Home care is an old profession that has changed significantly over the years. Today, home health aides (HHAs) are responsible for providing limited nursing services to those who are homebound, typically due to sickness, disability or age. Home health aides assist with the activities of daily living, also known as ADLs. ADLs include dressing, bathing, meal preparation and medication management. They also involve the provision of interpersonal services such as psychological support and social interaction.
Aides may assist individuals with routine errands or transportation for doctor's appointments. They may help with physical therapy exercises as prescribed by a physician. Although home health aides are not clinicians, they may need to provide care to patients by arranging meals, changing bandages and wound dressings, and administering medications. Aides also must know how to accurately document changes in patients' health and well-being over time.
Some home health aides learn everything they need to know on the job, often while working for a full service home health agency. Others go to school first, attending either vocational classes that last from just a few weeks to more than a year or—alternatively—completing a 2-year associate's course in Nursing. All programs should be accredited by an organization approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
Home-based aides do not usually have to get a vocational certificate, but some do in order to build a competitive resume and a solid initial skill set. Some agencies have stricter requirements than those required for state licensure or registration. Moreover, job applicants with formal home health aide training can often command a higher salary.
A basic certificate curriculum provides students with the skills to meet the physical, social, psychological and emotional needs of patients from a variety of backgrounds. Programs accredited by the National Homecare Council and the Foundation for Hospice and Home Care prepare students for their Certified Home Health Aide credential.
To get into a program, applicants may need to furnish current medical records with proof of standard immunizations like Rubella and Mumps. During training, students study elementary nursing topics such as anatomy and physiology, nutrition and first aid. They also learn the practice of clinical observation, record keeping and quality control. By their graduation, students are expected to know how to keep a fragile patient safe, healthy and happy.
Coursework for a certificate in Home Health Care or a related area might include:
What jobs are available to trained and certified HHAs?
Why do Home Health Aides earn 2-year associate degrees? More demanding employers require HHAs to have completed an associate's track. Additionally, new HHAs may need professional references, and these can be cultivated in a reputable degree program offered at a community college, for example.
Most schools don't offer an associate's degree in home health care per se, so aspiring aides tend to gravitate toward (pre-)nursing majors at this level. An associate's degree in nursing affords access to a wide-ranging education directly applicable to the aide's line of work. The best programs offer clinical experiences that give a taste of what it's like to work on-the-job as an HHA. During training is a good time to get certified in CPR and First Aid, which may be required for employment or certification.
Associate-level students work to master the best personal care practices with respect to assessing vital signs, attending to body mechanics, ensuring safety, protecting patients' rights, controlling the spread of infection, preparing meals to specifications, observing clients, and communicating with them about their feelings, desires and needs.
Courses for an Associate of (Applied) Science in Nursing might include:
Home health aides don't usually need a license to practice, but they may need to get registered or certified with the state. In places that regulate these workers, a large proportion of employers prefer applicants certified as HHAs with the relevant state board. Aides who intend to work for a Medicare- or Medicaid-certified agency must get a state certification or complete an approved course of training at least 75 hours in length. This requirement is a matter of federal law, and agencies hire based on the restriction.
What kinds of jobs are open to an HHA with an associate's degree?
We found 39 schools offering "Home Health Aide" degree programs in the U.S.
|Academy for Practical Nursing & Health Occupations||West Palm Beach||FL||287|
|Anoka Technical College||Anoka||MN||2046|
|Baker College of Flint||Flint||MI||3896|
|Career Technical College||Monroe||LA||174|
|Charlotte Technical Center||Port Charlotte||FL||1276|
|Colby Community College||Colby||KS||2160|
|College of the Siskiyous||Weed||CA||2786|
|Concorde Career College||Memphis||TN||755|
|Coral Ridge Nurses Assistant Training School Inc||Fort Lauderdale||FL||40|
|Emily Griffith Opportunity School||Denver||CO||7377|
|Fort Berthold Community College||New Town||ND||50|
|Fort Scott Community College||Fort Scott||KS||1677|
|George C Wallace Community College - Dothan||Dothan||AL||3612|
|Hacienda La Puente Unified School District - Adult Education||City Of Industry||CA||2030|
|Imperial Valley College||Imperial||CA||6775|
|Independence Community College||Independence||KS||1144|
|Johnson County Community College||Overland Park||KS||16383|
|Kansas City Ks Area Technical School||Kansas City||KS||1730|
|Kaw Area Technical School||Topeka||KS||1013|
|Lake Superior College||Duluth||MN||3972|
|Lakeland Community College||Kirtland||OH||7722|
|Marin Regional Occupational Program||San Rafael||CA||1039|
|Mchenry County College||Crystal Lake||IL||5086|
|Minnesota West Community and Technical College||Granite Falls||MN||3296|
|Northeast Kansas Technical College||Atchison||KS||130|
|Nunez Community College||Chalmette||LA||1884|
|Pima Medical Institute||Tucson||AZ||364|
|Pratt Community College||Pratt||KS||1331|
|Red Rocks Community College||Lakewood||CO||7520|
|Santa Barbara City College||Santa Barbara||CA||13834|
|Savant Training and Technology||San Antonio||TX||71|
|Seattle Community College - South Campus||Seattle||WA||5738|
|Simi Valley Adult School and Career Institute||Simi Valley||CA||5902|
|South Central College||North Mankato||MN||3220|
|Southwest Kansas Technical School||Liberal||KS||183|
|Westside Tech||Winter Garden||FL||1111|
|Winter Park Tech||Winter Park||FL||511|
|York Technical College||Rock Hill||SC||3597|