HHA Classes: Start Training for a Home Health Aide Career

Are you ready to start your HHA classes? 

Whether you're a first-time student of higher education, or you're returning to school to change your career, home health aide training is an excellent way to begin a career in the healthcare field.

In this article, we walk you through the entire process. From learning where to take your home health aide classes, what to expect once your initial training is complete, and everything in between, we want to help jump-start your research so that you can find an HHA class to enroll in!

Where can I take HHA classes?

Classes are available through a variety of schools, agencies, and formats depending on where in the country you live. As you research your program, consider the options that may work best for you.

  • Local home health agencies. Would you prefer a quick program that will get you working in the field quickly? Perhaps you should check with some local home health agencies to see if they offer free training to potential employees.
  • Local state assistant agencies. Is your budget limited? Why not check with your local state assistant agencies to see if your circumstances qualify you for free home health aide classes or low-cost training.
  • Local community colleges. Would you benefit more from a program that is a little longer and more in depth? Maybe it’s a good idea to check out the local community colleges in your area to see if they offer HHA training in an upcoming term or semester.
  • Online. Does your schedule or transportation limit the amount of time you can spend in a classroom? Checking out classes online might be a way to go for you.
home health aide classes

Not everyone learns in the same style, and not everyone has the same resources to attend the same type of home health aide training.

It is important to remember that there are many options available, and you are sure to find the right one for you!

Are there requirements to apply for home health aide classes?

Most types of schooling have some sort of entrance standards to begin training, and HHA training is no different.

Typical requirements to start your classes include:

  • A successful health assessment, which may involve:
  • Clean toxicology screening
  • A negative TB test within the last six months
  • Clean toxicology screening
  • Life time search of expanded criminal background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Ability to read and write at a competent level 
  • While no formal high school diploma or GED is necessary to be a home health aide, some programs may require it.

In addition to typical entrance requirements, agencies that offer free training to potential employees may also look for these things:

  • Reliable work history and references
  • Appropriate ID and proof of eligibility to work in the US
  • Ability to participate in a professional interview, either by phone or in person
  • A flexible schedule

How much do HHA classes cost?

But cost can truly vary, from free to upwards of $1500, and is decided by a number of factors:

Things like where in the country your training is located, who regulates your training facility, and what type of funds your training facility accepts from patients as compensation can all have an affect on the out-of-pocket expense you may owe.

Can I take my HHA classes for free?

Yep.

It is also not uncommon to find home health agencies willing to provide free HHA training and job placement to eligible participants, provided they meet entrance requirements and agree to an employment contract upon their successful completion.

Can I take my HHA classes online?

Yes, HHA training is available online.

And while some people prefer it, the online learning format is not for everyone. As you research your programs, consider:

  • Online academies are unlikely to be local to your area. You may not have immediate answers to your questions that come up during your training.
  • You will be responsible for setting your learning schedule. Many people prefer this, and it’s why they seek out online classes. If you prefer pre-set structure, though, an in-person class may be a better option for you.
  • Since they are geared toward those wishing to have a flexible schedule, HHA classes online may take longer to complete than courses in a traditional classroom.

Be sure you thoroughly review the program curriculum and accreditation before signing up to make sure you are not wasting your time on a program that will not benefit you.

If you do find a home health aide online training program that may be right for you, be sure to check with your state and some desired future employers to be sure your certification will be acceptable. 

Learn more about getting your home health aide certification online.

What will I learn during my HHA classes?

