There are proven ways to earn more money as a home health aide.
If you think “it is what it is” and there’s no way to increase your home health aide (or personal care aide) salary well there are ways to make more.
There’s a minimum salary as a home health aide (HHA) and really no maximum!
The very least you can earn is the minimum wage and how much beyond that is up to you – if you’re willing to explore the options.
Think optimistically and explore your opportunities – do not limit yourself as you’ll only be depriving yourself of extra income.
The map below highlights what the average annual salary is for a home health aide (and the number of positions in the field – all courtesy of the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics from May 2016).
States Salaries For HHA’s
How much do HHA’s make?
The annual wage for home health aides was $23,600 (as of in May 2016).
As you can tell the ranges vary – but so does the cost of living in each state. The lowest is $18,720 in Puerto Rico while the highest HHA salary is in Alaska at $33,290.
It’s not the intent here to try to identify and highlight why differences exist in home health aide salaries. Examples include cost of living, demand and supply, training requirements, skill sets and education, etc.
What will be explained in detail is how you can increase your home health aide salary with proven ways.
Chances are you will not be relocating to find a higher HHA salary that what may exist in your home state.
What you can do is try to make the most, so to speak, of your home health income and know how to advance in the field and increase your salary.
Here are all 13 ways to make more as a HHA in a neat infographic – enjoy!
New Skill Set(s)
Whether you are entering the medical field as a home health aide to stay as an aide or advance further (for example a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, etc.) you should seriously consider enhancing your skills by adding more tools to your toolbox.
Whatever your level is as a HHA, whether just beginning or having years of experience, learning new skills demonstrates to your current (and future employers) that you are willing to learn new things.
It also shows that you have taken the initiative along with your own time to expand your knowledge base to better yourself.
These are priceless talking points when speaking with others about advancing your HHA career.
Here’s a step by step plan for mastering any new skill from Daily Muse.
You show up to a job fair or an agency and you’re in a room with dozens of other people just like you – how are you going to stand out from all the others? They are hiring just five (5) people that day and you want to start right away.
Make yourself the obvious choice.
Tout and let it be known all that you’ve accomplished.
Working as a home health aide requires a diverse skill set.
Be ready to list on the application your C.P.R. training, the date you completed your certified nurse assistant (CNA) course, handling special needs patients, brain injury clients, human anatomy course work, your volunteer work experience at your senior center, etc.
How can they turn you down of you have all this going for you?
While there are thousands of available home health aide jobs available there are just as many folks going after these jobs – make yourself more marketable and invest in yourself.
Better Starting Rate
With all your newly acquired skills you can almost dictate what you want to make – well, almost!
By hiring you they can see what you can offer them. You’ll be able to advance within the organization and perhaps be one of the leaders some day – so they see that and may be willing to offer you more to start. They may not let the competition get ahold of you either.
Speak The Language
Want to enhance your HHA skill set and make more money? Learn another language.
As immigration increases and with the home health care shortage in full swing, the demand for bilingual healthcare workers is skyrocketing.
The greatest need is for Spanish-speaking home health aides.
If you are bilingual (speak and understand two languages) then you will be in more demand and may even make more money.
Why limit yourself to just English speaking or Spanish speaking clients? You may be getting fewer assignments and limiting your own schedule and not make as much.
This will also help you with cultural differences. Knowing how different culture care for the elderly or sick is important and will help you provide the best care for your client.
Think about it… the Latino population is growing fast in the US and so isn’t the aging population.
Who do you think a greater percentage of the folks who need care will be? Chances are very good that your employer will be looking for this skill and this makes you more desirable – and may make more money.
If you learn Spanish you will be in demand and HHA agencies will pay more to keep you; ask your company, too, as they may even pay for any course you may need. Besides, it will further enhance your skill set if you head towards a nursing profession.
This is where the location in which you’ll be working is key. Florida and New York will have a greater need for bilingual home health aides than perhaps North Dakota.
It’s all about setting yourself apart from others in the field. If there is a greater demand and fewer people with your skills then folks will seek you out and pay you more. If not, then seek them out and make yourself known.
Look into an online Spanish course (you can go at your own pace, save money on commuting and will save you lots versus going to a college for this).
Go From Temp to Permanent
As many as 18% of temporary jobs are converted to full time permanent positions every year. You can fall into this high percentage too with some planning and good communication.
Sit with your manager and make sure you have clear expectations of your job and the responsibilities. Set your priorities with her and it certainly could not hurt to let it be known that you are seeking a permanent position – just tread lightly, don’t overdo it as your actions will speak for you!
