Home Health Aide Requirements: Education, Training & Certification

Get to know what home health aides do. Find out the education, training, and certification options to pursue this career and learn more about the median income and projected job growth in this industry. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Home health aides are responsible for caring for individuals that have physical or cognitive disabilities. They help these individuals carry out their daily routines and ensure their health and safety needs are met. In the table below, you'll find the education and certification requirements, necessary skills, projected job growth, and the median income for home health aides.

Education Required None; some employers require high school diploma or equivalent
Training Required On-the-job training
Certification Certification required for some positions
Required Skills Physical stamina, patience, communication skills, integrity, detail-oriented
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026) 47%*
Median Salary (2017) $23,210*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Home Health Aide Do?

Home health aides provide assistance for individuals that have physical impairments or cognitive disabilities. They may distribute the proper medication at the correct times, arrange doctors appointments, and assist their patients with simple exercises. They also must ensure that their patient's comfort and hygiene are maintained by providing assistance with bathing, dressing, and eating. Some home health aides also maintain the tidiness of a patient's living space by doing laundry, washing dishes, and changing sheets, among other cleaning.

What Type of Training Is Required?

Most home health aides are required to have a high school diploma; although some individuals begin working as a home health aide while completing their secondary education. Training is typically done on-the-job as they learn the needs and preferences of their patients. Specialized home aide training programs may offer courses to ensure that candidates have knowledge of infection control, basic nutrition, and taking vital signs.

How Do I Become Certified?

While certification is not required for all home health aide positions, it may be required for individuals that work for healthcare agencies that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement. State certification requirements may vary; some may require that individuals undergo formal classroom training while others recognize applied on-the-job training as substantial knowledge. Information regarding home health aide certification eligibility and requirements is determined by the state's board of health. Most states require that candidates looking to become home health aides undergo a background check and become CPR certified in order to become a home health aide.

How Much Do Home Health Aides Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that home health aides earned a median annual income of $23,210 as of May 2017. These individuals were most commonly employed in the following industries: nursing care facilities, retirement homes, residential disability facilities, and home healthcare services. Employment of home health aides is expected to increase by 47% between 2016 and 2026. This growth is much faster than the average for all other occupations. As the generation of U.S. citizens known as the 'baby boomers' reaches an elderly age, the demand for personal care and medical assistance is also projected to increase.

What Are Some Similar Occupations?

There are several career paths that allow an individual to provide care and assistance to those in need. Nursing assistants, also referred to as nursing aides, provide care for patients in hospitals by maintaining vital records, conducting simple tests, and ensuring that patients are comfortable. Occupational therapist aides help occupational therapists in their work by providing direct care to patients. These patients often need assistance in developing and improving the motor skills they need for daily life. Special education teachers work with students that have cognitive and physical delays or disabilities. They help these students learn literacy and communication techniques and help develop their critical thinking skills. All of these similar occupations come with their own various education and licensure requirements.

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