Home Health Aide (HHA): Training & Certification Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Because there are so few education requirements to become a home health aide, you might find that this might be a convenient way for you to see if the healthcare field is your cup of tea. In addition, you'll find that jobs in this field are projected to increase at a much faster rate than the average of all occupations.

Home health aides work with those unable to care for themselves at home
Home health aides work with  those unable to care for themselves at home

Essential Information for Home Health Aides

Home health aides go to a patient's home, or work in a residential facility, to deliver health care to the elderly, ill, or disabled. Home health aides usually work with patients who need more extensive physical/medical care than a typical family can provide. While no formal education is required to secure a position as a home health aide, certificate and HHA training classes are available from many postsecondary institutes. Optional certification is also available.

The BLS noted that as of May 2019, home health aides' median salary was $25,280. Jobs in this area are expected to grow at an extremely fast rate of 34% between 2019 and 2029.

Required Education None mandatory; certificate programs are available
Other Requirements Optional National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) certification
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029) 34%*
Median Salary (May 2019) $25,280*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

HHA Training Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), educational requirements for home health aides vary depending on their employer. Aides who work for organizations that receive funds from Medicare or Medicaid must complete formal home health-care training, while those who work for private companies do not necessarily need home health-care classes. On-the-job training is often provided by more experienced aides, nursing assistants (CNAs), licensed practical or registered nurses may provide this training.

Aspiring home health aides receive training to provide daily care to patients and basic health-related services. They check patient pulse rates, temperature, and blood pressure readings, as well as assist with administering medication or therapy. Other duties may include cleaning bedpans and changing linens. Home health aides need compassion, integrity, dependability, and a cheerful attitude to perform their role.

Home Health Aide Certificate Training Programs

For formal home health aide training, prospective candidates may look to programs offered by community colleges and other postsecondary institutions. These programs often last a semester, and applicants may need to complete a physical examination, including state-mandated blood tests, and a background check in order to enroll. Students must also be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Home health aide classes teach students to help control infectious diseases and manage patients. Students may also receive training on working with people who need spiritual, emotional and social support. Upon completion, graduates are eligible to take a state competency examination.

Home Care Aide Certification

For certification, home care aides may look to the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) to become certified. To earn their credentials, applicants must complete 75 hours of training, demonstrate their skills and pass a written examination. The BLS notes that candidates in some states may need to complete additional requirements to obtain certification.

While technically you don't need a high school diploma to become a home health aide, most aides do in fact hold a diploma, though specific requirements can vary by employer. Should you work for an agency that receives funding from Medicare or Medicaid, you must complete a formal training program. There are HHA classes near most large cities, typically found at community colleges. In addition, home health aide certification might be required by individual states.

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