The core function of all home health aides and personal care aides is to assist people with disabilities, cognitive impairment and chronic illnesses in their day to day lives. The time could not be better to become a home health aide because the job of a home health aide is growing at an incredible 41% nationally according to the latest stats from bls.gov!
Below we will go over the step by step process to become a home health aide across the country, how long it takes and how to go about looking for your first job. So lets get started!
What does a Home Health Aide do?
As mentioned above, HHAs assist in the daily lives of those needing daily care. This care is usually done in patients homes or residences or in a clinical setting or long term care facility. Below we look at the job duties that are common for home health aides or personal care aides.
Assist clients with daily tasks
Help with tasks such as laundry, dishes or vacuuming
Assist with the organizing of client’s schedule and plan appointments
Arrange any necessary transportation to and from appointments
Prepare meals and shop for food for client
Help client with community engagement and activities
What is the process to become an HHA?
A formal post secondary education is not needed in becoming a home health aide. It is common for employers not to require any type of certification as they normally offer on-the-job training to their new hires. Although, some employers do prefer that their HHAs and PCAs get certified by the National Association for Homecare and Hospice (NAHC).
STEP 1 – Have or get your H.S. diploma or GED
This is the most important requirement. If you have your diploma your are on your way to becoming an HHA!
STEP 2 – Take accredited HHA Training Classes
Taking the right course will set you up for success and allow you get certified in your state. Making sure your education is accredited in your state is vital. There are also online options for HHA training like Home Care University from the NAHC itself. Most community colleges have the NAHC certification courses available and once you finish the program you will take the NAHC exam. The NAHC exam is 50 questions and costs $140.
The Top Accredited Home Health Aide Programs
|Allan Hancock College||800 South College Drive, Santa Maria, California 93454-6399|
|Allen County Community College||1801 N Cottonwood, Iola, Kansas 66749|
|American River College||4700 College Oak Dr, Sacramento, California 95841-4286|
|Angeles College||3440 Wilshire Blvd Ste 310, Los Angeles, California 90010|
|Anne Arundel Community College||101 College Pky, Arnold, Maryland 21012-1895|
|Arapahoe Community College||5900 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littleton, Colorado 80160-9002|
|Athens Technical College||800 U.S. Hwy 29 North, Athens, Georgia 30601|
|Barton County Community College||245 NE 30th Road, Great Bend, Kansas 67530|
|Best Care College||68 South Harrison, East Orange, New Jersey 07018-1703|
|Bristol Community College||777 Elsbree St, Fall River, Massachusetts 02720-7395|
|Butte College||3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville, California 95965-8399|
|California Nurses Educational Institute||5200 E. Ramon Rd. Suite I-1, Palm Springs, California 92264|
|Carl Sandburg College||2400 Tom L. Wilson Boulevard, Galesburg, Illinois 61401|
|Central Coast College||480 S Main Street, Salinas, California 93901-3301|
|Central New Mexico Community College||525 Buena Vista SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106|
|City College of San Francisco||50 Phelan Ave, San Francisco, California 94112-1898|
|City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College||1900 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois 60612-3197|
|Coffeyville Community College||400 W 11th St, Coffeyville, Kansas 67337-5064|
|Community Technological Institute of Miami||2324 SW 8 Street, Miami, Florida 33135|
|Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Campus||52 University Blvd, Roswell, New Mexico 88202-6000|
|First Coast Technical College||2980 Collins Ave, Saint Augustine, Florida 32084-1919|
|Flint Hills Technical College||3301 W 18th St, Emporia, Kansas 66801-5957|
|Florida Education Institute||5818 SW 8th St, Miami, Florida 33144|
|Fort Scott Community College||2108 S Horton, Fort Scott, Kansas 66701|
|George Stone Technical College||2400 Longleaf Dr, Pensacola, Florida 32526-8922|
|Highland Community College||606 W Main, Highland, Kansas 66035-4165|
|Highline College||2400 S 240th St, Des Moines, Washington 98198-9800|
|Immokalee Technical College||508 N 9th St, Immokalee, Florida 34142|
|Independence Community College||1057 West College Avenue, Independence, Kansas 67301-0708|
|Ivy Tech Community College||50 W. Fall Creek Parkway N. Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana 46208-5752|
|Jefferson Davis Community College||220 Alco Dr, Brewton, Alabama 36426|
|Johnson County Community College||12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, Kansas 66210-1299|
|Jose Maria Vargas University||10131 Pines Boulevard, Pembroke Pines, Florida 33026|
|Lakeland Community College||7700 Clocktower Drive, Kirtland, Ohio 44094-5198|
|Lakes Region Community College||379 Belmont Road, Laconia, New Hampshire 03246|
|Lorain County Joint Vocational School District||15181 St Rte 58 S, Oberlin, Ohio 44074|
|Medical Institute of Palm Beach||5821B Lake Worth Rd, Greenacres, Florida 33463|
|Mid-America Technology Center||27438 State Hwy 59, Wayne, Oklahoma 73095-0210|
|MiraCosta College||One Barnard Drive, Oceanside, California 92056-3899|
|Moraine Valley Community College||9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, Illinois 60465-0937|
|Neosho County Community College||800 W 14th St, Chanute, Kansas 66720|
|Northcentral Technical College||1000 Campus Dr, Wausau, Wisconsin 54401-1899|
|Northeast Technology Center-Claremore||1901 N Hwy 88, Claremore, Oklahoma 74017|
|Oakton Community College||1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, Illinois 60016-1268|
|Osceola Technical College||501 Simpson Rd, Kissimmee, Florida 34744|
|Palm Beach Academy of Health & Beauty||1220-A 10th St, Lake Park, Florida 33403|
|Penta County Joint Vocational School||9301 Buck Road, Perrysburg, Ohio 43551-4594|
