It’s exciting to think about starting your new career, and you’re ready to get your HHA certification in Florida!
With more than 25,560 people employed as HHAs in the state, and those employees earning an average salary of $23,410, you would find yourself in good company.
But where do you start?
Since Florida operates a little differently than the rest of the country regarding training, employment, and regulation of home health aides, it’s best to review all of the important information up front to determine the option that’s right for you.
Continue reading below to find out how to obtain your home health aide certification in Florida.
What are the basic entrance requirements for enrolling in a training program to receive an HHA certification in Florida?
Every program will outline the specifics they require potential students to meet prior to enrollment, and those may vary depending on where you receive your training, but there are basic things you can expect to be asked of you as you research HHA training in your area.
To enroll in HHA classes in Florida, you can expect they’ll require you:
Some programs may require potential students provide proof of high school diploma or GED, or if they are unable to provide those, to successfully complete an entrance exam before enrolling. And because Florida requires CPR certification that may or may not be included in HHA training, some programs may require you to provide proof of your certification.
What are the home health aide training requirements in Florida?
It depends on where or who you plan to be employed by!
Home health aides in Florida have the option to work as an employee for various types of home health agencies, or may be independent contractors working for themselves with the assistance of a nurse registry.
There are several important differences to consider when choosing your career path, and you will want to be sure you fully understand the options available to you.
1. Look for employment at a licensed-only home health aide agency?
If you plan to be employed by a licensed-only home health agency:
2. Look for employment at an agency that is eligible to receive Medicare and/or Medicaid funds?
If you plan to work for a home health agency that receives Medicare or Medicaid funds:
3. Look to gain employment with the assistance of a nurse registry?
If you plan to gain employment through a nurse registry:
It is important to note that these are the minimum requirements for the state, and any agency or employer may choose to require more training at their discretion.
What’s the difference between a home health agency and a nurse registry?
They hire and employ skilled and unskilled service providers directly, and they may or may not be eligible to receive Medicare and/or Medicaid funds on behalf of their patients.
Since those who find employment through a nurse registry are not direct employees of a larger company, there is minimal training to begin a career this way.
Both agencies and registries are regulated by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), though home health aides themselves are not.
Where can I get home health aide training in Florida?
HHA training in Florida is available through several sources:
Can I get free home health aide training in Florida?
Per the state’s regulations, any home health agency that provides home health aide training but is not considered an “approved non-public postsecondary career school” cannot charge a fee to any individual who undergoes the training.
That means training is provided at no charge to accepted applicants!
But there’s a catch:
Can I get my HHA certification online in Florida?
You can! In fact, we found one online school that is based in Florida:
Southern Technical Institute offers a home health aide training course for $199 that is an excellent option for those who reside in the state and wish to pursue the program at their own pace.
This training is unique because, once all portions of your program have been successfully completed online, you will be required to spend a full day at one of the physical campus locations throughout the state. Your in-person attendance will allow you to practice hands-on clinical skills and see instructor demonstrations.
Since Florida does not require a final state administered exam to begin working as a home health aide, Southern Technical Institute offers two paths to completing the program:
Prior to enrolling, you should consult with home health agencies in your area to ensure the online training and certification you receive through programs like these meet their hiring requirements.
It is also important that you have a plan to meet the hands-on training requirements, if applicable, and will be able to meet the state-specific requirements for HIV/AIDS training and CPR certification.
What skills will I learn in class?
When training for your HHA certification in Florida, you can expect course curriculum to vary slightly depending on the type of training you pursue (40 hours, 75 hours, or longer) and where you choose to pursue it.
In addition to the topics required by 42 CFR 484.36(b), it is likely you will spend time reviewing an introduction to the healthcare field, including:
Remember that home health aide training of 75 hours or more will include sections where you are required to demonstrate the skills and knowledge you learn in the classroom in a “real-world” setting.
This means you will find yourself learning how to understand and work with various client populations while participating in a patient-care setting - either simulated in a lab, or in actual home-care situations under appropriate supervision.
What is the home health aide exam in Florida like?
Since the state of Florida does not license or certify home health aides, there is no state-administered test for those interested in becoming an HHA. There are, however, two different home health aide exams in Florida.
Number one - The AHCA home health aide test is designed for those interested in pursuing work through a licensed-only home health agency, and tests the knowledge and skills learned during 40 hour training courses.
It is important to understand that the AHCA home health aide test does not meet federal requirements, and is insufficient to gain employment at a home health agency that receives federal funds.
Number two - Those who plan to work for home health agencies that receive funds for patients from Medicare or Medicaid have different testing standards.
These potential HHAs must complete a competency evaluation based on information learned during 75 hour or more training courses, and their testing must strictly follow guidelines outlined in the federal regulation.
The most notable difference is that this testing includes an observation of the HHA as they perform tasks with a patient, and is not limited to a written exam.
Federal regulations state that:
Regardless of the type of home health aide exam in Florida you take, the exam will be administered by your training program. Be sure to inquire with the home health aide training programs you are interested in up front regarding the home health aide exam they offer.
What if I received my HHA certification in a state other than Florida?
To work as a home health aide in Florida, simply provide documentation of your training, coursework, and/or certification or licensure to the agency or nurse registry you intend to work for.
Are there any continuing education requirements for home health aides in Florida?
All home health aides employed by any home health agency or independently contracted through a nurse registry must:
In addition, home health aides employed by a home health agency eligible to receive Medicare or Medicaid funding must comply with federal regulations, which include:
What if I lose my home health aide certificate?
Keeping track of your documentation is important, since being able to show proof of your training is a hiring requirement for any agency or nurse registry.
And because the state of Florida does not maintain a central registry for home health aides, you would need to contact your training facility directly to receive a copy of your certificate.
Home Health Aide in Florida Overview
Where do you get your work?
Independent Contractor - Nurse Registry.
Employee - Home Health Agency, either licensed-only or one that is eligible to receive Medicare/Medicaid funds.
Minimum training required?
Independent Contractor - 40 hours
Employee - Licensed-only agencies require 40 hours or successful completion of the AHCA exam, all other agencies require 75 hours and/or successful completion of a competency exam.
Background screening required?
Independent Contractor - Level 2
Employee - Level 2
Who do you report to?
Independent Contractor - Directly to the patient.
Employee - Directly to supervising RN or other senior administrators at the agency.
Where does your paycheck come from?
Independent Contractor - Paid directly by the patient through either private insurance or other means available to the patient.
Employee - Paychecks are issued by the agency on a predetermined schedule, with patient funding from private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or other means available to the patient.
Who takes care of the insurance?
Independent Contractor - Both on-the-job and personal health/dental/vision insurance are the responsibility of the home health aide.
Employee - Agencies often provide benefits like insurance and workman’s compensation to their employees.
Who takes care of the continuing education?
Independent Contractor - The home health aide is responsible for finding, completing, and maintaining continuing education requirements.
Employee - Agencies often provide or facilitate continuing education requirements, and usually keep detailed records of completed requirements.
Who do I contact if I have questions regarding HHA training or employment?
If your question cannot be answered by asking your training facility or potential employer directly, you can contact the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA):
What if I have my CNA certificate in Florida?
Home health agencies may employ certified nursing assistants as home health aides.
Since CNAs are regulated by a different agency than HHAs, you can contact the Florida Board of Nursing, Council on Certified Nursing Assistants directly for questions regarding certification and training.
Click here to submit an online inquiry directly to the Board.
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