08 Dec Free Home Health Aide Caregiver Training in Philadelphia, PA
Did you know that some employers in the state of Pennsylvania will cover the cost of your Home Health Aide certification course? We give you a step by step guide through how you can get free Home Health Aide training in the state of Pennsylvania. Plus, we share other HHA and caregiver resources and topics both in Pennsylvania as well as locally to Philadelphia.
Home health aides, referred to as HHAs, offer support and medical assistance to seniors, as well as people that are ill or have disabilities. This includes for children as well. Generally, this occurs in a residential setting such as the patient’s home or that of a family loved one. HHAs may work for a home health or home care agency. Some also might work directly for a patient’s family.
To be able to work as a home health aide, a formal training and certification program is a requirement in the state of Pennsylvania. These caregiver and direct care worker roles are crucial positions and they can turn into a great career in the medical field. In this article, we discuss the ways that workers can get home health aide training either for free or after employer reimbursement.
It’s important to consider the career itself working as a home health aide. Therefore, we outline how much home health aides make per hour locally to the city of Philadelphia, across Pennsylvania, and in the United States as a whole. Finally, discuss frequently asked questions about being an HHA. This includes what an HHA does, education requirements, the work environment, and how home health aides may differ from caregivers or personal care aides.
What are the job responsibilities of a home health aide?
A home health aide may perform many of the tasks listed:
- Record and monitor patient information
- Complete light housekeeping duties such as meal preparation, cooking, dishes, or laundry
- Aide with healthcare tasks like checking vital signs or medication administration
- Helping out with personal care or activities of daily living; this might include bathing, grooming and getting dressed, among others
- Accompany the client to healthcare appointments and assist with other errands; manage and coordinate the client’s schedule
- Provide emotional, mental, and social support to client; includes companionship and activity promotion
Where does an HHA work?
An HHA will often directly work in the client’s home or in another residential setting. Generally, this is accomplished through an agency model, including under the employment of a home health or home care agency. Although, home health aides may be found in other medical settings as well. For example, sometimes HHAs work in adult day care organizations, group homes, day programs, or other residential living or rehabilitative settings.
Many organizations will prioritize hiring certified home health aides over caregivers or personal care aides that do not have a certification. In some cases, they come with higher pay. For example, organizations that hire personal care aides, direct support professionals, or resident aides will often prefer to hire HHAs. This is because the training and certification received by home health aides is crucial to many of the roles and is a great way to support the work that they do.
With some Pennsylvania healthcare employers like home care agencies, a pay differential of at least 4 percent is given to certified home health aides over those that do not have formal certification. This is because of the varying levels of complexity of different individuals that the respective organizations work with. For example, a home health aide is better equipped to deal with clients that have special needs or more intensive medical care requirements. This is because of to their background and added experience with specialized healthcare training. An HHA isn’t just more likely to have higher pay. They are also more likely to get hired in the first place. In particular, this is especially true when the candidate has no prior experience as a direct care worker or caregiver.
Why do I want to be an Home Health Aide?
An HHA can be a stepping stone into the medical field, making it a great career choice.
The benefits of starting, changing, or continuing a career as a caregiver or home health aide include the following:
- Extraordinary job growth. The growth in caregiver and home health aide careers is incredible. HHAs are one of the fastest growing jobs across America over the next ten years. To sum it up, the number of home health aide positions is estimated to grow more than SEVEN times faster than all occupations through 2028, according to the BLS.
- Caregivers and certified HHAs can make a good starting salary in relation to the minimal training and time investment that is required. A home health aide course can be completed in as little as two weeks. Plus, no experience is necessary to begin with. HHA training is quick and inexpensive as well. As you’ll see, it can even be free as we discuss later on. The starting pay for an HHA compared to the training and experience needed is quite favorable. Plus, an HHA is often just the beginning of a long and successful career in healthcare. It doesn’t even consider the large salary and pay increases one might gain with more education and experience.
- Accelerated training courses. As we mentioned, some courses can get you HHA certified in as little as two weeks. This is true whether it is done formally at a school or through an employer like a home care agency. Many schools regularly offer classes to fit a variety of schedules. Finally, they help get you into a paying job quickly. Support for job placement and connecting HHAs to area employers in a variety of medial settings is a major advantage.
- Help break into the medical field. Working as a home health aide is one of the fastest ways to start gaining medical field experience. In a healthcare career such as this one, you can find a ladder to a brighter future. As part of the medical team, HHAs often working with nurses and therapists. They usually get to work and collaborate with various healthcare roles and specialties as well.
