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Home Health Care Aide Classes, Certifications and Training – Everything You Need to Know

Nov 28, 2018 · 11 minutes to read

Home Health Aide Requirements

The federal requirements for Home Health Aide training

Home health aide programs must comply with federal standards, regardless of which state you will work in. Programs must include a minimum of 75 total training hours.

Sixteen of those hours are hands-on, in-person training. Here, you will develop your care skills and learn how to interact with patients. You will be supervised by a qualified HHA or registered nurse during these hours.

HHA requirements by state

You may also need to meet individual state requirements to become an HHA. As of 2024, Seventeen states require HHAs to complete more than the federal standard of 75 hours to work in the field. If you plan to work in multiple states, you must meet the requirements set in each state where you work.

Check your state’s home health aide requirements to ensure you choose a program that will be accepted where you plan to work.

Online home health aide courses

There are many home health aide courses offered online. These courses will help you complete the 59 general learning hours required by the federal government. State-specific courses may also be offered in areas that have standards above the federal minimum.

Online HHA courses will likely cover things like:

  • Creating safe home environments for patients – Learning how to spot everyday safety hazards and helping patients avoid slips, trips, or falls.
  • Effective communication – Developing practical communication skills, identifying changes in your patients, and assessing their comfort and wellbeing.
  • Nutritional requirements – How to buy food, plan meals, and prepare and serve meals to patients.
  • Working with children – Caring for children at home, understanding development stages, identifying disabilities, addressing abuse, and navigating working with their families.

Certified Home Health Aide Classes and Training

How to become certified Home Health Aide?

To become a certified home health aide, you need to achieve certification through a training program; however, this does not necessarily mean you need to complete a high school diploma or comparable education. Although state law varies from location to location, typically speaking, the majority of certification programs require between 40 and 60 hours of clinical work in combination with 120 hours of classroom training. 

One option to receive certification is through the National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). However, many community colleges, home health agencies, nursing facilities, vocational schools, and non-profit organizations also offer home health aide courses. You may also find certification programs at vocational schools. The tuition fees that are charged for home health aide certification programs are usually between $300 and $650. 

Although it is possible to complete home health aide classes at some hospitals, before enrolling for these, you should ensure that they meet the certification requirement required in the state in which you wish to work. 

To become an HHA, you’ll need to go through certified home health aide classes, pass a home health aide certification exam, and take a few more steps, to ensure you can legally provide at-home aid to elderly individuals. Here’s everything you need to know.

What are duties of Home Health Aide (HHA)?

Home health aide duties 

Home health aides assist people to complete the activities of daily living (ADLs). This involves three main duties, as follows:  

  1. Assistance with personal care
  2. Light housekeeping
  3. Companionship

1. Personal care assistance

One of the rewarding aspects of working as a home health aide is the knowledge that your assistance helps older people to stay in an environment in which they feel comfortable and happy.  

In many cases, without your support, a much-loved member of the family would not be able to remain in the family home. Your assistance can make all the difference to an aged individual who needs help with basic self-care tasks such as dressing and washing.  

2. Housekeeping

Maintaining a clean and tidy house can be challenging for someone who is finding it difficult to care for themselves. You can help clients achieve basic tasks and be a great source of stress relief.  

3. Companionship

Being in a role that involves combining care with compassion can be a great source of personal fulfilment. Helping others can reduce your own stress levels and improve your mental health. Think of it as being paid to make a positive difference in someone else’s life.

Related: Home Health Aide Duties, Limits and Risks

What Is A Home Health Aide (HHA)?

A Home Health Aide helps elderly or disabled individuals perform basic day-to-day tasks, such as brushing their teeth, using the bathroom, bathing, reminding them to take their medication, changing wound dressings, and monitoring the health of the individual. Essentially, you’ll help someone who is injured, or chronically disabled, maintain their quality of life – and make sure they stay safe.

Do You Need to Take Home Health Aide Classes?

This depends on your state. In some cases, all you may need is a high school diploma to become a home health aide. However, in most areas, you’ll need to go through a home health aide training program, to ensure you have the skills and knowledge to properly care for your patients.

How to Get Your Home Health Aide Certification

Wondering how to get your home health aide certification?

Getting an HHA certification is not difficult. The process usually only takes a few weeks, as most of the things you’ll need to know are common sense. You won’t be doing any kind of complex medical work – just more basic, day-to-day tasks.

What Is A Home Health Aide Training Program?

A home health aide training program is designed to prepare you for the everyday realities of your job as an HHA. HHAs are responsible for the health, well-being, and continued care of the patients who they serve – so it’s best not to take your training lightly.

