Certified Home Health Aide Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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Certified home health aides earn a starting salary of about $8.00 per hour. Is this worth the training and certification requirements? See job posting from real employers and learn the truth about the career outlook to decide if becoming a home health aides is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Certified Home Health Aide

As a certified home health aide, you provide care for people who are unable to care for themselves. Here is a list of more pros and cons that can help you decide if becoming a certified home health aide is right for you:

Pros of Becoming a Certified Home Health Aide
No degree required*
Can get on-the-job training*
Get to help people and provide companionship*
Excellent job growth (48% expected from 2012-2022)*

Cons of Becoming a Certified Home Health Aide
Low wages (hourly rate starts at around $8.00)**
May work with terminally ill clients*
Job can be emotionally demanding*
High number of work-related injuries and illnesses*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Career Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certified home health aides (CHHAs) typically work for licensed hospice or home health agencies that receive state or federal funding. In this position, you may provide care for individuals who have physical or developmental disabilities, chronic illnesses or trouble moving around. Typically, a professional with advanced medical knowledge, such as a nurse, supervises your work. Some of your duties may involve assisting with personal needs, doing light household chores, keeping track of medications and clients progress, maintaining schedules, preparing meals and transporting clients to appointments and activities. Depending on the state you work in, you may also perform basic medical functions, such as administering medications, checking vital signs and helping clients use medical devices.

According to PayScale.com, CHHAs earned about $8-$15 per hour, as of July 2015. In the decade of 2012-2022, the BLS predicted that employment for these professionals would grow by 48% - which is much faster than the national average. With the increase in the elderly population, more CHHAs will be needed to provide care and companionship. Although job opportunities are likely to increase significantly, this profession also has a high turnover rate due to the emotional demands and low pay.

Education and Training Requirements

You will be required to meet certain training requirements and pass a competency exam if you work for an agency that receives Medicaid or Medicare reimbursement. Training requirements vary by state, but typically cover topics such as infection control, nutrition, personal hygiene and vital signs. The type of training you receive is typically determined by your state. You may receive formal classroom training or on-the-job training from a nurse or other medical professional.

Though certification is not required by all employers, it may be preferred according to the BLS. Certification is available from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and requirements for certification usually include completing 75 hours of training and passing an exam. The BLS also reported that completing high school is not mandatory, but most home health aides have a high school diploma.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Job postings showed that employers are looking for CHHAs with at least one year of experience. Some postings also showed that candidates are expected to report to a nurse other senior-level team member. Following is a list of postings that can give you some insight into what real employers were looking for during November 2012.

  • A nursing home in Flint, MI, seeks a candidate with at least one year of experience. The candidate will provide care for hospice clients under the supervision of a registered nurse. The position requires completion of 75 hours of aide training through an approved program. This employer also prefers candidates with a high school diploma.
  • A home health and hospice agency in Missouri wants to hire a CHHA who has a certified nursing aide certificate. The candidate must have at least one year of experience and a valid driver's license in the state of employment. Job duties include following aide assignment sheets, completing clinical notes per visit and reporting unusual patient conditions to a team leader or registered nurse.
  • An elder care services organization in New York City seeks a candidate to work full time, including every-other weekend. The position involves providing personal care, assisting with household duties and transporting clients to appointments. The candidate must have a New York home health aide certificate. This employer is offering $9.00-$9.25 an hour.
  • A New Jersey home health company is looking for CHHAs who are certified to work in the state. Candidates are able to make their own schedule and will be paid weekly. Job applicants are required to have at least one year of experience.

How to Maximize Your Skills

You can maximize your skills by completing training in areas such as basic life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). Training in CPR and ACLS are based upon the standards of the American Heart Association (AHA). You can find training classes at many community colleges, universities and medical centers. You can also find CPR and ACLS training online. The AHA offers an online course in basic life support.

Other Careers to Consider

Medical Assistant

If you like providing care for people but want to work in an office setting, you may consider becoming a medical assistant. In this position, you would perform administrative and clinical duties such as scheduling appointments, helping patients fill out insurance forms, recording vital signs and giving injections. The BLS reported that a high school diploma is not required to become a medical assistant in most states; however, most of these professionals have a high school diploma. As of May 2011, medical assistants earned a median wage of approximately $29,000, according to the BLS. The BLS also projected a 31% increase in jobs for medical assistants from 2010-2020.

Nursing Aide

If you're interested in performing similar duties as a caregiver, but don't want to work in clients' homes, then becoming a nursing aide may be a good option for you. As a nursing aide, you can work at a hospital or long-term care facility. Some of your duties may involve bathing, dressing and feeding patients, helping patients use the bathroom and taking patients vital signs. To become a nursing aide, you usually have to complete a postsecondary certificate program. You may also choose to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) by passing a state exam. The BLS projected a 20% growth in employment for nursing aides, orderlies and attendants from 2010-2020. As of May 2011, the median salary earned by these professionals was about $24,000, according to the BLS.

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Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • MS in Nursing
  • Master of Healthcare Admin
  • Bachelor: Health Science
  • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN (RN License Required)

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Brightwood College

  • Medical Assistant - AS
  • Medical Assistant - Certificate
  • Medical Assistant - Diploma

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Northcentral University

  • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration

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The George Washington University

  • MSHS in Clinical Microbiology

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Virginia College

  • Associate: Medical Assistant
  • Diploma Program - Pharmacy Technician

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Penn Foster High School

  • High School with Pharmacy Technician Pathway
  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma

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Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

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Baker College Online

  • Healthcare Management - MBA (Master's)

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