Hospital Aide: Job Description and Education Requirements

Working as a hospital aide requires no formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Hospital aides are required to have a high school diploma or GED. They typically learn through on-the-job training; however, some attend postsecondary courses to become a certified nursing assistant. Hospital aides work under the supervision of nurses and perform tasks such as changing linens and updating records.

Essential Information

Within entry-level positions in the healthcare industry, hospital aides perform a variety of duties under the supervision of nursing staff. Their responsibilities can range from changing bed linens to updating patient records. Some hospital aide positions may require formal education, while others provide on-the-job training.

Required Education High school diploma or GED; on-the-job training provided with employment;
Individuals interested in becoming a certified nursing assistant should complete a certificate program
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% for nursing assistants and orderlies*
Median Salary (2015) $25,710 for nursing assistants and orderlies*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for Hospital Aides

Hospital aides are healthcare paraprofessionals, such as nurse's aides and hospital attendants, working in the hospital environment under the supervision of licensed nurses. They complete numerous non-medical tasks for patients, including serving meals and cleaning rooms. Hospital aides are also sometimes allowed to take the blood pressure and temperature of patients. Although they most often help with procedures that bring them into direct contact with patients, hospital aides also transport supplies and update patient records.

Salary and Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2015 that the median annual salary for hospital aides working as nursing assistants and orderlies was $25,710. Employment in this area was in demand and expected to grow 17% between 2014 and 2024.

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Educational Requirements and Training

The primary educational requirement for hospital aides is a high school diploma or equivalency. A hospital aide may pursue training to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA), also called a certified nurses' aide. The government requires this designation for hospital aides working in nursing care facilities. A CNA must undergo a minimum of 75 hours of training, pass a certification test and register with the appropriate state's nurses' aide registry. State requirements vary, so hospital aides may want to check the certification requirements for the state they want to work in.

Formal training may not always be required, since employers commonly hire and train inexperienced applicants. Hospital aides who will have significant direct contact with patients, however, usually have previous experience. Hospital aides need to be physically fit. These positions sometimes require aides to help lift or support the weight of patients. For this reason, some employers require applicants to be able to lift a minimum number of pounds.

Additional Skills

This job requires an ability to follow directions, an attention to detail and excellent communication skills. The licensed medical professionals supervising hospital aides often expect them to carry out their tasks independently.

From 2014-2024, the BLS predicts much faster than average growth in jobs for nursing assistants and orderlies. Although it's possible to become a hospital aide with a high school diploma and on-the-job training, some hospitals require formal education, and certification may improve professional prospects.

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