|Pickens Technical College||500 Airport Blvd, Aurora, Colorado 80011-9307|
|Pine Technical & Community College||900 4th St SE, Pine City, Minnesota 55063|
|Pratt Community College||348 NE SR 61, Pratt, Kansas 67124|
|Rend Lake College||468 N Ken Gray Pkwy, Ina, Illinois 62846|
|Riverside County Office of Education-School of Career Education||47-336 Oasis St., Indio, California 92201|
|Salina Area Technical College||2562 Centennial Road, Salina, Kansas 67401|
|Santa Fe Community College||6401 Richards Ave, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508-4887|
|Santa Rosa Junior College||1501 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, California 95401-4395|
|Seminole State College of Florida||100 Weldon Blvd, Sanford, Florida 32773-6199|
|Shoreline Community College||16101 Greenwood Ave N, Shoreline, Washington 98133-5696|
|South Florida State College||600 W College Dr, Avon Park, Florida 33825-9356|
|Southern Crescent Technical College||501 Varsity Rd, Griffin, Georgia 30223-2042|
|Southern Union State Community College||750 Roberts St, Wadley, Alabama 36276|
|University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Campus||4000 University Dr, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544|
|University of New Mexico-Valencia County Campus||280 La Entrada, Los Lunas, New Mexico 87031-7633|
|Washburn Institute of Technology||5724 SW Huntoon, Topeka, Kansas 66604-2117|
|Washtenaw Community College||4800 E Huron River Dr, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105-4800|
|Waukesha County Technical College||800 Main Street, Pewaukee, Wisconsin 53072-4601|
|Wayne County Community College District||801 W. Fort Street, Detroit, Michigan 48226|
|Wichita State University-Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology||4004 N Webb Rd. Bldg 100, Wichita, Kansas 67226|
|Wiregrass Georgia Technical College||4089 Val Tech Rd, Valdosta, Georgia 31602-0929|
Check with your state health board to see if there are any background checks or certifications necessary for your particular state. In most cases there are background checks.
Check the exam pass rates for previous students if possible
If you choose to go to an online HHA program or at a for profit school, be sure to check the pass rates of prior students. This will tell you if attending the program is really worth it.
Check course availability
Make sure that your program of choice has course times and classes that fit in to your life and schedule. This can be critical for your long term success.
About online HHA classes
As mentioned above there is an online program given by the NHAC so you know online training is beneficial for HHAs. That being said if you do chose online education be sure to make sure that the graduation rates and exam pass rates are not too low. You may want to avoid places where there are a lot of fails and drop outs. If you do that your online training experience can be amazing!
Depending on if you take online courses are traditional classes there can be a cost difference. But in home health aide training the overall school costs is minimal in comparison to other allied health fields.
Step 3 – Complete the program and state-required hours
Most programs and states have a 75 hour on the job training hour requirement. Click here for a list of the required hours for each state.
Step 4 – Get your HHA Certification
A national certification option for HHAs is the NNAAP certification. The NNAAP certification will open more doors for you that any other home health aide certification out there. This certification is the one that certified nursing assistants get.
Where to take the HHA exam
If you are getting on the job training then you will probably take the exams at work or online. If you take an HHA training course than you may also take it online or in the facility itself.
Similar Careers in Allied Health
HHA Training Information by State
LTCF and nursing homes
Pros and Cons for LTCF/Nursing Homes
Pros: Low-stress environment with lots of opportunities.
Cons: Pay is generally lower and the slower pace may not be for everyone.
Home healthcare agencies
Pros and Cons for Health Care Agencies
Pros: Pay is similar to nursing homes and LTCFs, but the patient-to-HHA ratio is better. The home health aide/personal care aide cares for a client in his or her home, meaning less job-related stress.
Cons: It may take awhile to be assigned to a patient, and it is not uncommon to lose patients.
Pros and Cons for Hospitals
Pros: Wide range of available shifts, good job security, and comparatively higher pay.
Cons: The fast-paced environment can be stressful.
Step 5 – Finding a job as a Home Health Aide
the first step is to look at the three types of work environments that are common to home health aides. First is client residences. Most HHAs will work in client homes. Secondly, personal care aides and home health aides work in nursing homes and long term care facilities. Lastly they may work at health centers and hospitals. Choosing which environment is best for you is the most important choice to make when looking at your fist job as a home health aide.
About HHA salary
Home health aides are one of the fastest growing allied health fields! BLS.gov has statistics showing tremendous growth over the next decade! Below we look at the whole field of home health care and give deep insight in to how much they make and much, much more!
What is the average salary for a Home Health Aide?
See the table below for all the salary and hourly wage details from top to bottom.
HHA salary by state
|State||AVG Hourly wage||AVG Annual Salary|
Salary by employer type
|Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities)||$23,570|
|Continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly||$22,860|
|Residential intellectual and developmental disability facilities||$22,510|
|Services for the elderly and persons with disabilities||$22,410|
|Home healthcare services||$22,390|
What is the job outlook for Home Health Aides?
As mentioned earlier the job outlook is amazing at a 41% expected growth over the next decade!! The time could not be any better for Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides!
Top 5 Paying States for HHAs
|State||Avg. Hourly Wage||Avg. Yearly Salary|