Do Home Health Aides (HHAs) Need to be Certified?

Home Health Aides

Do Home Health Aides (HHAs) Need to be Certified?

Learn about what certification is needed to work as a Home Health Aide (HHA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Plus, you will get information on how to attain certification right here in Philadelphia, and also learn about other alternatives to being a Home Health Aide


Are you interested in a career as a caregiver? You may have heard the term Home Health Aides and wonder what the job entailed. Plus, you are probably wondering about training and certification requirements. We help you answer all of those questions and more in our article.

Does a Home Health Aide need to be certified?

Home Health Aides

A Home Health Aide does need to attain a certification to work in that role. The requirements to work as a Home Health Aide varys by state. In the state of Pennsylvania, Home Health Aides meet the requirements under regulations set forth by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as listed here

Among other things, the program spells out the number of hours necessary and topics covered. Per federal regulations, the program must involve at least 75 hours of training with 16 of those hours as supervised practical training. 

In many training programs, this means hours will be completed in a laboratory setting. This refers to a training unit or space that resembles the healthcare and home setting. In other cases, this will mean working hands-on with a patient or patients as part of the program. The CareBridge Academy Home Health Aide program, for example, is a 75 hour program that meets CMS regulations by offering 16 hours of practical training. 

What’s the difference between a caregiver and a Home Health Aide?

A caregiver is an unlicensed position, as opposed to a Home Health Aide. The licensure offers enhanced job responsibilities and scope of work. The job responsibilities of home health aides and personal caregivers are similar. Both roles work in the client’s home or residence and offer support with daily tasks. 

Home health aides are generally trained or qualified to provide simple health services. These offerings might include helping the client perform rehabilitation exercises, helping them take prescribed medication, or giving pain relief services, like a massage. A home health aide may also be licensed to operate or maintain medical equipment such as oxygen. A personal caregiver is not generally allowed to perform such medical tasks or dispense medication.

Why should I be a certified Home Health Aide instead of working as a caregiver? 

personal care aide

An individual could be a caregiver (or personal care aide, homemaker, etc.) instead of a Home Health Aide if they want. However, there are some drawbacks to this. Any agency that accepts Medicare must have certified Home Health Aides. Most agencies do, in fact, take Medicare. 

As a result, most places that hire HHAs can only hire certified aides. Therefore, it is highly recommended that any individual be certified if they want to maximize their job opportunities. Even if you don’t think you need certification now, that certification could make your future much brighter down the road. It can open up more advancement opportunities for HHA program graduates. 

Finally, because of the expanded responsibilities, Home Health Aides may find higher starting salaries than caregivers or Personal Care Aides

What’s the difference between being a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) and an HHA?

A Certified Nurse Aide and a Home Health Aide both require classes and certifications in their respective occupations. Also, they do cover many of the same topics. However, there are some key differences as we discuss here

A Certified Nurse Aide training program is longer and more intensive than a Home Health Aide. For example, the CareBridge Academy Nurse Aide training program is a 120-hour course, versus 75 hours for Home Health Aides. Also, 55 of those hours include training inside a long term care facility (nursing home). 

Accordingly, Certified Nurse Aides can work in a broader variety of settings, generally speaking (including in home healthcare agencies). Home Health Aides naturally work mostly in home-based settings. However, a large percentage of home health aides do work in other medical and healthcare settings as well. That is particularly true for those with experience.

While both very affordable, the CNA program is more expensive as a whole than the HHA program. Naturally, this is due to the program being more intensive and ultimately why it offers more job opportunities (and potentially more starting pay). However, long term care facilities are required to reimburse CNAs for the cost of the program under certain conditions. This can be a major benefit for prospective students. Some HHAs are able to get their employers to pay for their program, but this is case by case. 

Are you required to have a high school diploma or GED to be a home health aide?

There is no education requirement that dictates that HHAs must have a high school diploma or GED to get certified and maintain certification. The same is true as an HHA employee. Some home healthcare and hospice agencies, however, may require a high school diploma. A diploma or GED may be a requirement in order to be able to work at the company that employs the HHA. 

Where can I get a certificate to be a Home Health Aide?

home healthcare agencies

To get certified as a home health aide (HHA), prospective home health aides must complete a training program. These programs may be offered by community colleges, private schools or employers (home healthcare agencies) offering jobs in the field. 

CareBridge Academy’s Home Health Aide program, for example, offers regularly scheduled HHA classes for prospective home health aides in the greater Philadelphia area. For more detail on getting certified right here in Pennsylvania, read our article here

I want to ensure stability in my career and future, especially in these difficult times. What is the job outlook for Home Health Aides?

In short, being a home health aide makes a great career choice. We go into great detail here. We also talk about HHAs and other fast growing medical roles in Pennsylvania as well

Consider these facts that make a career change as a Home Health Aide a solid one.

  • Extraordinary job growth.  The growth in jobs in this field isn’t just impressive. It’s actually one of the fastest growing careers in all of America over the next ten years. In fact, it’s projected to grow more than SEVEN times faster than all occupations through 2028, according to the BLS
  • In addition to job security and growth prospects, salary is another benefit. First, there are minimal training requirements and no experience needed. Plus, the training itself is very inexpensive. The starting salary as compared to the education and training needed is quite favorable. 
  • As mentioned, a home health aide does not have extensive training requirements. In fact, CareBridge Academy’s Home Health Aide program can get you certified in only two weeks. They regularly offers classes to fit your schedule and get you into a job and earn a salary quickly.
  • You will get exposure and experience in healthcare. By starting your healthcare career, you are taking a path to a promising future. Plus, home health aides often get to work alongside different healthcare roles and specialties. Many HHAs take advanced career and educational opportunities and eventually become nurses, doctors, or physical therapists. Besides that, as home health aides gain experience, they are often able to break into other settings outside of the patient’s home such as residential habilitation or adult and individual services.


HHAs are important

Home health aides (HHAs) are extremely important positions in society. HHAs maintain the health and well-being of the elderly, ill, and disabled.  This role offers variety and experience. You could be changing bandages or distributing medications, and then grocery shopping or helping to pay bills for clients.  

Other healthcare workers are often located in a medical facility. HHAs, on the other hand, enter patient homes. They have access to the most intimate parts of peoples’ lives. They are often not supervised and may not always have direct support in their roles.  Because of this, it is imperative that HHAs are certified, screened, and go through a rigorous training process.

CareBridge Academy offers a caring, supportive, and thorough HHA program for prospective students. Sign up for the Home Health Aide certification program with CareBridge Academy today. Be prepared for your career to take off!

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