Welcome! Now You Can Leave!
I’m sure you have better things to do than improve the quality of your life by getting a good paying job as a home health aide in the healthcare industry, right?
If you want to expand your horizons and make a better life for yourself and others then you landed on the right place!
If you are concerned that you do not have a high school diploma and this is limiting your opportunities you need to keep reading as you will learn the easy-to-follow steps to get yourself a great job with tremendous opportunities and growth potential!
All The Resources You Need Are Right Here
HomeHealthAideGuide.com is the #1 resource on how to train to be a home health aide and get a job. From your dream of finding a rewarding job in the medical and health industry, to advancing in the position, you can benefit from the knowledge and resources at HomeHealthAideGuide.com.
So let’s get started, OK?
A Growing Job Market
Becoming a home health aide (also known simply as “HHA”) is a great opportunity to help others who need some basic care.
It is one of the fastest growing job markets and expectations are that there will continue to be a very strong demand for home health aides.
Job growth is attributable to:
- growth of elderly population
- increased health issues with older folks
- elderly staying in their homes longer
- less costly, too, than hospital or nursing homes
- high turnover of home care aides
For those without a high school diploma the profession is one is of the very few where you do not need a degree, work full time and make a good salary. You can attain additional training and certification and make even more money.
You’re looking for employment, you’re either new to the job market or looking for a change, your skill set may be limited, stability and growth in the field are important and you’d like to get started right away – a home health aide may be perfect for you!
[You will most likely need to be eighteen (18) years or older, read and write in English and not have any type of criminal record.]
What Exactly IS a Home Health Aide?
Home health aides help people in their homes who may be suffering from an illness or disability; many are elderly and need care while they remain in their home – which is much cheaper and cost-effective for everyone than being in a nursing home or hospital. And, it allows the person (sometimes referred to as a patient or client) to stay in the familiar surroundings of their home.
You, as a home health aide, visit your clients according to a schedule you establish with your employer – a home health agency. You may be assigned the same client each day or only see him/her once a week and see others in between.
Similar Jobs to a Home Health Aide
The terminology can be confusing – depends on who is using it and where.
Here’s a breakdown on some of the differences between all of them.
Who’s Employed As a Home Health Aide?
Home health aides are predominantly women – about 88% are women; black/African Americans comprise about 35%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Does this mean if you’re a white male you should not pursue? Of course not!
The industry is growing by leaps and bounds and employers of health aides are eager to hire – have the ambition and some basic training and it’s the ideal job for anyone.
Why Become a Home Health Aide?
Here are 10 Reasons:
- phenomenal growth rate: almost a 50% growth rate from 2012 to 2022 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- aging population means increased opportunity helping others in home
- flexible hours
- minimum training requirement
- full-time job
- never dull and always something new each day
- opportunity to help others
- potential stepping stone to advance your career in the health field
- relatively low education required
- from high school to home health aide in weeks
As a home health aide you can make a tremendous difference to those who need help in their homes.
You’ll be performing such tasks as bathing, administering medicine, cooking and cleaning, transporting clients to either run errands or for a doctor’s visit, etc.
You can be doing all or none of these – you may be simply providing a person a fried to talk to or sit with. How rewarding is that?
Your specific tasks all depend on many factors such as:
- client needs and/or those of the family
- physical and mental condition of the client
- level of training (e.g. are you certified to administer medicines?)
Why NOT To Become a Home Health Aide!
There are many reasons not to become a home health aide as well. The number one reason would be if you do not enjoy working with people. You need to have compassion and patience.
Becoming a home health aide is steady work and there is will plenty of demand though the salary may be too low to meet your lifestyle and without advanced training your opportunities for growth may be limited. Make sure you weigh the pros and cons of becoming a home health aide.
If you are not in good physical shape or have no tolerance or patience then you should look for another profession.
And one last reason not be a home health aide – insincerity. If you have no passion to help people and think you can fake it to make the money and get a job, well, you will be miserable and you won’t last long. Just not fair to yourself or the clients.
What To Expect
Your “assignment” as a home health aide could take you to many clients a day or simply one. You can be visiting a client in a home, an assisted living facility or even a group home.
Chances are high that you’ll be seeing the same clients on a regular basis though you may see more than per day.
For example, you may fix breakfast for a client each day then after you clean up the kitchen head off to another person in need of some companionship around lunch time.
Typical HHA Functions
Your day will usually be different each day.
Depending on the client your’e serving and your level of experience the services you’ll be providing could range from preparing meals to changing bandages.
