Essential requirements for starting a career as a home health aide
The main function of home health aides is to provide medical and personal care services to individuals in a domestic setting. Working as a home health aide can be quite demanding as you would be required to give personal assistance and travel between clients. It might also involve exposure to bodily fluids. Given the complexities of the environment and the job, it is useful to consider home health aide insurance before starting your career journey.
Now, we come to the basic requirements which an individual must possess to start a career as a home health aide (HHA). For starting off in this field, you need to fulfill some minimum educational qualifications. This includes a high school diploma, GED, and some hands-on training experience. Some positions require tests in English and Math, but most employers look for training experience from a registered nurse. This is important because the home health aides could be required to do medical care tasks like taking BP, giving medicines, and recording medical notes.
Some employers also ask for certifications. This is mostly observed among employers who receive Medicare compensation. These employers are required to ensure that the HHAs complete some standard hours (75 hours) of training through a certificate program. The qualifications for the certificates courses vary from state to state among different institutes, which will be discussed hereafter.
Certificate programs for home health aides
For people interested in starting their careers in home health care, there are many premier institutes that provide certificate courses in Home Health Aide. These certificate courses are designed to provide the students with the necessary skills to effectively and safely care for their clients. Following is a list of some of the best Health Aide Certification Programs –
1. Penn Foster HHA Certification Program
The HHA certification program provided by Penn Foster is one of the only programs that exceeds all state and federal education requirements. This allows the students to work with all the Home Health Aide agencies that are covered by Medicare. The 1-year program covers a wide range of topics which include –
- Therapeutic communication skills
- Aging process
- Home care procedures
- Drug pathways
- Body system
- Confidentiality, laws and ethics
The course is completely online, after which the students are given the opportunity to complete an externship that lasts 40 hours. During this externship, they will be able to practice important skills required of a home health aide under the supervision of an experienced professional. The course is considered to be one of the best in the US, having accreditation from the DEAC and several other bodies.
2. Ashworth College
The Ashworth College HHA certification program is one of the most affordable, fast, and thorough programs for learning home health care. This is a great option for students who do not possess a high school diploma, and it does not ask for any prerequisites either. This fully online program allows students to learn important skills for providing assistance to elderly, critically ill patients, and those with any disability. Some of the topics covered in this program are –
- Hospice care
- Communication skills
- Patient handling
- Infection control
- Personal care
- Hygiene and food preparation
- Emergency procedures
After completing the HHA course from Ashworth, students can also get career services from the Ashworth College Central Network. These services can include tips on resume writing, advice on professional development, and other things. The only downside is that it does not meet the education requirements of certain states like Mississippi, California, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. The course also does not provide hands-on training skills, which are required by many employers.
3. American Caregiver Association
The HHA certification program from American Caregiver Association is a great option for those who wish to become independent home health aides. This association provides the required accreditation to caregivers. There are several courses offered by the ACA; however, the best option for HHAs is the Caregiver Business Bundle. In this course, you will be given 120 hours of classroom lessons and a Start Your Own Caregiver Service Business Guide. However, the 16-hours of hands-on training has to be pursued by the students on their own. The topics covered in this course will include –
- Medical distribution
- Oral hygiene and skincare
- Food services, nutrition, and hydration
- Bathing and grooming
- Fall prevention and risk management
4. Southern Technical Institute
The HHA certificate course from Southern Technical Institute is designed to prepare certified nursing assistants to tailor their services for a domestic environment. This fully online course provides the students with information on all the required topics. Some of these topics are –
- Hygiene and personal care
- Food safety
- Infection control
- Positioning and transferring
- Body systems
Although the instructions are completely online, the students are required to give a 2-hour clinical exam which will test the hands-on training skills. Unless you are already a certified nursing assistant, this program will not meet the federal education requirements.
The home health aide certification program by CareerStep is an intensive program that offers around 285 hours of classroom lessons. This thorough, fully-online program takes over a year to complete. It covers a range of skills that are required from a home health aide. It explores the health care system and examines how home health care fits into the system. A module from this course is dedicated to finding employment. Although this program is pricier than the other ones, it will provide you with the necessary skills for working with a variety of special needs individuals.
6. Cornerstone Healthcare Training
The HHA certification program by Cornerstone Healthcare Training is designed for people who want to work in assisted living facilities. The unique feature of this program is that it provides targeted training by focusing on the skills that are required in multi-family living situations. The course consists of 75 hours of classroom instruction, after which the students would be required to give an online exam. In addition to this, Cornerstone Healthcare Training also offers separate courses in specialty areas which the students need to maintain their certification.
From this list of courses, you would be able to find the right Home Health Aide (HHA) certificate program most suited to your qualifications. After completing the course, you would be well-versed with all the necessary skills required in the profession of HHA. Another thing you should consider before kickstarting your HHA career is home health care insurance. Even the most careful HHA professional can end up making a mistake, miscommunicating the care instructions, or even injuring themselves. Getting a home health care liability insurance can be useful in these events, which can often lead to an expensive liability lawsuit. Know more about Home Health Aide certifications, training, and insurance.