What are the career paths for Home Health Aides (HHAs)?

career paths for Home Health Aides

What are the career paths for Home Health Aides (HHAs)?

Home health aides are one of the fastest growing jobs in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania. With more education and experience, home health aides can move into many other health care and medical job opportunities. As a result, it’s a great entry level career to choose now and for the future of opportunities that it brings. 

 

WHAT IS A HOME HEALTH AIDE (HHA)?

Home  Health  Aides  (HHAs) mainly care for people in the places where they live. This care allows people to stay right in their own homes. This is the preference of many older people and their families.

  • HHAs help clients with activities like bathing, getting dressed, using the toilet and preparing meals.
  • They may also assist with doing laundry, vacuuming, changing linens, and washing the dishes.
  • Under the supervision of nurses, they check the client’s heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and temperature. They also perform other related medical tasks.

 

WHAT TYPE OF PEOPLE EXCEL AS A HOME HEALTH AIDE (HHA)?

People who like this work and do best in these roles

  • Have patience, care, and compassion about the well-being of others.
  • Like helping people and enjoy working with different types of people.
  • Can deal with sickness and bodily functions.

 

WHAT TYPES OF COMPANIES DO HOME HEALTH AIDES WORK FOR?

An HHA can work in different settings. However, most HHAs work for licensed home care agencies.

  • These organizations coordinate basic health and personal care services for their clients, who are often elderly people or people with disabilities living at home.
  • These agencies assign each HHA to care for one or more clients.

home care agencies

WHAT ARE THE HOURS AND PAY OF A HOME HEALTH AIDE?

  • Home health aides could work either full-time or part- time.
  • People  with  more  experience and people who  work  for larger organizations often work more hours.
  • HHAs may work short shifts, longer shifts, or a combination. Work is mostly in the mornings and evenings. They may work on weekends. HHAs often will have to travel around the Philadelphia area. This is to go from home to home if they have multiple clients. 
  • Pay for HHAs in Philadelphia is at least $10/hour. Many HHAs can make $12 or more. Often, companies offer paid leave and employer-sponsored benefits as well (like health insurance). Some agencies may pay more, especially for those with experience. People with specialty experience, such as with dementia and Alzheimer’s, also can earn more. 

 

HOW CAN I BECOME A HOME HEALTH AIDE?

In order to get a job, you must have a Home Health Aide certificate.

To obtain this certificate, you must complete a Pennsylvania-approved training program, which takes at least 75 hours and includes 16 hours in a home-like setting where you will be observed. You must show that you can carry out the required tasks before becoming certified.

Courses are offered directly by CareBridge Academy, some home care agencies, or other school programs. CareBridge Academy’s program is renowned for being inexpensive, flexible, and comprehensive to prepare HHAs for a promising future in the medical field. Plus, with regularly scheduled classes, the ability to do a majority of the program online, and the chance to get certified in only 2 weeks, it’s a great way to hit the ground running in your new career. 

WHAT ARE THE CAREER PATHS FOR HOME HEALTH AIDES?

The career map shown below is based on the real-life experiences of people who have worked as Home Health Aides (HHAs) in the greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Many HHAs stay in this type of work for years. Some may move from one agency to another or go from part-time to full- time work. Plus, some attain more specialized experience such as working with special needs patients. 

Some work as HHAs while going to school. For people who move into other related careers, the  most typical jobs taken five to ten years after starting work as a Home Health Aide are shown on this career path outline. 

Potential career paths for HHAs

To take a step up in your career, you will often need experience, education and credentials. You can use this career map to help you set short- and long-term goals for advancing your career. Salaries are based on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania averages from salary.com. Educational degree averages are listed (certification, diploma, associate’s degree) but can vary among roles and positions. 

Note: we list three common career paths, but in reality there are nearly endless career paths for HHAs, not all which can be listed here.

health care and medical job opportunities

ULTRASOUND TECHNOLOGIST AND MORE

People in these jobs, also called “Diagnostic Medical Sonographers” or “DMS,” operate special imaging (or “sonography”) equipment on patients. They show images of internal parts of the human body. Many employers require people in these jobs to have official credentials, like a certificate or a degree from an accredited program. 

