While many home care aides are trained on-the-job, some choose to earn a certificate in the field, such as a home health aide certificate. Although such programs are not typically required to gain a position with a home health care service, earning a certificate can provide aides with an advantage in the field.
Students enrolled in this program learn to meet basic human needs of the ill and disabled while in their homes, and they also learn how to communicate with patients' family members, licensed physicians, nurses and social workers. State certifications are available in this field. Some private, for-profit organizations also offer their own form of certification training for home health aides, although individuals should be wary and check for accreditation before paying training fees.
Most programs will require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. Some programs require that students have a strong grasp of the English language and at least a ninth grade reading comprehension level. Some applicants may be required to take a placement test before admission is offered.
Home Care Aide Certification and Training Program
Home health care certificate programs are designed to provide students with practical step-by-step instruction on how to provide basic care to patients. Specific courses include:
- Medical terminology
- Basic human anatomy and basic life support
- Patient nutrition
- Medication administration
- Fundamental health care concepts
- Home health aide practicum
Home care aides who work for agencies that receive some funding from Medicare are legally required to complete a formal training program and gain state certification. To do so, they must complete at least 75 hours of training and pass an examination. Some states may have further requirements.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
As of May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reported, home health aides earned a median annual salary of $21,920. The employment outlook for home health aides is bright; the BLS predicts a much faster than average 38% rise in jobs from 2014-2024.
Since earning a certificate is optional, prospective home care aides may set themselves apart from other job-seeking candidates by taking courses such as medical terminology, patient nutrition, and basic human anatomy. Aides working for Medicare-funded companies are required to have formal education and secure certification.