Home Health Aide Career: Education Requirements and Salary Info

Overview

A career as a home health aide is perfect for someone who is compassionate and wants to provide quality healthcare to patients who unable to leave their homes for treatment, whether this is due to illness, physical disability, or cognitive impairments. Home health aides are the kindhearted professionals who visit a few clients per day in order to give each patient the attention and personal care he or she needs.

Home health aides, also known as certified nursing assistants, residential assistants, and home caregivers, work primarily in residential homes, as their names imply. Typically, they visit about five patients’ homes per day, though they sometimes visit organizations and elderly communities as well.

Job Duties

The home health aide’s primary task is to look after patients on a regular basis. While they might work alternating shifts, they usually visit four to five clients each day to administer prescription medication, perform daily personal tasks like bathing or dressing the patient, prepare meals, go grocery shopping for the patient, help with household chores like washing dishes and doing the laundry, driving the patient to the store or to a doctor’s appointment, and read to and converse with patients. The fundamental goal is to ensure patients are comfortable and treated with dignity, regardless of their condition. Home health aides work with certified home health agencies and hospice groups, and they may receive additional funding and assistance through different government programs and organizations.

Career Outlook

Over the decade spanning from 2010 to 2020, the home health aide field is expected to grow by an astonishing 69 percent, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the country’s population ages and lives well into old age, the increase in number of senior citizens will necessarily mean an increase in the number of professional caregivers. Because many of these elderly people will choose to remain at home, either for reasons of privacy or simply because they are dealing with chronic issues that don’t necessitate hospitalization, home health aides will be especially important in providing much-needed care.

In 2010, the average annual salary for a home health aide was $20,560, though wages may increase depending on geographical area and experience.

Education Requirements

Although there is no national, mandatory educational requirement, home and personal health aide professionals should obtain at least a college degree in medical assisting. Not only is it important to have some background in medicine and nursing, a degree program will provide students with valuable on-the-job training and experience employers will want to see in potential new employees. Whether one chooses to follow a degree program or go straight into employment, one must be trained and certified via a standardized examination before beginning work in a home health or hospice agency.

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