Home Care Aide Certification and Training Options
Home care aides, sometimes known as home health aides, provide in-home care and basic medical assistance to disabled, ill and elderly individuals. While many home care aides are trained on-the-job, some choose to earn a certificate in the field, such as a home health aide certificate.
Home Health Aide Certificate Program
Some community colleges, vocational schools or even healthcare facilities offer one-semester certificate programs for aspiring home health aides. Although such programs are not typically required to gain a position with a home health care service, earning a certificate can provide aides with an advantage in the field.
Students enrolled in this program learn to meet basic human needs of the ill and disabled while in their homes, such as feeding, grooming and bathing. They also learn to administer medications, provide basic life support when necessary and communicate with patients' family members, licensed physicians, nurses and social workers.
Many college home health aide certificate programs require that incoming students hold a high school diploma or GED. Many also require students to have a strong grasp of the English language and at least a ninth grade reading comprehension level; some require applicants to complete placement tests.
Home health care certificate programs are are designed to provide students with practical step-by-step instruction on how to provide basic care to patients. Specific courses include:
- Medical terminology
- Basic human anatomy
- Medication administration
- Fundamental health care concepts
- Home health aide practicum
- Patient nutrition
- Basic life support
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
As of 2009, more than 955,000 home health care aides were employed in the United States. The great majority worked for home health care services and mental health facilities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov.) The median annual salary in that year was $20,480.
Home care aides who work for agencies that receive some funding from Medicare are legally required to complete a formal training program and gain state certification. To do so, they must complete at least 75 hours of training and pass an examination. Some states may have further requirements. Some private, for-profit organizations also offer their own form of certification training for home health aides, although individuals should be wary and check for accreditation before paying training fees.
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