If you’re interested in getting into the medical field but don’t want to go through several years of schooling, then a career as a home health aide may be right for you. Specifically, a home health aide travels directly to patients (often senior citizens) to provide the general assistance they need. Job duties can include anything from basic housekeeping, bathing and dressing, toileting, observing the patient’s health, meal preparation, and helping them take better care of themselves overall.
Why Become a Home Health Aide?
There are many reasons as to why you may want to consider becoming a home health aid. Many who work in this field enjoy the personal interaction they get to have with patients on a daily basis; they enjoy visiting patients in their own home and making sure they’re doing well, taking care of themselves, and completing the housework they need done. Typically, the types of people who would do well as a home health aide are those who enjoy helping others and those who don’t mind working independently (though you will still be under supervision by a health aide manager or supervisor).
Some people considering this career find themselves trying to decide between this option and that of going into nursing. While there’s no universal answer for the question of which option is better (becoming a HHA or CNA), it is worth noting that many people choose to become an HHA due to the fact that it takes less time. However, salaries for CNAs tend to be higher than HHAs, with the typical salary of an HHA being just under $20,000 per year, and the top 10% making around $30,000 per year, according to an InnerBody.com careers page. Of course, salary specifics can vary based on your level of experience and where you work.
What is Home Health Aide Training?
It’s worth noting that there are no formal education requirements for becoming a home health aide. Most who work in this field have a high school diploma or equivalent degree (such as a GED). In most states, home health aides are required to be at least 18 years of age before they can take their certification exams and begin working in the field.
Even though there are no formal education requirements to become an HAA, there are some prep. schools that offer classes and programs for those interested in this type of career. It may be worth looking into enrolling in one of these programs, as doing so can be a great way to enjoy more exposure to different aspects of the job and to gain experience before sending out resumes and interviewing for actual jobs in the field. Not to mention, most employers are more likely to choose a health aide who has gone through specific education and training than somebody who has not, which can make all the difference—especially in today’s competitive healthcare market.
Some states do require formal training for those who want to work as HHAs. The training itself is usually conducting by a Registered Nurse (RN) and will involve a number of scenarios, training modules, and demonstrations. In most states, you need anywhere from 75-125 hours of hands-on training to reach this point.Once the RN has determined that you’re fit for working in the field, you may also need to pass a licensure or certification exam (again, this will depend on the state in which you live).
Home Health Aide Agencies verses Private Employment?
As a home health aide, you may choose to work in private home health aide jobs or you may choose to work thru home health aide agencies. As a private aid you most likely will not have the advantage of having benefits that a company has to offer. You will also be responsible for paying your own payroll taxes. Should you choose to work for a health aide agency, this will all be taken care of for you and you will also have the advantage of being offered benefits. For your own protection, it is important to have coverage thru a workman’s compensation policy. It is usually more cost effective to obtain this coverage thru an agency. Additionally, you may be offered health and dental coverage, sick and vacation days. Every agency is different so it is advisable to check the benefits each agency offers. Another positive to working for an agency is that most home health aide agencies are usually looking for qualified candidates and are always hiring.
How Much Are Home Health Aide Classes?
Whether you live in a state where a formal education is preferred or you simply want to have the upper hand on other job applicants, the fact remains that you may be wondering what to expect in terms of cost. Well, the cost of HHA courses can vary greatly from school to school and will also change based on where you live and how many hours the course covers. In most cases, a standard training course open for enrollment will provide you with at least 75 training hours (which is required by most states) and will cost around $500 when all is said and done. This will include course fees, registration fees, tuition, and any necessary supplies that you may need to the complete the course/training.
Some course may also include the cost to take your license sure or certification test. If so, then you can expect the cost for the class to be a little higher. Fortunately, if you’re unsure as to whether or not you can afford home health aide training and education, the good news is that there are some great financing options available through most schools that will help make it more affordable for you.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys helping others and would like to incorporate some travel into your daily work as well, then this could be the right career choice for you. Overall, working as a home health aide can be an extremely rewarding experience, with no two work days being exactly the same.