02 Nov HHA Certification in Philadelphia: A Guide
Learn how Home Health Aides and HHAs can get their certification and training right here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Find resources and programs to obtain your certification locally, including online course options.
Have you been thinking about a career in the medical field? Are you a new worker or considering a career change? Entering the healthcare field as a certified home health aide, also known as an HHA, can be promising, rewarding, and create a future career full of opportunity and promise.
Job growth in HHA roles
Launching a healthcare career as a home health aide is both stable and fast growing. This is good to know during our current economic challenges and in the face of COVID-19. Plus, there are a variety of career path options for individuals that decide to become a certified home health aide. Below you can find out how to get your HHA certification and training. By doing so, you’ll take your career in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to new heights.
What is home healthcare and a home care agency?
Home healthcare is a field of healthcare. It includes a wide variety of services. The individuals that receive home care get their care in their own home or another residential setting. Home healthcare workers include direct care workers. Examples include personal care aides who assist patients with daily tasks and certified HHAs that provide basic medical care services. This home care might include rehabilitation after a surgery, among others. Home healthcare is inclusive of a variety of professional roles as well. For example, nurses, therapists, and doctors can all be found in a home healthcare setting.
The growth of home healthcare and HHAs
Home healthcare and home care is a strong and growing field. These services are an appealing and often a more affordable alternative to placing family members or individuals in a long-term care facility. Many individuals find the ability to stay in their own homes desirable as well as cheaper than staying in a long term care facility. Plus, this is usually what their family members also prefer. Additionally, the healthcare industry acknowledges this too. They are working to keep people in their own homes as well when it is safe to do so. As a result, this makes the growth in home healthcare particularly strong. This includes both now and well into the future. Home healthcare will exceed the growth of the overall healthcare industry significantly over the next ten years.
A snapshot of the overall jobs market and economy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The pandemic has been devastating on the job market in the United States. Plus, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been hit even harder. The Philadelphia area has an overall unemployment rate of 15.4 percent as of August 2020. In total, that’s greater than one out of seven individuals in Philadelphia that is currently jobless.
Occupations in restaurant, retail,, tourism, and other related service industries have suffered the greatest job losses. This is true both in Philadelphia and across the country. Many of the individuals currently or previously employed in those fields are now considering other career paths such as the medical field. Healthcare has been one of the most resilient industries in our current economy. Not only is it a career path in the medical field stable and growing, but it is fulfilling as well.
Career outlook for certified home health aides and HHAs
Home health aides are an entry level healthcare role. Home health aides engage in rewarding work. Plus, they gain valuable experience in this hands-on healthcare career. Finally, starting as a certified HHA can eventually lead to many advancement opportunities in the future in all sorts of healthcare roles. Many HHA’s climb the career and educational ladder over time. For example, they may become nurses, doctors, or therapists with time. Read our guide on the potential career paths for HHAs here.
Demand for home healthcare services is exponentially growing as the baby boomer population ages. In fact, an HHA is one of the fast growing professions in all of America. The bureau of labor statistics projects a 37 percent increase in all HHA jobs in America through 2028, versus only a 5 percent increase in all professions as a whole.
If you can believe it, this growth is even more apparent in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.
HHAs in Pennsylvania by the numbers
The following figures by the LTCC Blueprint for Strengthening Pennsylvania’s Direct Care Workforce demonstrate how large the direct care workforce is now in Pennsylvania and what the future looks like. For reference, the direct care workforce includes home health aides, certified nurse aides, and personal care aides, among others.It sums up by the numbers why healthcare demand is so high and growing:
- Currently, there are 219,000 direct care workers across Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia
- The top direct care worker roles include HHAs and home health aides, personal care aides, and nursing assistants
- By 2026, over 37,000 additional direct care workers will be needed across Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania is aging, demographically. It has the fifth oldest population in the nation. Seniors and older adults are most likely to utilize home healthcare services such as home health aides, which explains the industry growth
- By 2030, the overall population of older adults will increase by 26 percent
- Pennsylvania has a high proportion of disabled residents. For example, around one in seven individuals in Pennsylvania has a disability. Disabled individuals are also more likely to use home health aides and home care services.
- Pennsylvania has the fifth largest percentage of disabled residents in the nation topping 14 percent of Pennsylvanians.
Job duties and careers of an HHA
What does a home health aide do on a daily basis?
HHAs assist the elderly or other individuals with special needs. This includes disabled individuals and children as well. These care recipients may suffer from chronic illnesses, disabilities, or impaired cognitive function with daily activities. For example, an HHA may assist their clients with daily personal tasks related to hygiene activities. An HHA may also help their clients get dressed, bath, or complete other daily activities of living.
