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Health Care Aide: Vocational School Diploma Overview

Most home health care aide programs are offered as certificates, rather than diplomas. These programs teach students to provide basic patient care through lecture classes and hands-on training.

Essential Information

Studying to become a home health aide could lead to a rewarding career that is growing quickly. Students in home health care aide programs learn to perform tasks that may include helping patients get dressed, eat and move. Students also learn to do basic housekeeping and maintain a safe environment for patients. The program length is typically one semester and can prepare graduates to earn state-mandated or voluntary certifications.

To be admitted into health aide diploma programs, applicants should have a high school diploma, complete a physical examination and submit immunization records.


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Vocational Diploma for Health Care Aides

Students in these programs prepare to handle emergency situations, meet nutrition standards and care for people with common diseases and disorders. For some positions, home health care aides must be certified. Students should make sure any program they are considering meets their state's regulations. Some common courses include:

  • Nutrition standards
  • Emergency procedures
  • Rehabilitation techniques
  • Common diseases and disorders

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 820,630 home health aide positions as of May 2015. The projected job growth for home health aides is 38% from 2014-2024. The large projected growth is due mainly to a rise in the elderly population. The median annual wage for home health aides as of May 2015 was $21,920 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

The BLS reported that individuals working for an agency that accepts Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements must complete a state certification program. State certification usually involves completing a training program and competency exam.

Individuals may also seek voluntary certification through professional organizations, such as the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. Certification requirements typically include completing a training program, having skills assessed by a nurse and passing an exam.

Home health aide diploma programs teach students basic health care concepts and procedures. Once students graduate they can go on to become state certified in order to qualify for certain positions; voluntary certification is available to aides who want to demonstrate their professional expertise.


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