If you’re interested in a career in home healthcare, you should know that a growing number of states now require personal care providers to have an HHA certification. Over the next decade there is going to be an explosion of jobs in the home care sector (as much as 70% according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), meaning that now is the perfect time to get certified.
By earning your home health aide certification you are positioning yourself for more job opportunities and better pay. Plus, you will getting your foot in the door in the nursing field and use your experiences as an HHA to possibly advance to a higher nursing position.
Earning Your HHA Certification – A Step-by-Step Guide
Becoming an HHA is pretty straightforward as far as the steps you have to take.
There are five main steps that you will have to do in order to get the HHA certification. The steps are listed below in the typical order they are achieved.
#1 – Meet the Admission Requirements
Unlike a lot of other healthcare professions, those seeking to start a career as an HHA are not required to have a high school diploma or a GED. However, like almost all healthcare careers you will need to pass both a criminal background check and a drug use test as well as test negative for tuberculosis.
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#2 – Look for School Accreditation
The second step is to find an HHA training program that can fulfill your specific needs. It is highly suggested that you should find a program that has been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). You can find programs at a number of vocational schools and community colleges as well as some great online programs. We have also provided you a list of accredited HHA training classes that you might want to check out.
#3 – Complete the Training
The third step is that you will need to successfully complete the program. It is important that you pay attention and follow directions while in your training program as this will provide you the necessary skills to be successful. Plus, by passing an accredited HHA training program allow you to be eligible to take the HHA certification exam in your state.
#4 – Take the HHA Certification Exam
The fourth step is that you are going to want to study so that you can pass the exam with flying colors. While the type of exam may vary from state to state for the most part they are cover the same material. You may want to find a study guide for your particular state. Once you have passed the certification exam, then you will be able to more on the last step.
#5 – Receive Your Certificate!
The fifth step in getting the home health aide certification is get your certification from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Then you will be able to start for applying for jobs at all of the facilities that you have desire to work at.
Why is it Important to be Certified?
There are several reasons why HHA certification is so important. Let’s look at the top reasons why getting your certification may be one of the most important parts of starting this career.
Potential Higher Salary
A big reason on why home health aide certification is so important is that help you possibly earn a higher salary. Those without the proper certification work as a Personal Care Aide (PCA) and generally make a smaller salary. In some instances the difference between a Home Health Aide and a Personal Care Aide is $3 an hour.
More Employment Opportunities
Another important reason why you should get your HHA certification is because you are going to have some workplace flexibility. This means that you are going to have a better chance of getting a job at exactly where you want to work. You should be able to find the ability to work at better home care agencies, nursing homes or hospices with your certification than without it.
You might not be thinking of it now but trust us when we say that home health aide certification is going to look great on your professional resume. We all know that an education is important so it is going to be one of the main things that a facility is going to be looking for when they are wanting to hire someone. This is because employers are going to love the fact that you were dedicated enough to start and complete all of the necessary education programs in order to receive your Home Health Aide certification.
A lot of people consider becoming an HHA as a stepping stone to an even bigger career in healthcare such as an RN. Nursing schools love students who have some practical experience. You can gain a ton of experience by working as a home health aide which will give you some background in case you want to train for higher positions. Plus, having some experience at all levels and in different healthcare professions may help you stick out from the rest of the pack.
If you have the passion and want a rewarding career in the field of healthcare, becoming a Home Health Aide is a great way to get your start. To really make your new career a success, getting your HHA certification is the way to go.