Home health aides (HHAs) generally work for agencies funded by Medicaid or Medicare. Completion of a formal training program and professional certification are required and the program applicant must hold a CNA credential. Applicants to an HHA program must be in good health, pass a background check and be able to drive. Students learn to take a patient's vital signs, give medication, change dressings and help with exercises. Certificate programs for aspiring home health care professionals typically take no longer than one semester to complete.
Certification and Training Coursework for Home Health Aides
Home health aides assist older, sick or disabled adults in hospices, other home health agencies or a client's home. Certificate program courses cover basic nutrition, safe patient transfer techniques, infection control, basic life support and medical terminology. Home health aides act under the supervision and direction of a nurse. Courses should prepare students for entry-level careers as well as certification. Program coursework includes:
- Introduction to home health care
- Basic life support
- Checking vital signs
- Medical terminology
- Aging process and nutrition
- Medication administration
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 820,630 home health aides who worked in states across the country as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). More than 385,440 of these individuals worked for home health care services, while others worked for mental health facilities and nursing care facilities. The BLS reports that employment is expected to increase by 38% from 2014 to 2024. The annual median salary for the profession was $21,920 as of May 2015.
Licensure and Certification
While some home health aides don't need anything more than a high school diploma and some on-the-job training, home health aides who work for state-funded agencies must be certified after completing a formal college training program. Some states might have additional requirements. Home health care professionals may also gain voluntary certification offered through the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC).
A home health care training program enables students who wish to work in the field of home health care to obtain certification. Students who complete the program may find work as aides in hospices or at a client's home.