How to Become a Home Care Aide

Training and Education Jobs and Salaries

In some States, the only requirement for employment as a personal or home care aide is on-the-job training, which generally is provided by employers. Other States may require formal training, which is available from community colleges, vocational schools, elder care programs, and home health care agencies. Most personal and home care aides receive short term on-the-job training in a range of job functions.

Aides are instructed on how to properly cook for a client, which includes information on nutrition and special diets. Furthermore, they may be trained on basic housekeeping tasks, such as making a bed and keeping the home sanitary and safe for the client. Generally, they are taught how to respond to an emergency situation, learning basic safety techniques. Employers may also train aides to conduct themselves in a professional and courteous manner while in a client home.

Personal and home care aides should have a desire to help people and not mind hard work. They should be responsible, compassionate, patient, emotionally stable, and cheerful. In addition, aides should be tactful, honest, and discreet because they work in private homes. Aides also must be in good health. A physical examination, including State-mandated tests for tuberculosis and other diseases, may be required.

A criminal background check, credit check, and good driving record may also be required for employment. Additionally, personal and home care aides are responsible for their own transportation to reach patient homes. The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) offers national certification for personal and home care aides. Certification is a voluntary demonstration that the individual has met industry standards.

Certification requires the completion of a 75-hour course, observation and documentation of 17 skills for competency assessed by a registered nurse and passing a written exam developed by NAHC. Advancement for personal and home care aides is limited. In some agencies, workers start out performing homemaker duties, such as cleaning.

With experience and training, they may take on more personal care duties. Some aides choose to receive additional training to become nursing and home health aides, licensed practical nurses, or registered nurses. Some experienced personal and home care aides may start their own home care agency or work as a self-employed aide. Self-employed aides have no agency affiliation or supervision and accept clients, set fees, and arrange work schedules on their own.