Home Health Aide Certification and Certificate Programs

A home health aide works in the home of a disabled, convalescent or elderly person to provide services such as giving medication, checking vital signs, changing bandages, giving massages and helping with medical equipment.

Essential Information

Home health aide certificate programs are typically offered by community colleges and take a year or less to complete. Students learn basic patient care skills, including life support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), in addition to medical terminology. Graduates will be able to assist nurses and other healthcare professionals, and be qualified to obtain certification if required by their state.

Home health aide work is considered entry level and most is done under the supervision of a registered nurse or other licensed healthcare professional.

  • Prerequisites: Immunization and health screening requirements, passing a criminal background check and having a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Other Requirements: Admissions testing or complete a clinical evaluation

Certificate in Home Health Aide

Home health aide certificate programs generally consist of one or two courses that provide a comprehensive training in the knowledge and skills needed for patient care. Within a program, students are instructed in a classroom setting and in a clinical context. Topics covered may include:

  • Healthcare basic concepts
  • Life support
  • Medical terminology
  • First aid
  • CPR

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a much faster than average job growth of 50% for home health aides from 2012 to 2022. The large increase in employment was expected to be due to a growing elderly population and increases in the number of people with debilitating health problems. As of May 2014, the BLS reported a mean annual wage of $22,400 for this field.

Continuing Education Information

Each state has its own requirements for home health aide certification. Some states only require that the employing agency be certified, while others require home health aides to pass a certification exam following completion of an educational program. Besides a skills assessment examination, certification may also require a state administered criminal background check. Some states maintain a registry database of certified home health aides that can be accessed by the public.

Career advancement for a home health aide is limited without further education. Some home health aides may wish to complete a degree program in nursing to become a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse.

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