The HHA course for certification is two-fold. One part involves procedural training to understand many of the basics expected of fully-trained HHAs in duty
performance. The second part involves practical training of the applicant to better understand roles and how to address duties with an actual patient. Both
written examination and a performance review of learned skills are expected in most
jurisdictions prior to HHA certification. As a result, depending on how much education
material is covered, HHA training can take anywhere from a month to a couple of months to
Prior education of HHAs is not a requirement per se, including needing to have a high
school diploma. However, due to the nature of some of the job's duties and functions, an
understanding of how to read and perform basic business math is a prerequisite.
The actual training itself is provided by teachers and trainers who themselves are licensed
nurses, both registered or licensed practical, personnel who have been certified aides, or
HHA program supervisors. Training courses provide education in everything from how to
prepare basic meals to housekeeping and basic medication delivery. Those HHA programs
that employ aides as their own staff and then farm them out to patients may provide
additional training after certification on how to behave and act professionally as an HHA
employee. Finally, even patients have their quirks and will want HHAs to perform tasks in a
certain way so as to retain some personal semblance of a home life the way the patient
prefers. The culmination of the training is then evidenced by a competency exam as
National Certification and Promotion
Unlike state certification which is required to be an aide, an aide can also obtain a national certification voluntarily. While not
required, obtaining such a validation from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) helps aides market
themselves with more organizations and better compensation. The national certification can be obtained by voluntarily submitting
to examination by the NAHC. The applicant must be able to document a minimum of 75 hours undergoing HHA training. Next, the
applicant must also be monitored while performing HHA duties up to at least 17 hours. This monitoring is performed by a registered
nurse rather than just a supervisor or experienced HHA. Finally the applicant must also successfully pass the NAHC examination
on paper to test the aide' knowledge on assistance theory.
For more information on the NAHC program, applicants can contact the organization by mail at:
National Association for Home Care and Hospice
228 Seventh St. SE.,
Washington, DC 20003.
Or by looking up the same information on the Internet at http://www.nahc.org .
However, after the entire certification process, there is very little an HHA can do in terms of promoting further in the medical field as an HHA. Duties
involve a recycling of assignments from patient to patient. Conceivably an experienced aide can become a trainer of new applicants or even a supervisor,
but that's about it. Many home health aides who like the job and want to go further into medicine or medical care of patients instead look to the nursing
field and begin the road toward licensing as a nurse.