Do you want to improve the quality of your life?
Start right now by getting a good paying job as a home health aide (HHA) in the healthcare industry!
Keep reading to learn the 4 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 strong demand for home health aides.
4 Reasons The Job Market is Strong
- growth of elderly population
- increased health issues with older folks
- elderly staying in their homes longer
- less costly, too, than hospital or nursing homes
For those without a high school diploma the profession is one is of the few where you do not need a degree, work full time and make a good salary. You can get additional training and certification and make even more money.
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; this is much cheaper and cost-effective 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.
People are staying in their homes longer as it is cheaper and more comforting to the patient and family member. The demand is great for home health aides and shows no signs of easing up.
You, as a home health aide, visit your clients according to a schedule you establish with your employer – usually a home health agency.
You may be assigned the same client each day or only see him/her once a week and see others between.
Who’s Employed As a Home Health Aide?
Home health aides are women – about 88% are women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The industry is growing by leaps and bounds and employers of health aides are eager to hire.
If you have the ambition and some basic training this is an ideal job for anyone.
10 Reasons To Become a Home Health Aide
- phenomenal growth rate: almost a projected 38% growth rate from 2014 to 2024 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- aging population means increased opportunity helping others in their home
- flexible hours
- minimum training needed
- 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 providing a person a friend to talk to or sit with. How rewarding is that?
Your specific tasks all depend on 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 To NOT 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 plenty of demand; the starting 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 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.
The #1 question most folks have is “What does a home health aide do?”
Your day will usually be different each day.
Depending on the client you’re serving and your level of experience the services you’ll be providing could range from preparing meals to changing bandages.
Here’s a list of home health aide responsibilities:
- oversee medicines
- track 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
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.
How much does a home care aide earn?
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 a federal 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)!
HHA salaries vary by state – what HHA salaries are the best?
4 Steps To Be A Home Health Aide!
Great! You’ve decided you want to be a home health aide and care and help clients with some of their daily living needs.
How and where do you actually begin?
You need to follow four (4) basic steps to become a home health aide.
4 [Easy!] Steps To Be 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.)
Yet, by having a diploma you may be afforded opportunities that others cannot get.
The first step to becoming a home health aide is training.
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.
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.
Even if you think you know what it takes you still need to be formally trained in the 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 Federal government and the state.
Each state requires the minimum required by Federal law: at least 75 hours of training, including at least 16 hours of supervised practical or clinical training and 12 hours of continuing education per 12 month period; 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 training:
- community colleges
- night courses at a high school
- elder care programs
- home health care agencies
- online training courses
A typical training program may take six (6) weeks or less to complete.
The program will include lectures by those in the field, quizzes and tests, and hands on experience at a health care facility such as a nursing home or hospital.
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.
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
- 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!
There exists a Federal law (42 CFR 484.36) that requires Medicare-certified home health agencies employ home health aides who are trained /evaluated (i.e. test) by programs approved by their respective state.
The law is long and difficult to read and beyond the scope of this article.
In summary, every state must adhere to the mimum training: at least 75 hours of training, including at least 16 hours of supervised practical or clinical training and 12 hours of continuing education per 12 month period; and many require even more training – which is a good thing!
So while you CAN work as a home health aide and NOT be certified you will be limited to private work as just about every home health agency accepts Medicare patients and you will not be allowed to work a this without being certified.
That’ the long answer. Short answer is you need to certified as a home health aide.
More 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!
- Employers want to hire competent people and not spend their time (and money!) seeking just anyone.
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.
Preparing For The Exam
Once training is completed, a new home health aide will be required to complete a competency evaluation (sometimes called a “test” or “exam”) to ensure they can properly perform tasks as required for their patients.
Without extra or advanced training, advancement within the HHA field is limited.
Be prepared for the HHA Test. Pass with flying colors!
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 need 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 waste your time and money. 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!
The key is to prepare for the home health aide exam.
If you have been out of school for a bit you’ll want to get back into the study mode!
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 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 covers a wide area of disciplines within home health care. The exam varies by state – though most cover the exact same material.
One of the best, perhaps the best, ways to prepare for the home health aide test is to take as many practice tests as you can.
It relieves any stress you may have now or will have on the day of the actual exam.
If you are familiar with what it looks like, how the questions flow and how to best manage your time then you will be stress-free when you take it on exam day!
The first suggestion would be to tap into who provided your training. They are used to folks asking for practice tests; they will have a bunch on file for you to take.
Take as many tests as you can get your hands on –many, it not all, will be free so why not?
Everybody wants you to pass the exam.
No one is trying to stop you in your tracks and prevent you from being a certified home health aide. They want to make sure you know what you are doing and you have the proper skills. People will help – just ask.
There are books available that won’t cost you much and there are online HHA tests as well – though most will be hitting you hard to purchases something. And that’s OK, just be careful and don’t buy something you do not need and be especially cautious of monthly payment plans.
Passing The Exam
Once you have passed, you may apply to your state’s board of nursing for certification as a HHA.
When your application has been approved you will receive a paper certification and your name will be placed in an online database.
Most states have the HHA certificate expire after a set period of time (on your certificate) and make you renew – most have a year limit.
More than 875,000 people are employed as home health aides, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The growth rate is projected to more almost 38% from 2014-2024 with employment at about 1.3 million.
What does this mean 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!
Simple ways to make more as a HHA:
- take any and all client assignments you can get
- train other aspiring home health aides
- go from temp to permanent
- private assignments not within your agency
- become a supervisor of others and watch your salary increase
Your chances of 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 employer will even 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 (CNA)?
Also consider that 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 registered nurse by getting your associate’s degree.
Many home health aides 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.
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.
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.
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