Become A Home Health Aide

If you are looking for a career with a fair amount of job security, the health industry is one of the best career choices. Health jobs are in high demand because there are always going to be sick people in need of assistance.

Doctor and nursing jobs are the most commonly identified healthcare careers. Both of these options require a great deal of expensive schooling, as well as time to complete. If you lack either the time or funds, there are several other career options available. If you want to work with patients, training to become a home health aide is a great option.

Home health aides largely work with seniors, often partnering with assisted living communities. Home health aides travel directly to patient’s home to offer assistance. Aides are not the same as live in caregivers. Frequently, home health aides work with a smaller pool of patients, allowing them to develop a routine and connection with their patients.

Basic Education Requirements for Home Health Aides

Becoming a home health aide is based off of certification. This means you are required to undergo specialized training before becoming an aide, but you do not need a specific degree. Certification training is significantly quicker than completing a degree program. As of writing, you only need 75 hours of training to get certified as a home health aide. Some of the skills taught in the certification course include:

  • Safety techniques

  • Performing housekeeping tasks

  • Addressing dietary needs and hygiene practices

  • Administering medication and taking vital signs

Certification is available through the National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). Many community colleges also offer a home health aide certification program. Select state agencies, nonprofit organizations and nursing facilities may also run certification classes. The exact cost varies based on location and where you attend classes, with most programs costing between $300 and $700.

While searching for certification, make sure the course includes a certificate of completion. Many hospitals offer free basic aide training, but these are generally education classes, typically designed for individuals caring for a sick friend or family member. These courses only cover basic healthcare and do not prepare you to be a home health aide.

Additional Educational Requirements

Obtaining your certification is the first step to becoming a home health aide. Once you are certified, you can technically begin working as an aide. However, finding a job may require you to get additional training or certification. Employers often favor applicants who have at least an undergraduate degree in healthcare. Additionally, you may be asked to complete other healthcare certification, with CPR training being the most common. There may also be evaluations you must pass before officially getting hired. Some employers accept any applicant with the basic certification, but require you to partner with an experienced aide for a set number of hours before you work on your own.

Before you begin looking for home health aide jobs, check your state requirements. Some states require all aides to complete other training, no matter who they are employed with. One of the benefits of taking a class at a local college is these state requirements are often built into the lessons, so you are not caught off guard after completing the certification course.

Online vs. In Person Classes

In addition to attending certification courses in person, you can also take classes online. Before signing up for a class, ensure it comes from an accredited agency. The best place to look for online home health aide classes is through local colleges. Because of Covid-19, it may be easier to take a course online, as many colleges are not running courses on campus, or if they are, it is with a much smaller group.

The biggest downside to taking an online class is you miss some of the practical training normally present with in-person classes. Many classes partner with nursing homes or other healthcare centers, so you can develop some practical experience. However, because of Covid-19, it is possible that, even in-person classes may limit these services because of the pandemic.

There are many schools across the country that provide both online and in-person classes to become a home health aide. Here are some of the top rated ones.

Penn Foster
Ashworth College
National University

For a list of all U.S. schools that include home health aide educational programs visit this top list of universities.

Financial Assistance

Receiving home health aide training is much less expensive than completing medical school, but there are still expenses. If cost is an issue, you may be able to receive a discount or even free training. One of the best places to check for free training is hospice agencies. Many hospice agencies cover the costs of training, in exchange for you agreeing to work for them for a specified amount of time.

This is beneficial because it not only gives you training, but also ensures you have a job after the fact. Other healthcare agencies may provide this option as well. If you take the classes through a college, ask the school whether you qualify for financial assistance. Finally, there may be state public assistance available. A good place to find out about state sponsored assistance is going through a job placement group.

Getting Started

2021 is an excellent time to start a home health aide career. Because of Covid-19, many seniors are choosing to live at home instead of going to nursing homes or other healthcare centers. These locations are considered higher risk because of the concentrated groups. As a result, there has been a steady increase in the demand for home health aides.

Many retirement communities and senior centers partner with home health aides. You can also look for work through hospice agencies. Even if none of those locations are actively hiring, you should be able to get references to other networks in the area.