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How to get a home health care license in California

Aug 9, 2023 · 6 minutes to read

California’s population is aging. By 2030, the number of people over 65 living in the Golden State is projected to reach 8.7 million.1 As Baby Boomers continue to retire and Gen X gets older, the state is likely to need qualified home health aides to meet the demand for in-home care services far into the future.

Support professional healthcare worker helping elderly lady or patient.

Now may be an excellent time to become a home health aide (HHA) in California. Obtaining a home health care license is the first step to caring for the state’s aging population. Let’s explore the license requirements in CA and where to find home health care liability insurance to protect your small business.

Why become a home health aide in California?

California is currently one of the top states for employment of home health aides.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, California has the highest employment levels for home health and personal care aides and the second highest concentration of these jobs in the country. As of May 2023, the BLS reports that the average salary for California’s home health aides is $35,220 per year ($16.93 per hour).

Home health aides work in various settings, from patients’ homes to group facilities. Many HHAs work full-time, but part-time hours are also common. You may be able to create a flexible work schedule, depending on your patient’s needs.

What are the home health aide requirements in California?

Before applying for a home health care license, you must meet the state’s licensing requirements. If you are entering the healthcare field for the first time, you will need to:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Complete a 120-hour HHA course approved by the California Department of Public Health.

People who hold an active Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certificate are required to complete a 40-hour course rather than the 120-hour training program.

California’s HHA training requirement is far above the federal government’s minimum of 75 hours for Medicare-certified home health agencies. You may need additional training to work in California if you hold an HHA license in another state.

What do you learn in a home health care training course?

A home health care training course in California will help prepare you for working as a home health aide and satisfy the state’s licensing requirement.

During the 120-hour program, you will cover topics such as:

  • Interpreting a patient’s medical and social needs
  • Providing personal care services, including hygiene and safely moving and positioning patients
  • Nutrition
  • Providing home care and cleaning tasks (i.e., laundry, food safety, housekeeping, etc.)

Your HHA course will likely include classroom instruction along with hands-on training in a clinical setting. A registered nurse or other qualified professional will supervise you when you work directly with patients.

Training is typically provided by a registered nurse. However, you may also learn from individuals in related fields, like social workers, nutritionists or physical therapists.

You must pass a final exam, which includes providing care to a patient or person pretending to be one. This portion of the exam usually tests physical activities, such as safely transferring someone from a bed to a wheelchair.

Applying for a home health care license in CA

Once you have completed an approved HHA course, you can apply for a home health care license from the Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division.

You can apply and pay the application fee online. There are separate license applications for individual/independent home care aides and home care organizations.

Obtaining a criminal background check is part of the application process for California HHAs. You will need to print a pre-populated form and take it to a Live Scan vendor to be fingerprinted. A valid photo ID is required to be fingerprinted for a background check.

Working as a licensed HHA in California

After your application has been approved, you will receive a home health care license and can legally work as a HHA in California. You will also be added to the Home Care Aide Registry, which allows patients and agencies to verify your license.

Home health aides must renew their licenses every two years. You will also need to complete 12 hours of in-person continuing education each year to maintain and renew your license.

Protecting yourself at work

Though business insurance is not required to receive a HHA license in California, you may still want to consider having policies that protect you at work. No matter how careful you are, accidents may still occur. A simple mistake can lead to an expensive claim or lawsuit that could hit your bank accounts hard.

This is where business insurance can help. Instead of paying compensation, legal fees, and other costs from your own pocket, your insurance can cover these for you.

HHAs often buy home health care liability insurance, such as:

  • General Liability – Protects you against claims by an outside party regarding injury or damage to their property.
  • Professional Liability – Protects your business against claims of negligence, misrepresentation or mistake, as well as document or paperwork errors.
  • Cyber Liability – Helps your agency deal with the fallout of a cyberattack or data breach.

BizInsure offers a Miscellaneous Medical Liability package that combines General Liability, Professional Liability, Cyber Liability and Abuse & Molestation cover. This is an easy and affordable way for Home Health Aides to protect themselves against the financial fallout of common claims and lawsuits.

Ready to find home health care liability insurance in California? Compare free quotes online with BizInsure and start saving!

1. Bay City News Foundation, An Aging State: How is California preparing for the shift to an older population? March 2022.This information is a general guide only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always check with your local licensing board when getting or renewing your home health agency license to ensure you are meeting their current licensing requirements.
As with any insurance, coverage will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this guide is general only and should not be relied upon as advice. The number of quotes provided varies between products, occupations and other underwriting factors determined by the insurers.
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