A home health aide takes care of people who have disabilities, cognitive impairments, chronic illnesses or age-related problems but want to continue living in their own homes. These professional healthcare providers take care of responsibilities like administering medications, checking vital signs, like temperature and pulse, and changing bandages etc.
Career Outlook for a Home Health Aide
The employment for home health aides and personal care aides is expected to grow by 41% in the years from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average growth for all occupations. This could largely be as a result of the baby-boom generation aging and an increase in elderly population, since elderly clients or people with disabilities increasingly rely on home care. The job prospects in this field are also quite positive. The following table gives an overview of the career statistics for home health aides.
Mean Hourly Wage
Mean Annual Wage
Median Hourly Wage
Median Annual Wage
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2018
The field with the highest levels of employment in this occupation are Home Health Care Services with 440,550 people currently working in the field. Individual and Family Services have 157,460 people employed while Nursing Care Facilities have 19,930 health aides working for them.
New York is the state with the highest employment in this occupation, with 191,820 people, followed by Texas (69,600), Ohio (55,490), New Jersey (41,040) and Pennsylvania (36,940). The highest paying states in terms of annual mean wage for this occupation are Nevada ($35,450), North Dakota ($34,100), California ($33,680), Rhode Island ($32,440) and Massachusetts ($30,830).
What are the Duties of a Home Health Aide?
Home health aides provide basic healthcare facilities to their clients. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these include the following:
- Checking pulse, temperature and respiration rate
- Helping clients in performing the prescribes exercises
- Giving medication
- Changing bandages or dressings
- Giving massages when needed
- Providing skin care
- Assisting with artificial limbs or braces
Home health aides have to be highly compassionate and considerate because the people they are looking after could be irritable or disoriented at times. They work in close proximity over prolonged periods of time with their patients – therefore, patience and persistence is the key.
How to Become a Home Health Aide?
Education Requirements to Become a Home Health Aide: Home health aides typically require only a high school diploma or equivalent, though some positions might require higher education. Those working in certified home health might require some formal training and may also have to pass a standardized test.
Education requirements vary greatly according to the employer. Aides who work with organizations that receive funding, such as Medicare or Medicaid, must complete a formal training course. On-the-job training is provided by more experienced individuals for new recruits.
Training Requirements: Home health aides must be trained in basic tasks such as cooking for clients who have specific food needs, safety techniques and emergency management. Specific training may be needed if the state you are working in requires it. Specialized programs on the job are typically sufficient to train new recruits. This training would include personal hygiene, infection control methods, reading and recording vital signs and basic nutrition.
Licensing and Certification Requirements: In some cases, home health aides might be required to pass a competency exam to become certified. This may be done after a formal training session, though training sessions are not required in most cases. Certification requirements typically vary by state – some states might require only on-the-job training, while other states may require formal training through programs at vocational schools, community colleges, home healthcare agencies or elder care programs. States may also conduct background checks on certain prospective aides. For state-specific requirements, you should get in touch with the relevant medical or health board.
What are Some Similar Occupations for Home Health Aides?
People who want to work in occupations with duties similar to those of home health aides can choose from a variety of career options. They may choose to work in the following capacities:
2018 Median Pay
High School Diploma or Equivalent
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
Postsecondary non-degree award
Postsecondary non-degree award
Nursing Assistants and Orderlies
State-Approved Education Program
Occupational Therapy Assistants
Physical Therapy Assistants and Aides