Review the HHA job description with your supervisor and ask questions. As you review it this is a great time to ask her if you can add responsibilities to it.
Treat yourself as a permanent employee and don’t consider yourself just a part-timer – feel and play the part and before you know it you’ll be a full-time employee.
Take on additional task and responsibilities; learn all you can about the company; add value by helping others and thinking of ways to improve tasks and make the place more efficient – make yourself known.
This is a great article on Forbes: How To Turn Your Temp Job Into A Permanent One
Get The Degree and Earn More
That hands-on experience combined with your home health aide certification is extremely valuable and certainly required to get employed and advance your career. Yet, if you get a degree you can move ahead either in the agency you’re with now or at another.
For example, if you have a high school diploma and then get an associates degree in healthcare or nursing chances are you will make more money – you’re more valuable to your company and they will want to keep you and groom you into management positions.
You need to ne a bit of research about whether you will get a pay back (i.e. is the expense worth what you may make in additional income).
Though not all healthcare related, this is good perspective on eight (8) degrees that may earn money for you – look into for sure!
Do you want to learn new skills and advance your career as a home health aide or are you seeking a change in careers – either a small one or major one? You’ll want to come up with a very short list of career goals and then work backwards and see what you’ll need as far as education and/or experience to get you there.
Do your research and understand the education requirements. Identify schools or programs that offer the courses and go full steam ahead.
Opportunities Outside of HHA
Even though you are trained as a home health aide and have some tremendous experience and education you want to think about other opportunities.
Think about other places to work that may earn you more money.
Contact local hospitals, nursing homes, Veteran Affairs office/hospital, etc. Tout your skills and your great work experience and ask what they may have available.
You’d be amazed if you walk in with a smile and a positive attitude what you may walk out with!
Go Into Business – YOUR Business
Once you get the training as a home health aide you can start your very own business; this way you can create your own schedule and charge the family / client accordingly.
[You’ll need to be careful about what you charge. Too much and they can go somewhere else for the help and not enough then you’ll be short changing yourself. Have a good idea what others make in your area and come up with a good rate you should be paid. You can always adjust it later.]
Having a good name for yourself as part of the branding you’ve down to get yourself notice will be crucial.
If potential clients have heard of you then they may be apt to pay you more over someone who has the same level of experience but is just plain nasty and insincere at what she does.
“You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar!”
So how do you start driving clients to your new HHA business?
- make phone calls to others with whom you’ve developed relationships
- place an ad in your local newspaper
- have business cards made up to pass out
- develop a website for very little money
Develop and follow (!) a checklist for your new homecare agency to make sure you leave nothing to chance and minimize the surprises along the way.
Do your homework and make sure you understand what it means to have your own business. There are tax reporting/withholding concerns, insurance, etc.
And, yes, spend the time and a little bit of money and consult a professional before you jump in. Short money that may save you lots of headaches and tons of money.
National brands spend millions of dollars each year simply so customers think of them as they walk down the aisle of a supermarket.
You get to the bag of chips and grab Lay’s (the #1 selling chip by far). Those chips most likely tastes just like the supermarket chip! It’s the brand you bought, not the chip.
Develop your own brand. Your brand.
Who are you and how do you and others define you?
The sarcastic and rude home health aide that never smiles and just goes through the motions? Your brand will help you:
- get a promotion
- earning more money
- win that extra shift
- receive a letter of recommendation
Act and behave like a professional home aide: smile, work hard and smart, be sincere (can’t fake it) and have a positive attitude.
But it can be more complicated than that… well, not really complicated but there are certain steps you’d want to follow to building your personal brand.
Your time is precious and the brand you will create will be your most valuable asset – do it right!
Only you can create and develop your brand.
And no one can take it way from you no matter where you work or what you do.
So you’re fully trained and employed as a home health aide, right?
Why not help others get to that point as well and get paid for it! Everybody needs a little help now and then and perhaps you were looking for some guidance as you were exploring a career as a home health aide or personal care aide.
You can use what you’ve learned by helping others and get paid to do it, too![This would not take the place of the formal HHA training they would need to get certified for employment with an agency.]
- let them know the steps they need to get trained
- tell them some helpful hints you’ve learned along the way
- guide them as they prepare to take their HHA competency test
- help them with any uniforms or supplies they made need
- and advise them on how to get a god home health aide job
Sounds pretty exciting doesn’t it? They sky is the limit on what you could help them with.
You can create brochures and business cards, set-up a website, place advertisements, etc. This may actually turn out to be your full-time job!
Many HHA Jobs
Want another way to increase your salary as a home health aide?
