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.

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!

Click for more info on online HHA training

School cost

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.

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.

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.

Hospitals

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.

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

StateTotal HHA EmploymentAVG Hourly wageAVG Annual SalaryEmployment per 1,000 jobs
Alabama50609.63200202.645
Alaska137016.00332904.237
Arizona1293011.55240304.874
Arkansas67709.53198205.682
California2591014.05292101.623
Colorado1323013.02270805.277
Connecticut690013.22274904.141
Delaware169015.04312903.845
Florida491013.33277306.991
Georgia2556011.25234103.109
Hawaii1092010.38215902.592
Idaho420012.78265906.644
Illinois204010.64221203.073
Indiana3873011.46238406.560
Iowa1302010.97228204.352
Kansas563012.97269903.666
Kentucky410011.53239802.983
Louisiana254012.36257101.356
Maine83109.53198204.325
Maryland289011.87246904.850
Massachusetts1174012.06250804.445
Michigan2702014.04292007.809
Minnesota3042010.85225607.222
Mississippi2520012.69263908.965
Missouri447010.19212003.996
Montana1080010.79224403.916
Nebraska134011.49239002.950
Nevada185011.92247901.914
New Hampshire143013.86288401.123
New Jersey128013.35277801.986
New Mexico3851011.17232309.737
New York805011.29234809.992
North Carolina17383011.612415019.108
North Dakota393209.70201709.293
Ohio142015.95331703.331
Oklahoma6571010.312145012.310
Oregon784011.91247704.938
Pennsylvania590011.52239603.295
Rhode Island4289011.22233407.463
South Carolina19809.00187202.236
South Dakota347013.14273307.309
Tennessee101309.96207105.117
Texas69013.32277001.648
Utah59509.93206602.058
Vermont671809.88205505.720
Virginia280012.80266202.036
Washington54013.22275001.758
West Virginia1134010.88226403.016
Wisconsin678012.33256402.211
Wyoming38609.64200605.538
Wisconsin(5500000)494012.56261201.762
Wyoming(5600000)88012.83266803.184

Source: www.bls.gov

Salary by employer type

WorkplaceAverage Pay
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

Source: www.bls.gov

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

StateAvg. Hourly WageAvg. Yearly Salary
Alaska$16.00$33,290
North Dakota$15.95$33,170
Delaware$15.04$31,290
California$14.05$29,210
Massachusetts$14.04$29,200

Source: bls.gov