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Home Health Aide: Educational Requirements

Working as a home health aide requires little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

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 that need more extensive physical/medical care than a typical family can provide. In some cases, no formal education is required to secure a position as a home health aide and on-the-job training is provided. Certificate programs in the field are available.

Required Education None mandatory; certificate programs in the field are available
Certification Available through the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC); required by some states for particular positions
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 48%*
Median Salary (May 2012) $20,820*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), educational requirements for home health aides vary depending on their employer (www.bls.gov). Aides who work for organizations that receive funds from Medicare or Medicaid must complete formal training, while those who work for private companies do not have to meet these obligations. 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 bed pans and changing linens. Home health need compassion, integrity, dependability, and a cheerful attitude to perform their role.

The BLS noted that as of May 2012, home health aides' median salary was $20,820. Jobs in this area are expected to grow at the extremely fast rate of 48% between 2012 and 2022.

Home Health Aide Certificate Programs

For formal 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 certificate programs 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.

Certification

Home health aides may look to the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) to become certified (www.nahc.org). 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.

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