May sound a bit crazy right now: you can work for more than one company/person.
If you work for one health agency you can apply to another one and work part time there – you will most certainly be making more!
It does not have to be another agency either. You can work for a family to help take care of a client (i.e. family member). Sometimes these private jobs pay more especially once you’ve established yourself as a valuable person to help.
Comes down to the branding! If you’re thought about in the field as a great person and worker to have then others will be eager to hire you.
Keep in mind that the more work experience/formal training you have the better your chances of working for more than one company. If you’re just starting out at one company with limited experience it may be more difficult to work for another in addition.
With more experience comes more opportunities – just natural.
You may be able to find work as a home health aide for a private-paying client(s).
These assignments may be a bit tougher to find but are worth the effort to find and will most likely payoff with a higher income. These normally go to more experienced folks such as registered nurses as they will mange the overall care of the client.
Typically lesser skilled labor can find opportunities as well in these settings – not above $20 per hour but certainly close. If will pay off if you can find such work – this is where your experience and marketing (yourself) skills really come in handy.
Network with associates, coworkers, past employers and professional networks such as LinkedIn to get the word out about your desire to work for private clients. You won’t typically find these advertised in the paper so networking is crucial.
Tips For Working As a Private HHA
Many times families need more home car than their insurance can pay for and they hire outside a home health agency. They may elect to hire an aide from an agency or hire someone – either way they will pay the HHA directly.
Some consider working as a private home health aide as the ultimate assignment. Yes, there are certainly benefits but it is work and you need to be prepared just as you would any other home health job.
Here are items to consider:
- You will report directly to the family or even the patient
- There may be another [private] HHA working for the family as well for a backup
- Treat this as you would any assignment: professional, courteous and diligence
- You will be interviewed as you would for any job so be prepared
- Make sure you get the basics of the job and ask all your questions up front
- If you are a certified HHA make sure you are in your state’s database as they may check
- Sounds silly, but ask the native language of the patient; you don’t want to work for a Korean lady and all you know is English/Spanish!
Apply for and accept all the shifts you can get at work.
And if you don’t see or hear of any opportunities to work overtime then ask. Make it known that you’d like to work extra time and welcome the opportunity.
Raise your hand and try to work as much overtime as you can and get in on weekend and holiday shifts. You’ll demonstrate that you are eager to learn more and earn more – they’ll respect that. In the meantime, you will make more money each week and certainly be in their mind when they are looking for folks to promote to leadership roles – and there again you can earn more.
Overtime Can Be Tricky
Know your overtime rights as well.
Starting January 2015 “direct care workers” (yes, that’s home health aides as well as personal care aides) must receive at least the federal minimum wage and overtime pay; you’ll be covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The just of it is that if you are employed by a home care agency or any third party you are entitled to the minimum; if you work for your client directly then you may or may not be eligible to the minimum wage and overtime pay.
There are additional regulations by individual state as well. For example, in New York there’s overtime coverage but those employed by third party agencies receive overtime at a reduced rate.
Many agencies will pay performance bonuses, too.
They may work this way:
- paid every 6 months
- you must be an active employee
- no client complaints against you and
- adhere to all company policies and procedures
Move Out and Up
The days are over when people stay at their jobs for 30 years – most folks have up to 10 jobs throughout their career.
Changes sometimes are the result of the economy, education and work experience, technological advances and simply changes in interest. Approach this methodically if you can.
- Identifying your skills. Want to be a leader or follower, outdoors or indoors, behind a desk or out in the field visiting patients, etc.?
- Researching the labor market. What are the education requirements of what you’re interested in? Do you have the time and money to go after that job (yes (!) if you want it bad enough)? The job outlook for your new career is super important – you do not want to work in a dying industry.
- Market your skills. Get that resume going and start networking. Volunteer or do an intern position in the company you find of interest. Chances are you will not get paid but you get to experience it all first hand.
Bonus For Referrals
Wouldn’t it be nice if you made money each time a friend or former co-worker came to work for the same company as you?
Well, that’s called simply a referral program. Here’s how it would work:
- your company is looking for good workers to hire
- you have a friend who is trained as a HHA and looking for work
- you tell your friend that your company is hiring
- she applies and gets hired
- you collect $100 (or something like that!)
Some agencies may also pay a referral bonus if the HHA refers a client/patient to the agency. These are usually much more than referring another HHA as they are more valuable (i.e. makes them more money)!
Ask your company if they have such a plan. If they do not then you should strongly suggest it as it would benefit the company and you.
Now Go Get ‘Em!
Download this free Ebook to make more as a HHA!