Want to make more as a HHA (home health aide)?
It is the fastest growing job market. Period.
If you want to make more money as a HHA without driving yourself and your family crazy, then keep reading.
What you need to do is set yourself apart from others to make more money.
Having your home health aide certification is great (!) and you need it to advance but…
The more qualifications and/or experience you have the greater your potential to earn more money: you will move to the head of the line and earn more.[If you have not already please check out the 13 Way To Make More Money as a Home Health Aide.]
Here’s the easiest and cheapest way AND it will pay you benefits for the rest of your life: learn another language.
Keep reading on exactly why and how!
You Are in Demand
Language skills open opportunities in your healthcare job search in whether learning Chinese as an RN or Spanish for a HHA. Communities scream of diversity with many cultures and languages – take advantage of the opportunities and learn another language.
With your new language skill you will be in demand.
Despite what you may read and hear the immigrant population is growing daily.
According to the US Census, between 1980 and 2010, the number of people speaking a language other than English climbed more than 150%!
Besides English and Spanish there were six languages spoken at home by at least 1 million people: Chinese; Tagalog; Vietnamese; French; German; and Korean.
But the greatest growth in the U.S. is still from Spanish speaking countries: mostly from the Caribbean.
The Hispanic/Latino population is getting older and they, too, are in need of help from home health aides.
But the catch is that there are few HHA’s who can speak and English and Spanish – this is called bilingual. It can be English/Korean, English/French, etc. but the greatest demand currently is for those that know English and Spanish.
To make matters worse (but better for you) is that fewer Hispanic/Latinos are finding jobs in nursing and home health. According a U.S. Department of Health & Human Service survey just 8% of home health aides are Hispanic or Latino.
There is a strong demand for those who can speak more than one language so you can increase your chances of getting that HHA job and/or making more money.
But Why Is This So Important?
You go to the doctor for a checkup and the nurse sounds like an alien as she mumbles some words and points at your shoes. Is she really a nurse, a nurse assistant, doctor or a medical person at all!?
She’s asking you to take off your shoes so she can take your weight and height – but she’s speaking Spanish.
It’s a frustrating situation for both of you.
People are naturally most comfortable with health professionals who are bi- or multi-lingual and capable of providing care by communicating in the patient’s first language.
Apply this to the duties of a home health aide as you try to explain to the elderly Spanish woman you’ve just been assigned that you need to take her blood pressure. Yikes!
Your patients will feel at ease and comfortable with you if they understand what you’re saying and they can communicate easily with you about how they are feeling.
Those receiving home health services want someone showing up to their door each day who can address their cultural needs and customs.
Example: New York Bilingual HHA Jobs
This will demonstrate how important it is to learn Spanish as a HHA in New York.
In New York [state] there are 3.5 million Hispanics which is about 18% of the population (all according to Pew Research Center). Interesting, too, is that more than half have their Hispanic origin from the Caribbean.
The kicker? More than 72% speak more than just English at home that means that a very small percentage (28%) speak only English alone.
What does all this mean?
With this many Hispanics and Latinos in New York there is naturally a need for health professionals to speak the language effectively communicate with the patients – and for you to make more money as the need for bilingual HHA’s increase.
HHA training in the Bronx is experiencing a boom as so many are looking for bilingual jobs (same goes for home attendant training in NYC).
Here’s a good article from the New York Post about home health aides in New York: In demand, home-health aides can also branch out.
Some of the Benefits of a HHA Speaking Another Language
Advantages to You:
- better chance of getting a job
- make more money
- more promotable within your agency
- skill set you can take anywhere
- opportunity to communicate with more patients
- language enables you to communicate effectively
- makes you feel less helpless caring for patients
- provides you with additional confidence in your work
- learn new culture and the many differences
- meet others socially who speak your newfound language
Advantages to Patients:
- patients will be less guarded and open up to you
- you can be an advocate for your patient
- lessens patient’s anxiety
- explain medical terms to your patients
- patients will feel at ease with you
- patients can ask questions and take instructions in their native tongue
- speeds up the work you need to do with/for your clients
- you’re building trust with your patient
Take It Slow
You now know the demand for Spanish speaking healthcare professionals and the benefits to the worker (you) and the patients.
