Do Pennsylvania Caregivers Need To Be Certified?

Pennsylvania Caregivers

Do Pennsylvania Caregivers Need To Be Certified?

ffAre you interested in being a caregiver in Pennsylvania? Learn about caregiver responsibilities. Plus, find out if caregiver certification such as a Home Health Aide or Certified Nurse Aide is a requirement in Pennsylvania. We discuss how certification can expand one’s job responsibilities and enhance their careers. Finally, we talk about where caregivers can work in and around Philadelphia.


Are you interested in a job as a caregiver and wondering if you need a license or certification? There are different licenses that cover many types of certifications. The job requirements for certification will depend on the care that a particular caregiver provides. Certification requirements also will vary from one state to another. For this article, we focus on the caregiver training requirements for Pennsylvania state. Caregivers who assist patients with day to day tasks such as companionship, cooking, and  personal care, may not necessarily need to be licensed. This is the case in Pennsylvania. Certification is often required for CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants), HHAs (Home Health Aides), and other professionals that provide direct care plus some basic medical care. In Pennsylvania, certification is required in these roles.

What does a caregiver do?

certified caregivers and home care agency training

Caregivers, also known in this case as Personal Care Aides or Personal Care Assistants, assist the elderly, people with disabilities, or those recovering from injury or illness with daily living activities. Caregivers can also refer to those that provide some medical care but for these purposes we focus solely on Personal Care Aides or homemaker care. This care is usually provided at the person’s home or in a care facility.

A caregiver’s job responsibilities may include housekeeping (such as making beds, doing laundry, washing dishes) and preparing meals. They can provide assistance at non-residential care facilities as well. They might advise families, the elderly, convalescents, and persons with disabilities regarding such things as cleanliness, nutrition, or household activities.

What skills are necessary to be a successful caregiver?

There are some traits that are particularly important for caregivers to have in order to excel in their role. Becoming an effective caregiver requires lots of patience and experience. For example, a great caregiver will be experienced in controlling the spread of infection. They can deal with the occasional challenging behaviors that can come from a patient feeling sick, tired, or confused. Plus, they can also care for a individuals with different conditions and ailments. These are true whether or not a caregiver has certification or licensure. Some of these skills may come easily. Although, other skills for success can be gained through knowledge and experience. Caregivers will get better with training and hands-on experience over time. In general, some of the skills that make a caregiver successful include, but are not limited to:

  • Time management
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Interpersonal skills or people skills
  • Effective observation skills
  • Flexibility
  • Patience
  • Initiative
  • Organization
  • Accepting help from others
  • Cleanliness
  • Initiative
  • Stamina and strength


Professional helpful caregiver at client’s home. Health visitor and a senior man during home visit. Young caregiver in uniform and senior man drinking tea.


Does a caregiver need to be certified?

Home Health Aides

When discussing caregiver certification, this generally refers to certification as either a Home Health Aide or a Certified Nurse Aide (also known as a Certified Nursing Assistant). HHAs and CNAs do need to attain a certification to work in those specific roles and job functions.

Certified Nurse Aides/Home Health Aides and Caregivers: How do they compare?

Caregivers versus Home Health Aides

The work requirements for Home Health Aides vary by state. In Pennsylvania, Home Health Aides are those that meet the requirements under regulations set forth by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as listed here.

The program indicates the number of hours necessary and required topics to be trained on. Under federal regulations, the program must include, at a minimum, 75 hours of training with 16 of those hours as clinical (hand-on) training. 

In many training programs, especially those offered by employers, this means hours will be completed working with real patients. It can also be done in a mock laboratory setting. This may be a training unit or space that resembles the healthcare and home setting that caregivers may work in. The Chosen Family Home Care Home Health Aide training program is done in a classroom and clinical setting.

A caregiver (or Personal Care Aide/Homemaker) is an uncertified role, as opposed to a Home Health Aide. The certification offers enhanced job responsibilities and scope of work. However, the job duties of home health aides and personal caregivers often overlap significantly. Both roles work in the client’s home or residence and provide assistance with daily tasks.

Home health aides are qualified and trained to offer basic health services. Support might include assisting the client to perform rehabilitation exercises, aiding  them to take prescribed medication, or giving pain relief services, like a massage. A home health aide could also be trained and certified to operate or maintain medical equipment such as oxygen. A personal caregiver is not generally allowed to perform such medical tasks or dispense medication.

Caregivers compared to Certified Nurse Aide/Certified Nursing Assistant

A CNA, or Certified Nurse Aide, is a licensed role. A Home Health Aide is certified. The licensure offers enhanced job responsibilities in comparison to a caregiver or Personal Care Aide. Plus, CNAs have enhanced job duties as compared to HHAs too. One of the core differences between a CNA and an HHA or caregiver is the setting in which they are able to work. For starters, a CNA can work in a variety of healthcare setting. These include long term care facilities and hospitals. Generally speaking, a CNA working in a home setting will have similar functions as an HHA. They mostly just have the ability to work in a larger variety of medical settings.

CNA licensing and certification is a bit different than that of a Home Health Aide. It is longer in duration in Pennsylvania. For example, the Pennsylvania Department of Education suggests a 120 hour CNA course. The recommended curriculum includes 65 hours of classroom and laboratory training. An additional 55 hours are spent in training in a clinical environment. This setting is a nursing home or long term care facility. The state of Pennsylvania requires a minimum number of clinical hours to be completed by CNAs in training.

Why should I be a certified Home Health Aide or Certified Nurse Aide instead of working as a caregiver?

