Home Health Aide

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.

Degrees in Home Health Aide

Vocational Certificate in Home Health Care

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:

  • Roles of the HHA
  • Medical and Social Needs of Patients
  • Nutrition 101

What jobs are available to trained and certified HHAs?

  • Direct Care Worker
  • Home Care Aide
  • Homemaker

Associate's Degree in Nursing

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:

  • Concepts in Pain Management
  • Cardiac Dysrhythmias: Interpretation, Treatment & Management
  • Women's Health Issues

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?

  • Respite Care Provider
  • Personal Care Assistant (PCA)
  • Long-Term Care Worker

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We found 39 schools offering "Home Health Aide" degree programs in the U.S.

>> See all 39 Home Health Aide Colleges in the U.S.

Most Popular Home Health Aide Schools

Johnson County Community College
Overland Park, KS  |  Total Enrollment: 16383

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Santa Barbara City College
Santa Barbara, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 13834

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
Lakeland Community College
Kirtland, OH  |  Total Enrollment: 7722

Degrees Offered: One but less than two years, Associate's
Red Rocks Community College
Lakewood, CO  |  Total Enrollment: 7520

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's
Emily Griffith Opportunity School
Denver, CO  |  Total Enrollment: 7377

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years
Imperial Valley College
Imperial, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 6775

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Simi Valley Adult School and Career Institute
Simi Valley, CA  |  Total Enrollment: 5902

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years
Seattle Community College - South Campus
Seattle, WA  |  Total Enrollment: 5738

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Mchenry County College
Crystal Lake, IL  |  Total Enrollment: 5086

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years
Lake Superior College
Duluth, MN  |  Total Enrollment: 3972

Degrees Offered: Less than one year, One but less than two years, Associate's, Two but less than 4 years

Browse All 39 Colleges With Home Health Aide Programs

Title City State Enrollment
Coral Ridge Nurses Assistant Training School Inc Fort Lauderdale FL 40
Fort Berthold Community College New Town ND 50
Savant Training and Technology San Antonio TX 71
Northeast Kansas Technical College Atchison KS 130
Career Technical College Monroe LA 174
Southwest Kansas Technical School Liberal KS 183
Academy for Practical Nursing & Health Occupations West Palm Beach FL 287
Pima Medical Institute Tucson AZ 364
Winter Park Tech Winter Park FL 511
Concorde Career College Memphis TN 755
Kaw Area Technical School Topeka KS 1013
Marin Regional Occupational Program San Rafael CA 1039
Westside Tech Winter Garden FL 1111
Independence Community College Independence KS 1144
Charlotte Technical Center Port Charlotte FL 1276
Pratt Community College Pratt KS 1331
Fort Scott Community College Fort Scott KS 1677
Kansas City Ks Area Technical School Kansas City KS 1730
Nunez Community College Chalmette LA 1884
Hacienda La Puente Unified School District - Adult Education City Of Industry CA 2030
Anoka Technical College Anoka MN 2046
Colby Community College Colby KS 2160
College of the Siskiyous Weed CA 2786
South Central College North Mankato MN 3220
Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls MN 3296
York Technical College Rock Hill SC 3597
George C Wallace Community College - Dothan Dothan AL 3612
Ridgewater College Willmar MN 3762
Baker College of Flint Flint MI 3896
Lake Superior College Duluth MN 3972
Mchenry County College Crystal Lake IL 5086
Seattle Community College - South Campus Seattle WA 5738
Simi Valley Adult School and Career Institute Simi Valley CA 5902
Imperial Valley College Imperial CA 6775
Emily Griffith Opportunity School Denver CO 7377
Red Rocks Community College Lakewood CO 7520
Lakeland Community College Kirtland OH 7722
Santa Barbara City College Santa Barbara CA 13834
Johnson County Community College Overland Park KS 16383