HHAs perform some health-related tasks too, such as giving prescribed medications or monitoring vital signs. These medical tasks are what separates an HHA from a personal care aide or unlicensed caregiver. Read more about what home health aides do every day in our recently released article.
An HHA also performs the following duties:
- Light housekeeping duties, like washing dishes and doing laundry
- Providing companionship to clients; helping individuals stay active socially, physically, and mentally
- Driving and/or arranging transportation needs for clients, such as doctor visits and errands
- Planning a client’s schedule; setting appointments for doctor visits
- Preparing and planning meals, shopping for groceries, and running errands for a client
Can certified HHAs only work in the home?
Home health aides (HHAs) often work in a client’s home or in a residential setting. This is true in a majority of cases. However, HHAs can and do work in a variety of other settings as well! HHAs can be found in assisted living facilities, individual and family services settings, and residential disability facilities, and others. This is another attractive trait about working as an HHA, as they can work in different healthcare settings.
What do HHAs make in pay and earnings?
In the United States, the median annual salary (including salary plus other cash compensation) for home health aides is $24,060 per year. Overall, this equates to $11.57 per hour of pay in total earnings.
In the state of Pennsylvania, HHAs see a higher average salary than the nationwide average. Statewide, HHAs average $25,810 per year, or $12.41 per hour in earnings and payment.
Locally, in both Philadelphia and the surrounding areas (the tri-state area which includes parts of Delaware and New Jersey as well), the average yearly salary for an HHA is $26,220. This comes to $12.61 per hour that an HHA makes.
How do I get certified to be a Home Health Aide?
To get certified as an HHA, prospective home health aides must complete a training program that leads to certification. In Pennsylvania, training requirements are set out by federal requirements created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Training and certification programs may be offered by community colleges, private schools, and sometimes even home healthcare agencies themselves offering jobs in the field.
What does an HHA learn in the training and certification program?
An HHA trainee will learn a lot of important tasks and skills in the home health aide certification program. At CareBridge Academy, the HHA certification course includes the following core competencies which make up the foundation of HHA certification and training. These core competencies include:
- Health-related tasks
- The client’s rights and confidentiality
- Communication skills and problem-solving skills.
- Personal care tasks and skills (activities of daily living)
- Nutrition/hydration and supporting nutritive needs
- Infection control and preventative measures
- Safety and emergency procedures
- Understanding those with special needs
How long is the HHA certification course?
An HHA training and certification program must meet federal regulations. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that means that a home health aide certification course must be at least 75 total hours in length. 16 of the total hours offered must be hands-on clinical or lab practice. This is completed under the direct supervision of a qualified nurse instructor. CareBridge Academy’s home health aide training program meets these federal regulations.
Can the HHA certification course be completed online?
Yes! An HHA certification training program can be mostly done online. Out of the 75 hours of total instruction of the home health aide certification, 59 of those hours can be done remotely. Of course, this is only the case for certification courses that offer this option. This is an option with the CareBridge Academy program. The required 16 hours of hands-on, supervised instruction previously mentioned must be done in person.
How much does the HHA certification program cost?
The cost of the HHA certification can vary across organizations. CareBridge Academy offers an HHA certification that is very inexpensive at $595 in total for full certification. The program is mostly done remotely online with an instructor led virtual session. The final 16 hours of hands-on training are completed conveniently in central Philadelphia. A home health aide program can also be taken through other approved classes in the Philadelphia region.
Some employers even offer an HHA certification. Employer offered courses do have some downsides, however. Since these programs are provided by the home healthcare agencies directly, they rarely have regularly scheduled classes. Plus, the number of home healthcare companies offering their own home health aide certification courses is limited. One benefit is that these classes may be free to interested parties. However, you will be required to work at the agency for a specified period of time in exchange for the home health aide training. If you fail to meet this agreement, you may be subject to having to pay for the full cost of the class. Next, since the home healthcare company offers their own training and documentation of certification, the certification may be restricted. Most likely, an interested individual will have to reach out to a variety of home healthcare companies to inquire about classes that may be offered. By obtaining a home health aide certification in advance, it gives home health aide candidates a major advantage and affords greater flexibility.
Considering cost and restrictions in HHA certification
CareBridge Academy offers its premier home health aide certification course right in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. CareBridge Academy started its HHA certification program because it found a lack of affordable HHA training and certification options locally. Plus, with the CareBridge Academy certification, classes are offered regularly and are very flexible. These class offerings include day, night, weekend, and part-time HHA certification course offerings.
CareBridge Academy HHA Certification Course
The CareBridge Academy HHA certification course offers the best of both worlds. It’s home health aide training program is inexpensive. Plus, the home health aide certification obtained is very flexible. The obtained HHA certification is not restricted to just one home care agency or facility. The certification is valid throughout Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Additionally, the certification is valid in states that mirror federal regulations that oversee home healthcare companies and home health aide training programs.