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Home Health Aide Career Guide

Do you enjoy helping others? Have you always been interested in the idea of becoming a nurse or caregiver? If so, you might be interested in the position of a home health aide.

If you’ve always wanted to become a healthcare provider or caregiver, but wanted to have a more personal connection with your patients, then becoming a home health aide might just be the perfect fit. Home health aides combine basic medical training like that of medical professionals and the day-to-day responsibilities of a caregiver to give their clients a safe, clean, and happy home to live in.

Due to disease, injury, or age of clients, it can become a struggle for them to maintain daily activities and chores, and many will be missing out on community involvement. At the very least, these conditions can lead to a lower quality of life and lead to stress, frustration, and potentially life-threatening situations.

HHAs can prevent this by handling simple chores and daily routines while providing training and supervision or direct intervention to their clients. The goal is to mitigate stress and unhappiness while preventing any avoidable accidents or injuries.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is the preferred partner for families seeking to empower their loved ones. Our goal is not just to save lives, but to improve the quality of life in the process. As an ideal candidate, you must be driven and passionate about the idea of helping people. Experience with caregiving, retirement homes and housekeeping is a plus. Medical training and experience as an RN, hospice care or related field is a big plus.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Meal preparation
  • Aiding clients with mobility
  • Cleaning and dressing of clients
  • Transportation
  • Housekeeping
  • Providing companionship
  • Monitoring and documenting health
  • Overseeing and training of the patient’s family members/friends

Education and experience

  • High school diploma/GED
  • Must potentially pass a competency test
  • Must possess state certification requirements (requirements vary by state)

Required skills and qualifications

  • Up-to-date CPR certification
  • Valid driver’s license and dependable vehicle
  • Effective communication, both verbal and written
  • Solid attention to detail
  • High levels of compassion, empathy, and patience
  • Ability to teach others how to perform tasks
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Must be able to lift and support another person and stand for many hours a day

Preferred qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • At least 1 year of experience as a hospice care, home care, or healthcare provider
  • Experience dealing with near end-of-life conversations
  • Experience teaching or training others
  • Experience in prioritizing and understanding the lifecycle of documentation from pre-release through ongoing maintenance

Typical work environment

The vast majority of the time, a home health aide will work at the residence of a client. Preparing meals, washing clothes, general housekeeping, and spending time with the client will take the majority of the day. Errand-running and community outings should be taken into consideration as well.

Typical hours

There are no typical work hours for a home health aide. A shift could involve checking in on multiple clients or just a few a day. Each client will require a different amount of time and attention. With that said, most full-time aides will work approximately a 40 hour work week, assuming they aren’t “live-in” or working on an on-call basis.

Available certifications

Although every state will have individual certification procedures that exist, there is a federal minimum that all states must uphold:

  • Nurse Aide Registry. As an HHA, you will need a minimum of 75 hours of class at a state-accredited institution with 16 hours of clinical work or possess reciprocal treatment from another state that is similarly compliant.

For states that require more than the federal minimum, the certifications will remain generally the same but require more diverse or complex learning.

Career path

The journey to becoming a home healthcare aide may be expedited quickly if you already have a medical background. If you’re looking to enter the field as an HHA, as previously mentioned, acquiring state certification is your first step. 

After passing the competency test required by the state and acquiring the necessary hours to your state’s nurse registry, your next step is to simply apply!

It might sound too easy, but HHAs are urgently needed!

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 31-1120

2020 Employment3,470,700
Projected Employment in 20304,600,600
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 33% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift1,129,900 increase

There are always going to be people that need varying degrees of help, and many of them won’t want to drastically change their ways of life by giving up their house or moving away from their families and communities. As the population gets larger, so will the population of elderly and disabled in need of help.

There aren’t any alternative practical solutions on the horizon, so the most straightforward answer is the only viable one. We need people to take care of people, and there are more and more people that need taking care of. Because of this, we’ll see an enormous spike in the need for occupations such as HHAs for these factors alone.