Home Health Care Aides
Approximately 831,800 home health aides are employed in the United States. The primary employers of home health care aides are local social service agencies that provide home care services. Such agencies often have training programs for prospective employees. Home health care aides might also find employment with hospitals that operate their own community outreach programs. Most hospitals, however, hire home health care aides through agencies.
Some social service agencies enlist the aid of volunteers. By contacting agencies and inquiring about such openings, aspiring home care aides can get an introduction to the type of work this profession requires. Also, many agencies or nursing care facilities offer free training to prospective employees.
Exploring the Internet for agencies that provide health care to the aged and disabled or family service organizations can provide a list of employment prospects. Nursing homes, public and private health care facilities, and local chapters of the Red Cross and United Way are likely to hire entry-level employees. The National Association for Home Care and Hospice can supply information on reputable agencies and departments that employ home care aides. It also offers a job board at https://careers.nahc.org.
As home health care aides develop their skills and deepen their experience, they may advance to management or supervisory positions. Those who find greater enjoyment working with clients may branch into more specialized care and pursue additional training. Additional experience and education often bring higher pay and increased responsibility.
Aides who wish to work in a clinic or hospital setting may return to school to complete a nursing degree. Other related occupations include social worker, physical or occupational therapist, and dietitian. Along with a desire for advancement, however, must come the willingness to meet additional education and experience requirements.
Tips for Entry
Volunteer with a community home health care agency or program to become familiar with the responsibilities and patient interactions of a home health aide.
Try to accompany a home health care aide on a visit to a patient and find out what the job involves.
Learn basic medical procedures, such as taking blood pressure and temperatures, and some home maintenance methods, such as cooking healthy meals or sanitizing a bathroom.