Is Home Health Aide Certification Necessary?

Caregivers get to work with patients of all care levels and enjoy working closely with both the patients and their families. But is home health aide certification necessary for employment? The answer really depends on your state laws, and which level of care that your clients need.

There are different levels of HHA jobs.  One is that the client, or their family, only needs companionship or help with light housework.  They may also need transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, or to go shopping.  In these instances, there is no set rule for certifications or additional education.

An HHA will receive one week of on-the-job training and must have a GED or high school diploma to qualify for employment, but additional testing and certification for this specific position is not required, except for basic CPR and First Aid.  This course should be done every two years.  The more experience that you have, the greater your salary as an HHA.

Job Training in CPR

As a home health aide, you will have to take a training course in CPR and other lifesaving techniques.  This training is good to know even if you are not a caregiver.  However, it will help you to save someone’s life in any situation.

In this article, we will talk more about home health aide certifications, and when they would be necessary.  We will also discuss the requirements needed for the different types of jobs in which a HHA can be employed.

On the Job Training in CPR and First Aid

Two certifications that are required to work as an HHA or in any type of caregiver position is CPR and first aid training. Some agencies allow first aid training to be completed online, while others prefer their employees to attend a short two or four-hour training class.

The first aid course will teach employees how to deal with an unresponsive patient, how the respiratory system works, what to do if someone is choking and how to treat patients in shock.

Employees will also learn how to recognize a seizure, stroke or heart attack, basic wound care, and compression, how to treat minor burns and bone fractures and basic bandaging techniques.

To obtain your first aid certification you’ll need to take and pass a short written exam that consists of fourteen questions that test your knowledge regarding medical emergencies and how to safely administer first aid. This type of certification needs to be renewed once every two years.

CPR training also includes the Heimlich maneuver and some basic first aid skills. Employees will meet with a licensed instructor who will demonstrate the proper techniques for chest compressions and breaths.

Most classes will provide attendees with a manual which details the CPR process and includes case studies and safety tips. Once you have completed the practical demonstration portion of CPR, you will be required to take and pass a written exam. If you pass the test you’ll obtain certification, which must be renewed every two years.

Treatment Delegations for Caregiving Staff

Some residents may require complicated wound care treatments that are usually administered by an RN, but if the resident lives in a facility or at home and has a home health aide, the nurse will then delegate these tasks to you. Fortunately, these RNs will train you for specific treatments and ensure that each treatment is correctly performed.

This is common for patients who are on hospice. Residents with certain health conditions such as emphysema or COPD may require oxygen around the clock or staff may need to take their respirations several times a day in order to determine if the resident needs their oxygen mask.

Home health instructors will provide staff with training regarding how to change out oxygen tanks, use oxygen masks and cannulas and how to order more supplies and take inventory. Patients with these types of care needs can be intimidating to new HHAs. Never be afraid to ask for additional training and support from the lead RN and other seasoned caregivers.

Home Health Aide Certification Requirements

Depending on which state that you live in, there may be different certifications that you have to have.  If you work through an employment agency, they will tell you what you need.  It is a good idea to start with an employment agency, because they will guide you through what you will need to know, and what classes and certifications that you may want to take, but aren’t required.

There are other classes that you can take to continue your education, to help to keep your client and yourself safe.  Again, these classes will vary depending on how much care that your client needs.

Assisted Living Facilities

In many cases, when you want to work in an assisted living facility, you have to have certain certifications.  These will differ with most facilities, so check with them before you apply.

In most cases, since there are already RNs and others who are medical professionals in these facilities, you may not have to have any certifications other than the basic CPR and first aid.

When you are hired by a client or their families, however, to provide better and more constant care, they may want someone who has other certifications.  There are many different classes that you can take, and a lot of them can be taken online.

The clients want someone who will know what to do in any situation that may occur, and they will hire the person who has the most knowledge and skills.

In-Home Care

When you work for a client that is still living at home, you will still have to have the CPR certification.  You should check with your state’s requirements, as many states differ.

How Home Health Aide Certification helps your career

The more knowledge and experience that you have, the better of course, but you can start out by taking care of people who only need help with basic things like cooking, cleaning, and laundry.  These people also may need transportation to different places.  In this situation, you don’t really need any other training.

For clients who need more help, such as with medicines, oxygen, bathing, and dementia, you will have to have different certifications.  These classes will be beneficial to you, as you will have a better chance of getting a higher paying job.  Not only that, but you and your client will be much more comfortable with the care that you can give them.

There is no definite answer to your question, ‘Is home health aide certification necessary?’, except for the CPR and first aid certification.  But different courses and higher education classes are available that will increase your knowledge about different situations, and allow you to have better-paying jobs, as you will have the skills necessary to help many more clients.