You know what a home health aide (HHA) does: she’s a professional that helps elderly, convalescent or disabled persons live in their own homes.
You know the job outlook for HHA’s is one of the fastest growing job markets. Expectations are that there will continue to be a strong demand for home health aides.
You know that being a HHA can be a great stepping stone to other jobs in the medical profession. The most common paths lead to medical assistant, registered nurse, or an ultrasound technologist.
You know there are training requirements to become a certified home health aide. Each state requires at least 75 hours of training, including at least 16 hours of supervised clinical training.
You know that quality home aide training, whether online or on campus, can range from $200 – $2,500 and sometimes even more.
You know you would you would be a great home health aide but…
You also know that you are not made out of money. The training necessary to pass the HHA test can be expensive – you may need help to pay for this.
What you don’t know is: how to get free HHA training!
Your home health aide certification cost should be nothing, or a very low cost.
And it’s actually right under your nose.
The very best way to get free home health aide training: contact home health aide agencies.
But first, stay away from companies that promise to get you working as a home health aide in 2 weeks and charge you $300. Or even worse, make you pay $1,000!
These schools may be legitimate – but why take a chance. No one calls you back when you leave a message, their website looks horrible and does not answer any of you questions and no one you talk to has ever heard of it.
And these training classes may be a scam! You’re a hard worker and don’t want to throw you money away.
The very worst situation: you complete all the necessary steps to be a HHA, spend $1,000 and you find out that you cannot be certified. Turns out the school missed a key step along the way and now you have to pay more and wait even longer to start working.
Here’s the best part:
You can avoid all of these headaches and frustrations.
Free and very good training is available to you.
Most home health agencies offer free classes / training which can getting you working in weeks. It’s the best kept secret.
Home health agencies are desperately hiring certified HHA’s. Many times, they cannot find them… so they are training them themselves.
Very clever: they train you for free and then you work for them.
Focus on agencies where you will be working.
No matter where you are in the country there are home care opportunities galore. Why focus your efforts across the state? Look locally as that is where you will be working.
If you’ll be working, for example, in Rochester, New York then find agencies in that area.
Load your favorite search engine and type in the search bar:
“home health agencies in rochester new york”
Note: If you search for: “home health aide classes near me” you will get tons of companies that do not offer free or low-cost training.
Take a look at the results using Google:
Look at all these great results – this shows the top ones; if you scroll down in your results you’ll see many more.
There’s even a map to show some of the agencies in your area!
You may even see advertisements; they’ll have “Ad” next to the listing like the sample results below:
There’s nothing wrong with following up and researching the advertisements. Be cautious, they may not be a very good match to what you searched for. They paid the search engine for this placement on top with the hope that you will go to them first.
Step #2 – Take Notes
Start to click through the listing of the agencies that appeared on your screen.
Go to the websites; look around and get a quick feel for the companies – first impressions are everything!
On their website, click some of the example links below:
Locations (may be under a “Contact” link): where are the offices?; is there more than one location?; is the main office close to you? Of course, you’ll be working in clients’ homes but the office is most likely where the classes will take place.
About Us: how long have they been in business?; are they affiliated with a larger / national company?; what geographic areas do they serve?
Services Offered: this will highlight some of the services they offer their clients. Examples may include: rehabilitation, wound care, hospice, and diabetes care. Registered nurse, not the HHA, perform many of these – so don’t get nervous.
Employment Opportunities: the demand is very high for aides so many companies show this information on the front page. This is where you will find about the training that’s required to work for them and if they offer it for free, or low cost.
Takes real brief notes of the agencies you may have an interest in or want to question.
Begin to make contact with the ones that may be of interest to you.
Don’t email them… please call them on the phone (if they provide a phone number on the website).
“I hate using the phone, its 2017 why can’t I email them?”
First, you find if they are legitimate. If you reach a machine, leave a message and no one calls you back within a day then scratch them off the list.
Two, as you are speaking with someone you will get a feel for how they act with folks. Are they rude, short with you and don’t have answers to your questions? Scratch them off the list.
Step #3 – Ask Questions
Here’s a suggested list of questions that you may want to have answered. This helps to narrow the selection of agencies.
What are the training requirements?
While you may know the HHA requirements for your state some employers may have their own requirements. You’ll want to know this upfront.