- A great potential career path opportunity. Many caregivers take their HHA experience and use it to give them an added advantage for educational opportunities or other healthcare jobs. Some caregivers eventually become nurses, doctors, or physical therapists, among others. Also, HHAs can work outside of the residential setting too. Aides often work in residential habilitation, day programs, or adult and individual services as well as others. Some caregivers may even start in these roles right after getting their HHA certification.
Are there educational requirements to be an HHA caregiver?
There is no formal education requirement for candidates to have a high school diploma or GED to be hired as an HHA. Also, candidates don’t need a diploma in order to be accepted into an HHA course. Because of this, candidates can train to be home health aide certified while still in high school, for example.
Certain employers may require their caregivers or home health aides to be at least 18 years old. Plus, others may require a GED or high school diploma. However, these are unique to each organization and will vary. Chosen Family Home Care does not have these requirements in place for our caregivers and home health aides.
What does an HHA certification look like?
The HHA certification or certificate of completion may vary based on the home care agency or school furnishing the certificate. Here is one example of how a certificate of completion might look for certifying individuals.
How much does a home health aide course cost?
We will discuss how the HHA can get their training for free. This can be accomplished with up front program payment so the student pays nothing out of pocket. It also might include the student paying for the full cost of the program, but then getting the cost of the program reimbursed once they are hired in a home health aide role. Some home care agencies, like Chosen Family Home Care, will offer the program for free for qualifying caregivers.
The regular cost of the course will usually run between $450 and $650 for those that pay for it. This cost should include all associated expenses of the program; things like tuition, textbooks, lab fees, or additional training materials. Program graduates can then achieve an HHA certificate of completion at that point. The certificate is not restricted to just one home healthcare agency or one healthcare setting.
Are there any additional requirements of an HHA for training or employment?
An HHA will need to meet several additional requirements in order to be accepted into a home health aide course or to get employed in the healthcare settings that they work in. In Pennsylvania, that means an HHA needs:
- Evidence that they’ve had a negative 2-Step Tuberculosis (TB) test. This is done by going to a medical facility and having a small amount of tuberculin units injected between the layers of skin. It’s accomplished at a wide variety of facilities as it is an extremely common and routine test, particularly for healthcare workers. Within 48-72 hours, the person will return for a skin evaluation. Their skin is then analyzed for an immune response. In the second step process, the individual will then return a total of 7 to 21 days after the initial test to get their skin read for an immune response. The tests must both be negative. Alternatively, a negative reading via chest x-ray within the previous 5 years is also acceptable for evidence of being negative of tuberculosis.
- Completed national background check, ePatch, and Childline. The background check is to make sure that the individual is free of prohibited offenses that are listed here. Conviction of an offense listed here would prevent someone from being able to work as a caregiver or home health aide in the medical field.
Some healthcare settings may have their own additional requirements or prerequisites for employment. These will vary based on the organization, but some may include any of the following:
- Previous caregiver experience
- A valid driver’s license, insurance, and/or care
- CPR/ First Aid certification
- A high school diploma/GED
Can The HHA Certification Course Be Done Online?
Yes, for the most part. For example, the majority of the course (59 out of 75 hours) are under classroom instruction. 16 hours of the course must be done under the supervision and instruction of the nurse, as per federal regulations. Therefore, an organization (school or home care agency) can offer the majority of the course online or via distance learning, if they want to. However, the 16 hours must be done in person. This can be completed while providing care to a client or in a mock residential training facility.
Getting home health aide certification courses for free near me in Philadelphia
There are a few ways that a caregiver could get home health aide certification for free. We sum up three main ways that this can be accomplished.
- An employer agrees to reimburse the cost of the training when an HHA gets hired
- An employer offers the home health aide certification at the company. Please note, basic caregiver training or personal care aide training is not the same as home health aide training which is more intensive. Chosen Family Home Care offers qualifying caregivers this certification for free.
- An employer pays for the cost of your certification if you bring a client to the organization. This could include family caregivers that provide loved ones caregiving support and are on Medicaid waiver or those on VA benefits. It could also include caregivers that are currently working with a client and want to bring their client to a new agency. Chosen Family Home Care hires family caregivers and those that provide care to loved ones. Plus, we offer caregiver training, which includes helping you provide care for a loved one and some can even get their HHA course for free.
Employer agreed reimbursement
In this scenario, the caregiver will get hired by the home healthcare agency. The home healthcare agency will sign an agreement with the prospective HHA that says that if they complete the HHA course, they will reimburse them for the cost that the student paid for the course. This is similar to how Certified Nurse Aides and CNAs arrange for free training.
