted for licensure.
While not concentrated in home health care, associate's degree programs in nursing offer courses that may qualify students for licensure and positions in the field. Liberal arts courses may be incorporated into the program or may be a prerequisite for admission. The programs typically take 2-3 years and are offered through community colleges. Coursework consists of classroom, lab and clinical training.
- Program Levels in Nursing: Associate's degree.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED and possible completion of liberal arts courses.
- Program Length: 2 to 3 years.
- Other Requirements: Clinical training is expected.
Associate's Degree in Nursing
This degree program covers certain categories of patients, such as family health or community health or adult health. Students can expect to undergo lab and clinical training in addition to taking core courses. Science courses related to the field of nursing are also required in this curriculum, but may be waived depending on a student's high school academic merit. Some topics covered include:
- Nursing fundamentals
- Anatomy and physiology
- Skills for patient care
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), registered nurses could expect job growth of 19%, faster than the average for all occupations, from 2012 to 2022. The increase in demand is due in part to an increasing emphasis on preventive health care and technological advances that allow more illnesses to be treated. Those working in home health care services made up 6% of the workforce according to the BLS. Additionally, the average salary for home health care registered nurses was $65,120 in May 2014.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of an associate's degree in nursing who have passed the NCLEX-RN exam will hold the title of RN. Further career training could take the form of the 'RN-to-BSN' curriculum, which fills in the gaps between the credits earned for the associate's and those needed for the bachelor's degree. Licensing may be required to work for an agency that accepts government funding such as Medicare or Medicaid. Nurses should check with their individual state or agency for specifics. Master's degrees in nursing are available which include a focus on home health care nursing.