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

School/WebsiteAddress
Allan Hancock College800 South College Drive, Santa Maria, California 93454-6399
Allen County Community College1801 N Cottonwood, Iola, Kansas 66749
American River College4700 College Oak Dr, Sacramento, California 95841-4286
Angeles College3440 Wilshire Blvd Ste 310, Los Angeles, California 90010
Anne Arundel Community College101 College Pky, Arnold, Maryland 21012-1895
Arapahoe Community College5900 S. Santa Fe Dr., Littleton, Colorado 80160-9002
Athens Technical College800 U.S. Hwy 29 North, Athens, Georgia 30601
Barton County Community College245 NE 30th Road, Great Bend, Kansas 67530
Best Care College68 South Harrison, East Orange, New Jersey 07018-1703
Bristol Community College777 Elsbree St, Fall River, Massachusetts 02720-7395
Butte College3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville, California 95965-8399
California Nurses Educational Institute5200 E. Ramon Rd. Suite I-1, Palm Springs, California 92264
Carl Sandburg College2400 Tom L. Wilson Boulevard, Galesburg, Illinois 61401
Central Coast College480 S Main Street, Salinas, California 93901-3301
Central New Mexico Community College525 Buena Vista SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106
City College of San Francisco50 Phelan Ave, San Francisco, California 94112-1898
City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College1900 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois 60612-3197
Coffeyville Community College400 W 11th St, Coffeyville, Kansas 67337-5064
Community Technological Institute of Miami2324 SW 8 Street, Miami, Florida 33135
Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Campus52 University Blvd, Roswell, New Mexico 88202-6000
First Coast Technical College2980 Collins Ave, Saint Augustine, Florida 32084-1919
Flint Hills Technical College3301 W 18th St, Emporia, Kansas 66801-5957
Florida Education Institute5818 SW 8th St, Miami, Florida 33144
Fort Scott Community College2108 S Horton, Fort Scott, Kansas 66701
George Stone Technical College2400 Longleaf Dr, Pensacola, Florida 32526-8922
Highland Community College606 W Main, Highland, Kansas 66035-4165
Highline College2400 S 240th St, Des Moines, Washington 98198-9800
Immokalee Technical College508 N 9th St, Immokalee, Florida 34142
Independence Community College1057 West College Avenue, Independence, Kansas 67301-0708
Ivy Tech Community College50 W. Fall Creek Parkway N. Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana 46208-5752
Jefferson Davis Community College220 Alco Dr, Brewton, Alabama 36426
Johnson County Community College12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, Kansas 66210-1299
Jose Maria Vargas University10131 Pines Boulevard, Pembroke Pines, Florida 33026
Lakeland Community College7700 Clocktower Drive, Kirtland, Ohio 44094-5198
Lakes Region Community College379 Belmont Road, Laconia, New Hampshire 03246
Lorain County Joint Vocational School District15181 St Rte 58 S, Oberlin, Ohio 44074
Medical Institute of Palm Beach5821B Lake Worth Rd, Greenacres, Florida 33463
Mid-America Technology Center27438 State Hwy 59, Wayne, Oklahoma 73095-0210
MiraCosta CollegeOne Barnard Drive, Oceanside, California 92056-3899
Moraine Valley Community College9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, Illinois 60465-0937
Neosho County Community College800 W 14th St, Chanute, Kansas 66720
Northcentral Technical College1000 Campus Dr, Wausau, Wisconsin 54401-1899
Northeast Technology Center-Claremore1901 N Hwy 88, Claremore, Oklahoma 74017
Oakton Community College1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, Illinois 60016-1268
Osceola Technical College501 Simpson Rd, Kissimmee, Florida 34744
Palm Beach Academy of Health & Beauty1220-A 10th St, Lake Park, Florida 33403
Penta County Joint Vocational School9301 Buck Road, Perrysburg, Ohio 43551-4594
Pickens Technical College500 Airport Blvd, Aurora, Colorado 80011-9307
Pine Technical & Community College900 4th St SE, Pine City, Minnesota 55063
Pratt Community College348 NE SR 61, Pratt, Kansas 67124
Rend Lake College468 N Ken Gray Pkwy, Ina, Illinois 62846
Riverside County Office of Education-School of Career Education47-336 Oasis St., Indio, California 92201
Salina Area Technical College2562 Centennial Road, Salina, Kansas 67401
Santa Fe Community College6401 Richards Ave, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508-4887
Santa Rosa Junior College1501 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, California 95401-4395
Seminole State College of Florida100 Weldon Blvd, Sanford, Florida 32773-6199
Shoreline Community College16101 Greenwood Ave N, Shoreline, Washington 98133-5696
South Florida State College600 W College Dr, Avon Park, Florida 33825-9356
Southern Crescent Technical College501 Varsity Rd, Griffin, Georgia 30223-2042
Southern Union State Community College750 Roberts St, Wadley, Alabama 36276
University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Campus4000 University Dr, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87544
University of New Mexico-Valencia County Campus280 La Entrada, Los Lunas, New Mexico 87031-7633
Washburn Institute of Technology5724 SW Huntoon, Topeka, Kansas 66604-2117
Washtenaw Community College4800 E Huron River Dr, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105-4800
Waukesha County Technical College800 Main Street, Pewaukee, Wisconsin 53072-4601
Wayne County Community College District801 W. Fort Street, Detroit, Michigan 48226
Wichita State University-Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology4004 N Webb Rd. Bldg 100, Wichita, Kansas 67226
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College4089 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!

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.

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.

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.

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

StateAVG Hourly wageAVG Annual Salary
Alabama9.6320020
Alaska16.0033290
Arizona11.5524030
Arkansas9.5319820
California14.0529210
Colorado13.0227080
Connecticut13.2227490
Delaware15.0431290
Florida13.3327730
Georgia11.2523410
Hawaii10.3821590
Idaho12.7826590
Illinois10.6422120
Indiana11.4623840
Iowa10.9722820
Kansas12.9726990
Kentucky11.5323980
Louisiana12.3625710
Maine9.5319820
Maryland11.8724690
Massachusetts12.0625080
Michigan14.0429200
Minnesota10.8522560
Mississippi12.6926390
Missouri10.1921200
Montana10.7922440
Nebraska11.4923900
Nevada11.9224790
New Hampshire13.8628840
New Jersey13.3527780
New Mexico11.1723230
New York11.2923480
North Carolina11.6124150
North Dakota9.7020170
Ohio15.9533170
Oklahoma10.3121450
Oregon11.9124770
Pennsylvania11.5223960
Rhode Island11.2223340
South Carolina9.0018720
South Dakota13.1427330
Tennessee9.9620710
Texas13.3227700
Utah9.9320660
Vermont9.8820550
Virginia12.8026620
Washington13.2227500
West Virginia10.8822640
Wisconsin12.3325640
Wyoming9.6420060

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