Health Aide

Health aides administer basic medical care in addition to assisting with hygiene and household tasks. Learn about job responsibilities, salary information, educational requirements and courses of study.

Is Becoming a Health Aide for Me?

Career Description

Health aides, also known as home health aides, provide assistance for homebound patients who are disabled, elderly, injured or chronically ill. Home health aides perform a range of duties, such as completing domestic tasks and handling patients' basic health care needs. You can also work as a health aide in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. You might even choose to become self-employed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you may not need a high school diploma to enter this career; however, if you work for organizations funded by Medicare and Medicaid, you must receive formal health care training (www.bls.gov).

Required Skills

If you're interested in becoming a home health aide, you should be able to stand for long periods of time. You should also possess physical stability, dexterity and flexibility. Knowledge of CPR is also a requirement to work in this field.

Employment Information

The BLS states that employment of home health aides was projected to grow 48% between 2012 and 2022, due to an increase in the aging population and its health care needs. In May 2012, home health aides earned an average annual wage of $21,830, reported the BLS.

How Do I Become a Health Aide?

Education

Home health aide certificate and diploma programs are offered primarily through health institutes and junior colleges. Online classes for home health aides might also be available at some institutions. Program admission requirements can include being a certified nursing assistant, passing a background check and passing a medical exam. Your studies might include how to meet your client's social and emotional needs, recognize illness progression and manage disease control. You'll also learn how to handle household responsibilities for others.

Certification

You can gain voluntary national certification as a home health aide through the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). To be eligible for certification, you'll need to complete 75 training hours, pass a skills assessment and pass a written test. Earning this credential proves your expertise and competency level to potential clients and employers.

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