For example, home care agencies in this arrangement generally will pay for half the training cost after a set number of hours worked. Then, they will pay the additional half of the cost after additional time worked. There is one major difference between HHA and CNA reimbursement. That is, in the case of CNAs, there is a federal requirement that dictates how the reimbursement works. Employment at a long term care facility requires that reimbursement for CNAs must occur under regulations. That is not the case with HHA courses. However, some employers offer this in varying formats because of the high demand for caregivers home health aides. Chosen Family Home Care is one employer that does authorize this for qualifying caregivers.
Employer offered home health aide training
There are some employers and home care agencies around Philadelphia that offer their own HHA training certification. We already mentioned that Chosen Family Home Care is one home health company that offers this service to some caregivers. This is done at no cost to the employee. Just like the agreement we mention above, this can vary significantly between organizations. However, it is only free under similar conditions discussed above.
- The employee must agree to work for the organization for a set number of hours or time for the program to be free of charge
- The employee may be responsible for the full cost of the program if they do not meet this requirement
- The employer can pursue the employee for the cost of the program if they do not meet the requirements as set out.
While there are stipulations, they are very reasonable for the most part. This is a great option for some caregivers. Chosen Family Home Care offers this as an option to interested candidates. Otherwise, interested caregivers will need to search for a variety of home healthcare agencies that offer this locally. Many home care agency training offerings may be sporadic or infrequent. Therefore, the interested employee may have to ensure that the training fits their schedule.
Questions to ask for employer offered training
Finally, we recommend that the interested HHA verifies a few things with the employer offered the training. The interested employee could ask the following questions below directly:
- Does the home health aide meet the training requirements set out by the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 484.80)?
- Some employers may not have ensured that they met all the requirements of the program for it to be called home health aide training.
- In particular, does it cover the 75 required hours of training, including 16 hours of hands-on clinical or lab practice under direct supervision?
- This is an important question for a few reasons. Some employers call their training home health aide training, but in reality it is just basic caregiver training. If it does not meet the requirements of being a home health aide, then the employee will not be able to do some tasks that a home health aide is able to do. More importantly, the home health aide certification will not be valid if they go to different healthcare settings.
- Does it cover all of the content requirements as listed in the same federal regulations?
- There are specific topics that a home health aide training course is supposed to address. If those topics are not addressed, or if the evaluation of the home health aide is not done as listed in the requirements, then the certificate of completion of the program may not be a valid one as recognized by federal regulations.
- Is the entirety of the training documented and will I be given a copy of my certification?
- For programs that meet the training requirements, it is important that students are given a copy of their certification. If they do not have valid documentation showing that they have completed their home health aide certification, then they will not be able to work as a home health aide in another healthcare setting.
Any of the above mentioned items could be major roadblocks for caregivers and direct care workers. If not followed properly, then they may not have a valid HHA certification and could have to take the course over again.
Chosen Family Home Care offers the best home health aide training for several reasons:
- The HHA course meets federal regulations
- Chosen Family Home Care’s HHA course meets all required content based on federal regulations
- The home care agency even has a laboratory training facility and classroom which can facilitate this training and other training for caregivers
- We also offer caregiving courses for those individuals that want to be Personal Care Aides
- The course is fully documented and the home care agency will issue a valid certificate of completion for Home Health Aide training. That means that employees can take their certification with them and work at other organizations as a Home Health Aide and with no strings attached. While we want our caregivers to stay with the company for a long time, we also support HHAs to go on to different roles and settings that suit them well. We proudly support our HHAs and caregivers while they are with us and even if they leave the organization.
Employer-provided home health aide course for free when bringing a client to the company
Another way that caregivers can get their home health aide training covered in full is when they bring a client to the home care agency. Most commonly, in these cases they are family members that care for loved ones. They get paid under the Pennsylvania Medicaid waiver to provide the caregiving for their family or loved one in need. They may also be compensated caregivers under certain Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. This article outlines how one can get paid to care for loved ones in Pennsylvania.
This is a great obligation as it is a no cost way to get the training to be a certified home health aide. Similar to the above, make sure you ask the right questions to ensure that the HHA program meets the requirements of the home health aide certification to be valid. Once again, Chosen Family Home Care can make arrangements to provide this for family caregivers under the Medicaid waiver should they be interested.
Home Health Aide Training with Chosen Family Home Care
Chosen Family Home Care can help you get your certification to be an HHA in just two weeks and at little or no cost. With online course offerings and an HHA certification with national recognition, you can be on a path in the medical field with no out of pocket costs and earning a salary in a matter of days.
Please reach out to us today and we can share training resources and upcoming classes. Plus, we can anaswer any other questions you may have. Call or email us now!