African-American Woman holding a baby – saying, We can do it, caregivers are part of America’s infrastructure.

Do you enjoy caring for others? Did you know that you can get paid to do so?

Being a home health aide (HHA) is about providing care to allow others to maintain their dignity and independence.

How Does An HHA Improve The Lives Of Others?

HHAs provide:

  • Personal care (bathing, dressing, toileting)

  • Light housework (cooking, washing dishes, dusting)

  • Errands (grocery shopping, going to doctor’s appointments)

  • Companionship to allow their clients to remain at home rather than live in a facility.

This helps clients remain as independent as possible based on their condition.

Older woman, Betty White dancing in her chair and raising her hands in excitement.

A Day In The Life Of An HHA

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There's no such thing as a typical day for an HHA! Your duties depend on your client’s needs and the tasks written by the nurse in the client’s care plan. You're part of a team that includes:

  • The client and their family

  • A nurse

  • A social worker

  • The client's doctors

  • Other specialists such as physical therapists

HHAs responsibilities:

1.       Observing and reporting changes in the client's condition. (Medication reactions, appetite, or illness).

2.       Helping clients with tasks. Personal care (bathing, dressing, toileting); housekeeping (making the bed, vacuuming, watering plants); or errands (grocery shopping or scheduling appointments).

3.       Helping clients remain engaged in life. Encouraging clients to socialize, attend events, or participate in hobbies.

Depending on your state's rules, you may give medication reminders, help clients recovering from injuries with their exercises or take temperatures.

Quiz

Which of these would you do as an HHA?

What Kind Of Experience Do I Need?

African-American male outside clapping his hands excitedly saying Most HHAs have a high school diploma or GED.  HHA training covers:

  • Body mechanics (how the body moves, how to properly move clients)

  • Basic nutrition and how to cook for people with special diets

  • Infection control (handwashing, cleaning techniques)

Some states require certification, including a test, background check or specialized training on:

  • Basic first aid

  • CPR

Your state’s board of health lists the requirements for becoming an HHA. You can find your state's board of health website from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) website, which has links to each state’s board of health.

For local training programs, Google “home health aide training” and the name of your state.

Where Can I Find Work As An HHA?

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  • Private (working directly for the client)

  • Home care agencies

There are similar jobs known as certified nursing assistants (CNAs) or personal care assistants (PCAs) who might also work in facilities such as nursing homes, hospices, assisted living, or continuing care retirement communities.

How Much Can I Make?

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🇺🇸 United States

$27,080 per year or $13.02 per hour .

🇨🇦 Canada

$20.88 Canadian per hour in Canada .

You’ll Love Being A HHA If:

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You like helping people. You're sensitive to others' needs and help clients have a more fulfilling life.

You're detail oriented. There are many rules to follow when helping clients. You also have to carefully follow instructions and report your observations.

You have great people skills. You need to be able to communicate well with your client, their family, the care team, and others involved in your client’s life. Being dependable and trustworthy also helps.

You have physical stamina (long lasting strength).  You may be on your feet often or have tasks such as lifting or turning clients.

Think About Another Career Path If:

Candy conversation heart that says no way.

You have a hard time providing personal care. You should be comfortable bathing and dressing others and dealing with bodily functions such as urine.

Patience isn’t your strong suit.  Clients are often in pain, unaware of their actions or struggling in other ways. They may take their feelings out on their HHA.

Time management is hard for you.  Your duties include finishing tasks, getting clients to appointments, and arriving to work on time.

You don’t like following instructions. You need to be able to follow the instructions given for client care to ensure your client’s safety and your own.

Pick The Future HHA

Flaticon Icon April

  • Has difficulty following instructions exactly.

  • Has great stamina.

Flaticon Icon Darryl

  • Doesn't like dealing with bodily functions.

  • Is shy when meeting new people.

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Michelle

  • Is very patient and a great communicator.

  • Really likes details and easily deals with changes to routine.

Quiz

Who sounds like the best fit as an HHA?

Take Action

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If a career as an HHA sounds like the right one for you:

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This Byte has been authored by

CM

Cassandra Martin-Himmons

Curriculum Developer