Depending on the program, you may be taught first aid, methods for personal care of another person, basic things like hygiene precautions to take when treating your clients, and theory about aging, disabilities, mental illness, and how to work in a stressful environment.

These skills are indispensable on the job. Even if your state or municipality does not require HHA certification or a training program, we recommend that you go through this training. It’s affordable – and in some areas, you may even be able to get a free home health aide certification if you find a company willing to foot the bill for your training.

Home Health Aide Certificate Online

In many cases, you’ll be able to get your home health aide certificate online. This is usually the most economical way to do things, as you will be able to find a course for just a few hundred dollars, though some programs may be more expensive. Some of the most popular online courses providers include:

Health Aide Certification Exam

To become a certified Home Health Aide, you won’t just need to undergo an HHA course. You’ll also need to pass the Home Health Aide Certification exam. Again, this is not required in every state.

However, being certified helps ensure that you have the skills to perform your duties properly – and whether you’re choosing to start your own home care business, or work with an established company, you’ll be more likely to get work and clients more quickly.

The content of your exam may differ somewhat, based on the certification and curriculum you use in your training. The NCCAP is one of the largest governing bodies for certification, and is highly-reputable and recognized by all at-home care companies.

Health Aide Schools

Depending on where you are, you may have quite a few options for health aide schools. Many community colleges and technical institutes offer in-person courses for HHA certification, and help you prepare for Home Health Aide Certification exams. There are also quite a few online health aide schools to choose from, such as Ashworth College.

Whether you choose an online or in-person health aide school, the knowledge you gain will be invaluable, and could open up a career path in health and home services, especially if you choose to undergo further schooling to become a licensed nurse or another specialty at-home care professional.

Home Health Aid Certification Expenses

Overall, becoming certified as an HHA is not very expensive. In this section of our article, we’ll break down your expected home health aide certification costs and expenses.

Free Home Health Aide Certification

If you are interested in becoming a home health aide, but you do not want to pay for certification, it may be possible to find a free 2 week HHA training program near you. Because many home health care companies are understaffed and need more workers, many are willing to pay for your schooling, and will hire you on as soon as you complete your training and pass any required HHA certification exams.

To find these opportunities near you, all you have to do is some basic Googling to find Home Health Agencies near you. Then, you can find a few of the best companies in the area. Give them a call or send them an email and see if they are looking for more Home Health Aides. Chances are, they are – and they’ll be willing to hire you and pay for your HHA certification. Do a little bit of digging, and you’re sure to find a way to get free home health aide certification.

Home Health Aid Paid Certification Cost

If you pay for your HHA certification, you’ll still be making a good investment. You can get your certification for as little as $200 online, and even the best in-person programs usually don’t cost more than $1,000. This may seem steep, but considering the demand for home healthcare workers, it’s still definitely worth the investment.

Home Health Aid Renewal

You will typically need to renew your Home Health Aide certification once per year, or once every two years. You can usually renew your HHA at any time, so renewing early is a good idea, to ensure that it does not lapse.

If your certification does lapse, it’s typically more time-consuming and expensive to have it reinstated, rather than renewed – so once you’ve become certified, do your best to avoid lapsing. You’ll face extra expenses and may even need to take some classes again for your HHA certification renewal.

Other Health Aide Requirements

Depending on where you work, and the patients and clients you serve, there may be some other requirements for your Home Health Aide certification. Let’s briefly examine NAHC certification, and discuss the need for HHA insurance.

National Association of Home Care And Hospice (NAHC) Certification

The National Association of Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) is one of the biggest licensing agencies and most well-regarded professional associations for home health aides. After completing your training at a hospital, vocational school, or college, you may be required to take the NAHC certification exam.

Taking the NAHC certification is a good idea if you live in an area with a highly-competitive job market, or you are planning on moving in the next few years. This is one of the most widely-recognized HHA certifications, so it’s a good idea to take the exam, if possible. If you do so, you may also avoid having to take competency exams during on-the-job training, which makes it easier to get hired by a large health aide company.

Home Health Aide Provider Insurance

One great thing about being a certified HHA provider is that, if you want, you can always start your own business. Startup costs are quite minimal, as you will be traveling to and from each client’s home and will not have to spend much on basic supplies, which are often provided by your clients.

However, if you are starting your own business, you will need Home Health Aide insurance. This insurance will help protect you from liability in case something goes wrong on the job. If a client slips and falls and tries to sue you for negligence, for example, your insurance policy will help protect you, your business, and your personal assets.

If you work for a larger company, you don’t need to worry about getting your own policy. You’re covered under their policy for all of their employees. But if you do end up working for yourself, you’ll need to make sure that you have proper insurance coverage – or you could risk losing your business, property, and more if something goes wrong on the job.

Disclaimer:
*As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.

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