Here’s a short list of typical duties:
- oversee medicines
- monitor vital signs
- put on and change bandages
- move patient – such as out of bed to a chair
- assist with physical exercises
- bathing and dress the client
- prepare meals
- drive to appointments/errands
Here’s a listing of some of the tasks you will not be asked to perform as a home health aide:
- colostomy irrigations
- tube feedings
- tracheostomy tube care
- vaginal irrigation or douche
- prefilling of insulin or other syringes
- providing advice on medical issues
- suture removal
- manicure / pedicures
- glucose testing
Steps To Become a Home Health Aide
One of the many benefits of being a home health aide is that the educational requirements are pretty low. Some states don’t require a high school diploma while others have stricter requirements.
If you are in need of training (either required by law or you’d like to take to advance your skill set) chances are there is a college or vocational school in your area offering classes or courses.
A home health aide is the fastest growing careers and schools are gearing up to educate this workforce. Courses can be taken over weeks.
If you intend to work for a home health agency then they may offer training for free since you’ll be working for them. They like to control their in-house training requiring the same skill set from all their employees. Yet, some companies train-as-you-go meaning you’ll shadow a qualified home health aide for a time and learn from that person all the requirements.
While home health aides do not need to be licensed many states and/or companies require certification.
You’ll need to take about 80 hours worth of classes and pass and exam – but please don’t fret as the tests re designed to help you and the client and not intended to make you fail. They want you to pass and succeed in the field.
Benefits To Being a Certified Home Health Aide
In order to make more money as a home health aide you’ll need more formal training and be certified. Look to your local community colleges and even your city/town as there may be programs offered there.
It should not take long to get the training you need – no longer than a semester, depending how many hours a week you devote. Time well worth it and skills you will have the rest of your life.
As part of earning a home health aide training certificate you may need to pass a physical exam, a background check, etc. Upon completion of the training graduates need to pass a state competency exam.
See National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) for help on how to get certified.
Important Reasons to be Certified as a Home Health Aide:
- Increased Salary. As you get the necessary skills as part of your training you may be able to make more money as you will be in greater demand. A home health agency will be glad to hire someone who has been certified over one who may lack the required skill set.
- Greater Flexibility. You may have greater flexibility in where you choose to work because of your enhance skill level.
- More Options. You can still find a job without certification but you will have more options by being certified. You may have the option of selecting between two (2) or three (3) agencies as opposed to just one (1).
- Enhances Your Resume. ANY type of education is important no matter what the field is. Employers want to hire competent people and not spend their time (and money) seeking just anyone. Invest in yourself and your family and add a completed training program to your resume – no one can ever take it away from you!
Any home health aide certificate program is a short amount of time to invest in your future and the payoff is big. Build upon your foundation as you enter into a career in the health and medical profession.
Finding a Home Health Aide Training Program
You can receive training to become a home health aide from:
- Local health care agencies
- Community colleges
- Vocational/technical schools
- Online training programs
A typical HHA training program may take six (6) weeks or less to complete. The program will typically include lectures by those in the field, quizzes and test, some hands on experience at a health care facility such as a nursing home or hospital.
Free HHA Training
Home health aide training will most likely be $100 – $1,000; this is a lot of money for someone just starting out in the medical profession.
You may not have the money or the resources to take out a loan either.
You may be able to get free training from your local home health aide agency. Remember, this is a super-hot field and companies can’t train people fast enough to be a home health aide. Many agencies offer free training to help you (and them!) get started.
Contact several agencies in your area and start asking questions – do they offer free training and what are the requirements.
- at least eighteen (18) years old
- pass an entrance exam
- high school diploma or GED
- photo ID and Social Security Card
- small non-refundable fee for books and supplies
- drug-screening test
- background check
- physical exam
- read / write English
- eligible to work in the United States
OK, perhaps nothing is free in the world… if they offer free training they may ask for something in return such as a commitment from you that you work with their firm for a period of time.
Typically they’ll ask you to honor a year working for them. When applying for the training program ask upfront – don’t be shy as you don’t want any surprises. And neither do they!
Agency Training – Some Details You May Encounter
- usually no cost to the student
- enhanced curriculum
- typical training lasts about a month and goes Monday – Friday, 9AM – 5PM
- you must attend all classes and be on time – or else you’re out!
Move Up the HHA Ladder
5 tips on to advance you home health aide career:
- have your high school diploma
- take the course to get certified
- take any and all client assignments you can get
- train other aspiring home health aides
- become a supervisor of other HHA’s and watch your salary increase
What To Expect For Salary
With such a fast growing industry and low educational requirements the starting pay may be low and unless you advance as a home health aide you may be limiting yourself. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual salary is about $22,400.
There’s plenty of good news to go along with that:
- certified home health aides may make more
- a state’s minimum wage law may provide you with a substantial increase
- working in an assisted living facility will earn you more
As of January 2015, home health aides (as well as certified nursing assistants, personal care aides, caregivers, and companions) are entitled to receive federal minimum wage and overtime pay protections –if you are employed by a home health agency.
