How to Become a Home Health Aide

Jan 06, 2020

This article will provide you with the information and steps required to become a Home Health Care Aide in the US. In it you will find the types of tasks a Health Care Aide performs, the education required, the certification process, and what types of jobs are available after becoming certified.

Information about Home Health Care Aides

Home Health Care Aides (sometimes referred to as HHA's) perform a wide range of health and personal tasks for patients which can include dressing and bathing patients, creating safe home and living environments, assisting patients with meeting nutritional needs, checking patient vitals and giving medications. HHA's may work in the private home of a patient or client, assisted living facilities, group homes, retirement communities, or independent living apartments.

Required Skills High level of integrity, interpersonal and communication skills, physically capable, use of memory and active listening
Job Growth* 37% for 2018-2028
Median Salary (2018)* $24,200 per year

Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Home Health Care Aide Online

Home Health Care Aide (HHA) certification and training is widely available online, however there are federal and state requirements for practical hours that an HHA must complete which cannot be done online. Some courses are recommended to be done in person as online training isn't effective for some subjects such as moving patients, checking vitals, and giving medications

Step 1: Research the State Requirements for Certification in Your State

There are both federal and state requirements for becoming an HHA. The federal requirements are considered minimum standards and mandate that 75 hours of courses or programs be completed, 16 of which are in-person, hands-on training. Individual states have various requirements ranging from more coursework to 160 hours of training to become a certified nurse aid prior to becoming an HHA.

Step 2: Complete Required Coursework Online

Several online colleges offer programs for HHA's online with typically no prerequisites required to enroll, although some schools require a high school diploma or GED. It is beneficial to find a course provided by a school or educational program that offers NNAAP Certification (given by the National Council of School Boards of Nursing) as this typically provides students with a better chance of finding a job once qualified.

Online course work can consist of textbook readings, assignments, online exams, and viewing text and videos online as assigned by the instructor. Online courses will require the student to have a computer with a good internet connection.

Step 3: Complete Practical Hands-On Training and Exam

After you have completed your theoretical coursework, you will need to complete your required hours of hands-on training. This could be in the form of an internship, or by attending classes at a physical school, campus, or college that teaches the HHA program. Once all training hours are complete, the student will need to write and pass a certification exam. Only after passing the exam will the student get their HHA certification and be able to begin working. For example, California requires that an HHA have 120 hours of coursework and hands-on training. Further information can be found online regarding the vocational requirements in different states, or, you can contact your local government or licensing board to gain this information.

Step 4: Complete Employer Specific Required Training

Your potential employer may have certain requirements for specific training courses that you may need in addition to the ones mentioned above. For example, there is a CPR course frequently required by most employers, and if your potential employer is a Medicare/Medicaid agency you may need to comply with federal licensing requirements. Information can be found in specific job advertisements online, and further information regarding specialist training and centers can also be found online.

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