Keep in mind that you do not need to master a language. You do not need to take years of language courses and spend thousands of dollars.
In order to communicate effectively you need to start off slow and gradually learn more as you get comfortable. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.
The more you actually use the new language the better you will be and before you know it you’ll be chatting.
Set small goals for yourself and stay focused on the language.
For example, learn just 5 words a day and try to work them into your daily routine. And don’t be afraid of making a mistake or mispronunciation a word – that is how you learn.
Gain the Knowledge
There are many options to learning a new language and they come in all shapes and sizes.
Chances are high schools in your community offer night classes; community outreach programs may offer classes and, of course, colleges offer classes as well though they tend to be very expensive.
Schools that actually specialize in languages are located throughout the country though they will be concentrated were there are large “pockets” of people like New York, Los Angeles, Florida, Chicago, etc.
Remember, you do not need a master’s degree in a language – just start off slow and work your way up if you need/want to.
How you actually gain the language knowledge is crucial as one size does not fit all.
You have two choices:
In-class (and this has many other names such as on-campus, in-person, proximate learning, etc.) means that you will physically attend your classes and be with other people with a teacher.
Let’s start out at the top of the food chain: college.
It won’t be very difficult at all to find a language college course as just about any and every college offers one.
The upside is that this really is the best way to learn a language. You will be surrounded by fellow students eager to learn and want the best resources available.
It may be difficult, though, to enroll in just a language course – many colleges require that you be a fulltime student enrolled in a degree program (e.g. bachelors, masters, etc.).
If you are currently enrolled in a college then that’s great as you can elect to enroll in a language. But if you are not then it may not be possible.
So how do you know? The best way is to gather a listing of colleges in your are and contact them directly, by phone as that would be the quickest way. The question to them is quite simple and direct: “Can I enroll in a [language] course without being in a degree program?”
College course can be quite expensive so you need to shop around. Some can be as much as $2,000 and that’s about the average. Contact the school directly as, believe it or not, they may give you a discount if you explain your situation – you work as a home heath aide and you strongly believe this new language will provide you with a skillset to advance your career and make more money.
You’d be amazed what can result when you are sincere, honest and forthright with people!
Also, look into any financial aide you may be eligible for.
Online Language Courses
Consider, too, online language classes.
You can study from home (or just about anywhere). Technological advances make it much easier than just a couple of years ago and you’d be amazed at how fast you can learn your new language when you don’t have to commute to a school.
You can interact with people one town over or around the world while going about it at your own pace.
Schools were once the only place to learn a new language but the tide has been turning.
Online companies are creeping their way in and are offering many more language courses online.
These companies realize that it can be expense to go to a school to learn a language so they try to make it convenient and cheaper by offering user-friendly language software, CD’s, audio files, etc.
Advantages of learning a language online:
- cost effective (much cheaper!)
- on your terms
- different medium
Online language courses may be your best bet.
Your time is extremely valuable. Your lessons can be taken whether you’re sitting on the bus commuting to/from work or from home – basically wherever you have some time of electronic device such as computer, tablet, smartphone, MP3 device, etc.
Classroom or Not
Imagine sitting in a class trying to learn your new language. The class will move along (or not) only at the pace of the slowest student.
Learning a language is new, exciting and fresh to you and it’s a very personal experience. You will learn at a different pace than just about anyone else. Some new words will come to you real fast and easy then others you may need a bit more time – picture yourself in a class doing this.
You may not want to sit around in class as the instructor helps one person with one word! Online learning goes at your pace.
A Short Hit List of Watch Items as You Choose an Online Language Course
- Reviews. Search for reviews on the company and find a language course with the best rating.
- Peers. Talk with you coworkers at your HHA agency. What companies have others used?
- Call. Contact the company and ask the questions. What can you expect, any trial offers, any discounts available, return policy, etc.?
- Details. Find out exactly how you will receive you lessons. For example, how many are videos, can the lessons be downloaded on your smartphone, etc.?
Get To It
HHA training and job placement is super hot – take advantage of this!
After all the facts and figures it comes down to this: there is a growing need for home health aides who know another language other than English.
Add this skill set and you will most likely move to the front of the line in getting the job and make more money at the same time.