An interested party could be a caregiver (or personal care aide, homemaker, etc.) instead of a Home Health Aide or Certified Nurse Aide. An agency that accepts Medicare is required to have certified Home Health Aides. Also, since Certified Nurse Aides exceed the training requirements of HHAs, CNAs are acceptable for home care and home health agencies too.

Accordingly, many places that hire HHAs or CNAs can only hire certified caregivers. Chosen Family Home Care is not required to hire these certified positions. We gladly accept individuals at a variety of experience levels. This includes family caregivers providing support for loved ones.

Overall, for future career options, it is recommended that any individual be certified as an HHA or a CNA if they want to maximize their job opportunities. Even if you don’t think you need certification now, that certification could open up opportunities down the road. Luckily, Chosen Family Home Care offers a home health aide certification to its employees free of charge after a period of time.

Lastly, because of the additional job duties they can perform, Home Health Aides may find higher starting salaries than caregivers or Personal Care Aides. Certified Nurse Aides definitely have higher overall median salaries than caregivers.


CNA and HHA training program differences

Both training as a CNA and HHA is affordable (or free). Generally, the CNA program is more expensive than the HHA program for those that pay for it. This is because to the program is longer and more comprehensive. This is aso why it offers more potential healthcare settings one can work in. That being said, long term care facilities must reimburse CNAs for the cost of the program under certain conditions. This can be a benefit for those considering being a CNA. It means they will end up getting the program free of charge. Keep in mind though that the CNA will still need to pay for the program up front. Only after they gain employment at a long term care facility and then work for a specified period of time can they get full training reimbursement. Some HHAs are able to get their employers to sponsor their program to be certified, such as Chosen Family Home Care caregivers.

Last but not least, some individuals might qualify for free vocational training under some state programs.

Are you required to have a high school diploma or GED to be a caregiver, HHA, or CNA?

personal care aide training and caregiver jobs

There is no formal education requirement for caregivers, HHAs, or CNAs. This is true for both most training programs and most employers. However, some home healthcare and hospice agencies may individually require a high school diploma for those working at their company.

Overall, it is often advantageous for caregivers to have a diploma or GED but it is not a fixed requirement.

Where can I get certified as a home health aide or a nursing assistant?

home healthcare agencies and home health aide training

To get certified as a home health aide (HHA) or certified nurse aide (CNA), interested individuals must complete a training course. These programs could be offered by community colleges, private schools or employers (home healthcare agencies) offering jobs in the field.

Chosen Family Home Care’s Home Health Aide program, for example, offers HHA training for prospective home health aides in the greater Philadelphia area. This is done for free as a perk to employees and caregivers alike as training space and time is available. If you are interested to learn more, reach out to us today.

Also, you can find the list of Pennsylvania state providers of Certified Nurse Aide training in this directory.

I want to ensure stability in my career and future, especially in these difficult times. What is the job outlook for caregivers?

Overall, being a caregiver makes an excellent career choice. This is true whether you are certified or not. Consider these statistics that make a career as a direct care worker an excellent one:

  • Amazing job growth.  The growth in jobs in the home health field is huge. Caregivers and related roles are some of the fastest growing careers in all of America over the next ten years. To demonstrate, these jobs are projected to grow more than SEVEN times faster than all occupations through 2028, according to the BLS.
  • This leads to professional growth opportunities as well as job security. Salary is another benefit. To start, there are minimal training requirements and experience is not needed. Also, the training itself can be inexpensive or free. As mentioned, you can get on the job training at Chosen Family Home Care, regardless of your background. The starting salary compared to the education and training that are necessary is favorable to caregivers. Chosen Family Home Care works to be the highest paying home health company in Philadelphia, with caregivers averaging $13.75 per hour.
  • Whether being a caregiver or a home health aide, you’ll find that neither has extensive training requirements. However, training is very important. That’s why Chosen Family Home Care offers ongoing training and development in support of caregiver success. At the same time, they work with employees to make sure the training is both accessible and flexible.
  • Gain experience in the medical field. By starting your healthcare career as a caregiver, you can chart a path to a promising future. All direct care workers, including caregivers and HHA, get to work alongside different healthcare roles and specialties. Many caregivers will take advantage of advanced career and educational opportunities. A large number in this role will eventually become nurses, therapists, or even doctors. Many will test the waters as a caregiver or HHA and then advance to be a CNA or Medical Assistant too. Apart from that, when a caregiver or home health aide gains experience, they can usually work in other healthcare settings outside of the patient’s home. Examples include residential habilitation facilities or in adult and individual services. Certified Nurse Aides may have that privilege to work in a variety of healthcare settings right away. Regardless, all of these roles find opportunities that increase as experience is gained.


certified caregivers and hhas at chosen family home care

Caregivers are incredibly important


All caregivers, whether personal care aides, homemakers, HHAs, or CNAS, are very crucial positions in our society. Caregivers help maintain the health and well-being of the elderly, ill, and the disabled.  This role can offer significant variety and experience. You could be offering personal care support, and then grocery shopping or helping to pay bills for clients.  

Other medical workers are often located in a healthcare facility. Caregivers, on the other hand, enter and work in the client’s home. These direct care workers have access to the most intimate parts of the client’s life. Sometimes, they get minimal supervision or direct support in their caregiving positions. For those working at Chosen Family Home Care, we work to make sure that all of our caregivers have the support, training, and development in their positions. This is true regardless of their experience or certification.

Find out more about what it’s like to work at Chosen Family Home Care. Plus, learn about the support and care we offer to our own caregivers, including how one can attain their home health aide certification through the company.

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