5 Tips on How To Become a Home Health Aide in the Sunshine State
If you want to become a caregiver, but focus on personalized care for one patient at a time, then you may want to consider a Home Health Aide training program in Florida.
As the baby boomer generation grows older, the outlook for home health care aides is positive, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Florida--with a large elderly population--is a prime location to practice home healthcare.
Unlike working in hospitals and nursing homes, a home health aide career lets the aide focus on helping an individual patient in a more relaxed setting. From assisting in day-to-day activities, like clothing and feeding, to infection control and taking vital signs, home health aides are there for their patients. In this position, they have the opportunity to build strong bonds with patients over long periods of time.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, home health aide careers are expected to grow by 38 percent from 2014 until 2024, much faster than the average for most careers.
If this career sounds interesting to you, then here are the steps you need to take to become a home health aide specialist.
Step 1: Apply to a Home Health Aide Training Program
Your first step is to apply to a training program. It’s best to pick an accredited school that provides hands-on training and an externship. In Florida, most programs have 75 hours of training and can take just a few weeks to complete.
Some colleges even offer a dual nursing assistant and home health aide training program where you may also learn additional skills such as Alzheimer’s care and domestic violence care. It is nice to have these added skills because then you have the choice to work in a greater variety of healthcare facilities.
Keep in mind, if you go for the dual program it will cost more, take double the time—around 6 weeks—and you will have to take the State of Florida Nursing Assistant Certification Exam for a small fee.
Step 2: Gather all Necessary Documentation Before You Start Classes
Since you may be working with the chronically ill, disabled, and elderly, schools want to make sure you are healthy enough to work with them to prevent any risks to the patient’s health and safety.
Before you start your classes, you will need to submit the following:
- Physical health exam (original report)
- Tuberculin test (original report)
- Influenza vaccine during Flu season
- Level II background check (original report)
Step 3: Complete an Externship
An externship will give you on-site job training to become a home health aide. Most programs will offer you hands-on training in the school’s curriculum. Under the supervision of an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) or LNP (Licensed Nurse Practitioner), you will experience the daily duties of Home Health Aides.
These duties include:
- Reporting, observing and recording client information
- Personal care
- Checking vital signs
- Cleaning instruments
- Caring for adults, mothers, or newborns
- Bed making
- Sterilizing patient areas
- Dealing with mental illness and health emergencies
- Communicating with patients and their families
Online courses will not offer the opportunity for on-site job training as part of the curriculum. Externships are not required, but they help you know what to expect. An added benefit is that you can meet connections, like mentors and other healthcare professionals.
Step 4: Prepare for the Real-World
After you’ve completed and graduated from the home health aide training program, you may begin to look for jobs. Just like in your externship, be sure to have white scrubs and white shoes or sneakers with rubber soles. If another color is designated when you get a job, you may need to purchase the specified color for your health facility.
There are no State Certification Exams for Home Health Aide graduates. However, some employers or HHA agencies may require an exam before hiring you.
Step 5: Apply for Jobs
Once you’ve completed your resume and cover letter, start applying for jobs! You can make a LinkedIn profile, search for jobs online, or network with healthcare workers. The skills you’ve gathered during your training program and your diploma make you qualified to earn an entry-level position. You may have to apply for several jobs at once and the interviewing process may take time.
Remember to smile and have a positive attitude during your job interview. This way you have more of a chance of getting a position you are not only qualified for, but one you want!
Hopefully, this step-by-step guide will help you on the road to completing your program. We wish you luck with your training program!