Becoming a Certified Home Health Aide

If you tend to have a great deal of compassion for people and have a knack for patience as well as the ability to communicate with the elderly or disabled, a certified home health aid may be just the career path for you.

Nature of the Work

You should know that work as a certified home health aide can be very challenging because you may be working with people that are disabled, ill, dying, or mentally challenged. This means you should know before heading in this career direction that you have a knack for handling yourself well with various types of people.

As a certified home health aide, you may work independently and have flexible hours, such as going to someone’s home at a specified time of day, then heading off to your next patient’s home. Everyday is unique and different, which is what makes this an exciting career choice for many people that simply cannot sit in an office for a set number of hours each day.

Training

You should have a GED or high school diploma and while some states do not require this, others do, so if you do not have a GED or high school diploma, check with your state to see if it is required in order to gain the needed training. Typically, home health aides complete their training in vocational colleges or receive on the job training along with specific educational requirements met. Once the training is completed, you will need to pass the certification exam, which is vital particularly if you will be working with hospice. Hospice works with Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and these federal programs require specific skills from home health aids as well as your certification.

Training is normally no more than three months, but again is varies a bit by state. In addition, if you move from one state to another, you may have to do additional educational training if you are moving to a state that requires more training than you currently have. You can also choose to complete a voluntary certificate via the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, which betters your chances of advancement opportunities.

Many home health aides use the training as a stepping stone to see if the health field is something they enjoy. If so, they often continue their education to become nurses aides or registered nurses. The advancement opportunities are limited for certified home health aides, which is the reason many go on to advanced education.

You should know that the need for certified home health aides is great and landing a job before you ever complete your certification is not uncommon. The first is expected to grow much faster than most other fields according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means if you enjoy the field, you will never be short on a job regardless of where you live. The increased need for home health aides is due to the aging population and for other to remain in their homes rather than transferring to state run institutions such as nursing facilities.

As a certified home health aide, you are of major importance to helping the patients you serve remain in their home and as independent as possible. During your training, you will learn how to safely move individuals so that you do not become injured on the job in the process of trying to help someone off their bed.

Final Thoughts

Finding a home health aide program in your community is normally not difficult and during your training you do learn very useful skills in order to apply them to the people you come into contact with. Make sure the program you choose is approved and will lead you being able to sit for the certification examination at the end of the training.