If you were hired by your client or his/her family then you may not be eligible to be paid minimum wage (or overtime pay)! More information to determine if/how you may benefit from the new minimum wage law is found here.
The Steps To Be A HHA!
Great! You’ve decided you want to be a home health aide and care and help clients with some of the daily living needs.
How and where do you actually begin?
You need to follow four (4) basic steps to become a home health aide.
You do not need a high school diploma or GED. [General Educational Development or General Education Diploma is a series of tests equating to high-school level academic skills.]
However, by having a diploma you may be afforded opportunities that others cannot get.
The first step to becoming a home health aide is training. Even if you think you know what it takes you still need to be formally trained in the very basics of providing care. Your training usually will take place on-the-job as you shadow and follow a nurse or an experienced home health aide with seniority.
Home health agencies require home health aides to meet training requirements that are mandated by the state.
Each state in the US has a minimum of sixteen (16) hours of supervised training and most states require seventy-five (75) hours and you must pass an evaluation. There are many ways in which you can get the proper training.
Ways in which you can get trained:
- community colleges
- night courses at a high school
- elder care programs
- home health care agencies
Once training is completed, a new home health aide may be required to complete a competency evaluation to ensure they can properly perform tasks as required for their patients. Without additional or advanced training, advancement within the HHA field is limited.
Most likely you will be working for a home health care agency; either that or you are self-employed.
Most agencies accept Medicare and Medicaid – this is how they get paid for the services they provide their clients. The only way the affects you is that these agencies are required by the federal to train their home health aides according to government standards.
Preparing For The HHA Exam
So after your classroom (or online) and clinical requirements have been met you can apply for the examination. Most likely you will complete this paperwork even before you start your training. Sometimes, too, the school in which you are training will take care of this paperwork – they are the experts in filling them out so ask if you have any questions. The application gets sent to your respective state nursing board.
Some states treat a home health aide just like a nurse aide/assistant so the actual exam may be the same; and a great deal of states require home health aides to be a certified nurse aide (CNA) then be a home health aide after additional training. Know the answers to these questions upfront as you do not want to wasted you do not need – you can get additional training elsewhere once you get certified.
Once the application is sent to the nursing board you will be notified of the place, date and time of your scheduled exam. It may take up to a month in some cases to get notified so please make sure you do not squander way this valuable time. Prepare for the exam and remain focuses on the end game – being a certified home health aide!
Spend time with other prospective students and study together and challenge each other. Once of the best ways to study is in groups as you can learn from others in case you have trouble with a particular section of the training you had. You may have been hesitant to ask a question in class and now is your chance to ask.
Don’t be concerned – once you have the training passing the competency evaluation should not be difficult at all. The competency test which cover a wide area of disciplines within home health care.
One of the ways to make more money as a home health aide is to either assume more responsibility and / or attain advanced training. This also serves as proof to others, including your employer, of you advanced ability to provide care for clients.
To be eligible you must complete 75 hours of training, demonstrate competency in 17 skill areas and pass a written exam. Contact your state home care association or a local training program to inquire about alternative programs.
More than 875,000 people are employed as home health aides, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The growth rate is projected to more almost 50% from 2012-2022 with employment at about 1.3 million.
What this means for you?
Your prospects are very good for getting a full time job and making money right away. The population continues to age and people are staying in their homes and are more independent. All this works in your favor! Home health agencies that are certified will most likely be the more active employers.
Need to brush up on how to nail that interview for the home health aide job? Try these killer interview secrets!
Here’s an example of an employer giving a HHA (http://www.abchc.com/home-health-hha-test) test online as you apply for a job. The jobs are there for the taking.
Marketable skills are always in demand. Advance your career by investing in yourself.
You chances up earning more money or getting a promotion with your employer will be limited if you do not further your education and skill set.
The basics of home care are, well, basic but there is always something else to learn in the field of home care and you should take advantage of any and all training – many times your company will pay for it!
Think long term, too. With your high school diploma you may consider being a certified nursing aide (CNA).
How is a home health aide (HHA) different from a certified nursing aide?
Also consider that with a certificate from a vocational or technical school (normally about one year) will enable you to be a licensed practical nurse. And within two year’s you can be a you can be a registered nurse by getting your associate’s degree.
Many home health aide’s choose to stay as they are for many years and, along the way, move from one agency to another; some go from part-time to full-time and vice versa.
For those who do move on in their medical career the most common paths lead to medical assistant, registered nurse, or even an ultrasound technologist.
Here are some common career paths for a home heath aide – great information!