While programs may include information that is specific to your state, all home health aide classes must include the topics outlined below, per the Code of Federal Regulations 484.36:

  • ​"Communication skills
  • Observation, reporting, and documentation of patient status and the care or service furnished
  • Reading and recording temperature, pulse, and respirations 
  • Basic infection control procedure
  • Basic elements of body functioning and changes in the body function that must be reported to an aide's supervisor
  • Maintenance of clean, safe, and healthy environment
  • Recognizing emergencies and knowledge of emergency procedures
  • The physical, emotional, and developmental needs of and ways to work with the populations served by the home health agency, including the need for respect for the patient, his or her privacy and his or her property
  • Appropriate and safe techniques in personal hygiene and grooming that include:
  • Bed bath
  • Sponge, tub, or shower bath
  • Shampoo, sink, tub, or bed
  • Nail and skin care 
  • Oral hygiene 
  • Toileting and elimination
  • Safe transfer techniques and ambulation
  • Normal range of motioning and positioning
  • Adequate nutrition and fluid intake
  • Any other task that the hiring agency may choose to have the home health aide perform"

Who teaches certified home health aide classes?

Every part of your program will require instruction by or under the direct supervision of a registered nurse. This RN will have no less than two years of experience, with at least one year directly providing home health care.

In other words, they’ll have been there and done that! Who better to learn your skills from?

How long are classes?

You can expect a minimum of 75 hours of instruction.

Your home health aide program will include a combination of classroom and supervised practical training.

“Supervised practical training” means you will have the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge you acquired in the classroom in a laboratory or other setting – hands-on training at it’s finest!

While federal law does not specify the amount of time that must be spent in each, it does dictate that at least 16 hours of classroom training be provided prior to a student beginning their minimum 16 hours of supervised practical training.

Looking Ahead: It’s likely minimum instruction requirements will increase to meet the demands of this growing field. In fact, some states are already adjusting their standards to meet anticipated updated expectations.

The Institute of Medicine recently released a report suggesting minimum training be increased from 75 to 120 hours.

Thinking about it in context, one could argue this suggested increase in training hours confirms The Bureau of Labor Statistics prediction the HHA field will grow by 38% between 2014 and 2024. Increased training to meet increasing demands – makes sense, right?

Can I take my home health aide training in Spanish or any other languages?

Yes!

Classes can be taught in a variety of languages, and are likely to be more available in areas with a higher demand.

Keep in mind that all programs and instructors must receive the appropriate state approvals to be valid. This means that programs approved in English cannot simply be taught in another language - the additional language must be approved as well.

Contact your state’s health department to be directed to approved non-English programs in your area.

Will there be a test and the end of my classes?

Once you have completed the required classroom and supervised practical training, the Code of Federal Regulations specifies that a competency evaluation must be performed before you begin working in your field.

This final evaluation will combine a written or oral exam and a demonstration of the home health aide skills you learned during your training.

While exact home health aide testing standards may vary by state and agency, they must all require:

  • An evaluation performed by a registered nurse
  • Evaluation observing the student's performance of:
  • Communication skills
  • Reading and recording temperature, pulse, and respiration
  • Appropriate and safe techniques in personal hygiene and grooming
  • Safe transfer techniques and ambulation
  • Normal range of motion and positioning
  • All other topics in training may be evaluated using written oral examination   
  • Any task evaluated as "unsatisfactory" may not be performed by the student aide without direct supervision of a registered nurse
  • Additional training of the task will be required and additional evaluations will be performed until determined "satisfactory"
  • A home health aide is considered to have successfully passed the competency evaluation once all tasks are marked "satisfactory"

Looking Ahead: It’s never too early to start preparing! Take advantage of home health aide practice test questions that are available and get a head start on your studying!

Are there continuing education requirements to be a home health aide?

Exact requirements can vary by state and agency, but you can expect a minimum of:

  • ​A performance review no less than every 12 months by a qualified home health agency
  • At least 12 hours of in-service training during every 12 month period (as a bonus, this in-service training can be completed while you are providing care to your patient)
  • In-service training to be conducted under the general supervision of a qualified registered nurse
  • The RN will have a minimum of two years nursing experience, with at least one year directly providing home care

In other words, you will be a life long learner!

Wrapping Up

Now that your armed with plenty of information about your HHA classes, you're ready to take the first step toward the career of your dreams!  You can check out some of our additional resources to learn even more about this exciting field!

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