For example, your state may need 75 hours of HHA/CNA training. But an agency may add on another 20 hours – that will make a big difference when you make your decision on where to work.
Who will do the training?
Registered nurses, or referred to as a “RN”, conduct home health training. Since the home health industry is growing so fast things slip through the cracks… agencies will try to use someone other than a RN to do the training – this way they can cut costs.
Are you accredited and state approved?
This may not make sense now but as you narrow your selection it will. You only want to work for an agency that has a state approved curriculum. And if they are accredited, that’s even better. These employers will be funded by Medicaid / Medicare allowing you to work as a certified home health aide and make more money.
Where does the training take place?
Silly question? The headquarters of the agency may be a couple of miles from you house but the training itself could be at a centralized training classroom. That may be 50 miles away! And the skills part may be at another location. Better to know this upfront before you make a training commitment.
How long is the training?
This can run anywhere from 3 weeks to 10 weeks; ask agencies how long theirs is. Some may be bound by state requirements. Also ask if it is full time or part time – some firms will allow you to take your time and take a few classes a week but these are few and far between.
Remember, the goal here is to find, and take advantage of, free HHA training. When companies offer no cost training they want to train you efficiently; which means you’ll be going full time for several weeks.
Full time means Monday – Friday for three (3) weeks; you will not earn money during the training.
Are there any requirements to be eligible for the HHA training?
You may not want to ask all of these this early but these are standard requirements you should be aware of.
- 18 years of age or older
- required to pass an entrance exam
- requires a high school diploma / GED
- provide photo ID and Social Security Card
- deposit for books / supplies
- rug-screening test and background check
- need to lift up to 50 lbs.
You’ll have a full list of requirements long before you start.
What is the cost of the HHA training?
This question makes more sense than “Is it free?” as this sounds like you are more interested in something for free than working with/for the company. The agency wants to make sure you are the right fit for the company and you’ll be a great home health aide – that’s how you want to sell yourself.
Once you ask the question (“What is the cost of the HHA training?) they will tell you is it’s free or if they charge anything. Sometimes websites are not updated so this is why you are asking – you want the most up-to-date information.
Are there any others costs I should be aware of?
There could be other expenses that are part of the training.
You don’t need specifics on all these items this early in the game but you should be aware of any extra costs such as:
- Registration Fee
- Backgrounds check / fingerprinting
- Board of Nursing fee for HHA certificate
- Nursing scrubs
Is there any commitment to work? If so, for how long?
If the agency offers free training then they will most likely make you to work for them; and for a certain amount of time.
Look at it from their perspective for a moment: they are providing you with approximately $1,000 worth or training for free.
They don’t want you to take advantage of this great opportunity, get your HHA certification and then go work for a competitor up the street.
They are giving you something, now you need to give them something.
You may need to work for them for six (6) months. Signing a commitment letter even before you start will also be required. Read the letter and if you don’t understand something ask.
Here’s a free checklist of all these questions to ask; this makes it very easy to track your progress and compare training options.
Step #4 – Start Applying
By now you’ll have a good idea of your choices for free HHA training.
If you don’t have a good selection of companies then start your search again – starting with Step #1 above.
Great, you’re happy with your listing! Schedule meetings with the firms you’d like to work for and start the application process.
A typical map to employment includes these steps:
- Meet with company
- Complete Employment Application
- Name, address, education, references and work history complete with names, phone numbers, and dates of employment.
- Criminal Background Check
- Provide Required Documents
- Driver’s License, Passport or Alien Card
- Social Security Card
- Car Insurance Certificate
- CPR Card
- Employee Health Statement
- HIV Training?
- Alzheimer’s Disease Training?
- Medication Assistance Training
- Commitment Letter
Processing the job/training application may need to be online so after you’ve completed it make sure you give them a call to see if they have received it.
They will schedule and interview and let you know what exactly they need to perform your background check and a pre‐employment physical.
You’re on your way – stay in touch with them to let them know you’re very interested in moving along the employment process.
The company will need to check your references. This may take a little extra time as they get in touch with the folks you’ve listed on the application.
Assuming all checks out they will enroll you in the next open class! Keep in mind you need to attend all your classes.
Depending on the state, once you complete the classes your information is sent to the respective board of nursing. That will make it official that you are a certified home health aide (CHHA).
You can now start working and making money!