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Home Health Aide

Career Overview

Home health aides provide support for ill or elderly people who live at home and need assistance in their daily living tasks. They administer daily medication under the direction of a doctor or nurse. They help with dressing, bathing and grooming.

They may assist in a daily exercise program, help with prosthetics, or assist in simply getting out of bed and into a bathroom or a chair. Home health aides take vital signs from their patients and keep a daily log of activities.

Education

There are no formal educational requirements for home health aides. Many are trained on the job by nurses, LVNs, or other medical personnel. Federal law requires home health aides to pass a competency test covering a wide range of areas if they are working with Medicare recipients.

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice offers voluntary certification for home health aides. Some States also require aides to be licensed. For these reasons many people entering the field take courses online or at a community college that will prepare them for the competency test and any licensure exams that are required.

Current Employment

In 2007 there were 787,000 home health aides working in this country, according to the Department of Labor. Home health aides were mainly employed by home health care agencies, social service agencies and nursing and residential care facilities.

Job Outlook

Employment for home health aides is growing at an extremely rapid pace. The burgeoning aging population and growth of nursing homes will require hundreds of thousands of additional aides over the next decade.

Salary Range

Lowest 10%  $7.41  $15,410
Median Salary  $9.62  $20.10
Highest 10%  $13.47  $28.10

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