What Courses and Training Are Required to Be a Home Health Aide?

Though not necessarily required to work in the field, a home health aide training program can qualify professionals for certification on the state and federal level and provide the instruction necessary for gaining vital skills. This article lists some of the required classes in a home health aide program and discusses the job responsibilities one will encounter upon entering the field. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Home health aides care for elderly, disabled, or recuperative patients, either in individual homes or in extended care facilities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Some home health aides work independently, while others are employed by home health agencies. Certification requirements vary by state, though individuals working for patients who receive Medicare reimbursement must meet certain federal guidelines.

Home health aides who work for agencies are typically supervised by registered nurses and must keep a record of tasks performed, as well as the condition of patients. Some examples of jobs typically assigned to home health aides include helping patients get in and out of bed, bathing, and performing basic physical therapy exercises. In addition to assisting patients with day-to-day activities and personal care routines, home health aides provide moral and emotional support. Other possible duties include the following:

  • Administering medication
  • Recording patients' vital signs
  • Giving massages
  • Changing dressings
  • Assisting patients with braces

Important Facts About Home Health Aide Careers

Median Pay (2014)$21,380
Job Outlook (2012-2022)38% growth
Key Skills Interpersonal skills, detail oriented, time management, physical stamina
Similar Occupations Childcare workers, medical assistants, occupational therapy aides, personal care aides, registered nurses

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Home Health Aide Training

No formal education is required to become a home health aide, according to the BLS. Some form of training is required in most states, especially if the aide is hired by an agency that receives payment from Medicare or Medicaid. Individuals who need certification or want to advance their careers can enroll in a home health aide course or certificate program at a community or junior college. These training opportunities teach students the basics of patient care and most fulfill state and/or federal licensing requirements. The length and cost of a home health aide program will vary by institution, as will the classes required. Certification by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) requires 75 training hours, a written exam, and demonstration of at least 7 relevant skills.

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