How Long Does Home Health Aide School Take?

Home health aides care for sick and disabled people—usually the elderly—in their homes. Some of the work that they do include checking vital signs, giving medication on schedule and providing the people they care for with companionship and a listening ear. In addition to these tasks, they may also clean the client’s home, cook meals and help the client with the activities of daily living like bathing, going to the toilet and grooming. With the growth of the elderly population, the demand for home health aides is set to burgeon in the next few years. This makes it a great career to go into because of the numerous employment opportunities available.

Actually, there are no strict educational requirements for those who wish to become home health aides. Thus, it is possible to go into this profession with just a high school diploma. Some even hire aides that haven’t finished high school yet. However, if you want to work with certified home health agencies, you will need to obtain the necessary training and pass an exam. Vocational schools and community colleges typically offer home health aide education.

Home health aide training programs vary in length. Some can be completed in as short as two weeks, some in six weeks while others take longer. At the City College of San Francisco, for example, the home health aide program takes 18 weeks to complete if done fulltime while at Meridian at Home in New Jersey, training lasts for three weeks. Lake Tech in Florida also offers home health aide training which lasts for six weeks.

In these classes, you will be taught the responsibilities of a home health aide and how to fulfill them as well as learn lessons on how to give physical care and comfort. In addition to teaching them home care skills, these programs also tackle topics on nutrition, anatomy and communication. Students are also taught how to take vital signs and how to respond to emergencies and other safety procedures. They are also prepared to handle the hazards inherent in the job, such as how to avert or minimize the risk of infection of various diseases. They may also get training on how to prepare meals for patients that have particular dietary requirements because of their medical conditions.

After getting training, many home health aides opt to get certified as it shows that they are competent in performing the responsibilities of this occupation which leads to better chances of employment, particularly in agencies that get reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid. In order to get certified by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), students must obtain 75 hours of training, show competence in specific skills and pass a written test. Do take note that in some states, there are states that don’t require certification for home health aides. They only require that newly-hired aides get the necessary training from their employers on the job.

A career as a home health aide provides interested individuals with the chance to work in the healthcare industry without having to undergo a lengthy training and educational preparation. Although the pay isn’t as high compared to other healthcare jobs, home health aides still earn living wages.

Career Spotlight: Home Health Aide

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