For those that continue beyond ultrasound tech, career opportunities can continue to build with increasing salary and responsibility. For example, Ultrasound techs could become ultrasound supervisors, head ultrasound techs ($96,000/year average) or laboratory managers ($105,603/year average). Additional education and experience will be required to reach these levels.

REGISTERED NURSES AND MORE

Home Health Aide certificate

Some Home Health Aides (HHAs) become Registered Nurses (RNs). Often, they work as HHAs while they are going to school to become an RN. RNs may have a two-year degree or a Bachelor of Nursing degree. All RNs must pass a state licensing exam. Some RNs visit homes like HHAs, and some will even supervise HHAs.

Many others work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, or community health centers.  Careers in nursing offer more growth and opportunities (plus higher pay) with more education and experience. Nurses might become RN supervisors ($95,310/ year average) or Nurse Practitioners ($110,094/ year average)

MEDICAL ASSISTANTS AND MORE

For people who move on to another related job from an HHA, becoming a Medical Assistant is the most common path. Medical Assistants perform a combination of clinical and administrative functions.

Many work in physicians’ offices or community health centers and are directly supervised by a physician or nurse. Clinical duties may include taking vital signs, drawing blood and preparing patients for examinations. Administrative tasks may include scheduling, maintaining records, and billing and coding for insurance purposes. You’ll need at least a high school diploma to qualify. In Philadelphia, many Medical Assistants have an Associate Degree. Many employers require some type of Medical Assistant certification from employees. Medical Assistants might become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) ($53,050/ year) or Registered Nurses (RNs) ($68,911/ year average). These both require additional education and experience.

 

WHAT JOBS ARE SIMILAR TO HOME HEALTH AIDE? 

Medical Assistant certification

There are other health care jobs that sound and appear to be almost the same as an HHA. How are they the same and how are they different?

PERSONAL CARE AIDE (PCA)

PCAs mainly deliver personal care services to clients, helping them with their daily living activities.Other healthcare professionals will usually attend to their basic health needs. Due to recent changes in how these services are reimbursed or paid for,  PCAs  looking  to  stay  in  this  field will have more opportunities if they upgrade their careers to be Home Health Aides.

CERTIFIED NURSE AIDE (CNA)

CNAs help patients with their basic health and hygiene needs. The tasks are comparable to Home Health Aides, but CNAs usually work in nursing homes, hospitals, or other  long-term   care facilities and in health clinics, as opposed to the patient’s home. CNAs are required to have a CNA certification.

DIRECT SUPPORT PROFESSIONAL (DSP)

DSPs work mainly with people with disabilities, normally individuals with developmental disabilities. Although the duties are similar to HHAs, these clients usually require more intensive  and specialized care beyond what HHAs  typically provide. DSPs mostly work for community agencies that both operate group homes and provide services to people with disabilities  in  their homes and at their places of work. There is no certification required to become a DSP, but there is required on-the-job training. There are also more pre-employment background checks.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

An HHA is a position that checks many boxes in a career that is good not just now but also with a positive future. Home health aides find their roles to be stable, rewarding, satisfying, and never boring. Plus, there’s no college degree required. That means you can start earning a salary right away. With an endless array of career paths, your earnings and pay potential might be limitless.

 

Start your HHA training and be certified in as little as two weeks! Find out all about what you’ll learn in the program and when you’re ready, you can begin your application. Begin your registration today, and take a big step towards a bright future today. 

CareBridge Academy offers a premier home health aide training program right in the heart of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. CareBridge Academy commenced it’s HHA program because it found a lack of affordable, flexible, and quality HHA training options. In addition, it  saw an opportunity to offer a program that was also innovative and of superior educational standards. Plus, they offer high-caliber HHA instruction under the direct supervision of highly experienced nurse instructors that are both patient and caring. 

At only $595, the CareBridge Academy HHA program offers the best of both worlds: a reasonable training cost which offers its graduates a certification that is highly flexible not restricted to just one home healthcare agency or one healthcare setting. Find out more about CareBridge Academy and our other course offerings. Contact us today to learn more!