Is a Career as a Caregiver or Home Health Aide Right For You?

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home health aideFinding a career that fits your personal and financial needs is an important step forward in life. You need to find something that you’re good at and that you really enjoy, since you will likely be doing this activity the majority of your life.

Healthcare is one of the fastest career growth areas in the country and caregivers and home health aide careers are expected to grow by close to 48 percent by the year 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Given all of this opportunity, you may choose to explore a career as a caregiver or home health aide. Let’s take a look at the type of work you would doing:

What They Do

Caregivers and home health aides assist older adults with a number of everyday living activities. As a caregiver, you may help an older adult with cleaning tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, doing laundry and dishes, cleaning bathrooms and mopping and sweeping floors. In addition, a home health aide may help their client prepare meals and snacks. You may also need to help your client with walking, bathing, dressing and personal hygiene. These activities of daily living help the older person you are caring for meet their personal needs.

Another area that home health aides assist older adults with: medical needs. A home health aide or caregiver may monitor the client’s blood pressure and weight, remind the client to take their medication, escort the client to doctor’s appointments and record daily care notes about the client’s progress or condition.

Helping determine a client’s need for specific medical equipment — such as scooters or other aids to daily living — is another important caregiver task. These activities all serve as a way to meet the individual’s personal and medical needs.

Is it Right for You?

There are a number of resources available to help determine if a job is right for you. You can take a career quiz to help you better understand the types of jobs you would be well-suited for. For example, the Big Five Personality Test helps you identify how you relate to others which can help you determine which types of careers match your personal and professional value systems.

Some of the personality traits demonstrated by home health aides include being dependable, courageous, caring, consistent, accommodating, concerned, diligent, considerate, polite, friendly, charismatic and durable. The ability to provide care to an older adult requires kindness and compassion as well. Use these traits to evaluate whether a career as a caregiver or home health aide is a good match for you.


The salary for a specific occupation is typically based on the type of work you perform, your education and your experience. Home health aides make a median salary of $28,820 per year.

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) also serve patients in a home or agency setting. They typically command the same salary as home health aides with some difference based on geographic location, experience and employer.

Areas of Expertise

Several different areas of expertise are represented by healthcare professionals who work as home health aides or caregivers.

Non-certified aides typically give custodial, supportive and long-term personal care services. CNAs and home health aides function as healthcare professionals and provide care that is a part of the entire home health team. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) undergo more robust education and training and also function as a part of the home health care team.

Registered Nurses (RNs), Physical Therapists and Social Workers all function as a part of this team as well, but have stringent education and training requirements designed to broaden the types of services each discipline provides.

Education and Training Needed

The education required for a home health aide or caregiver is a high school diploma. Additional educational requirements may be needed if you plan to pursue certain types of aides like a CNA.

Training and certification are required in order to begin work as a home health aide. There are training programs available from assisted living or nursing home facilities, the American Red Cross, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and The National Board for Certification of Hospice & Palliative Nurses. Researching the specific licensure requirements for the state you plan to get a job in is the first step in fulfilling the certification prerequisites.

Finding a career path that makes sense for you involves evaluating a number of options and knowing what types of tasks make you happy. A career as a caregiver or home health aide is a rewarding opportunity for certain individuals. Assessing resources about careers as a home health aide or caregiver by searching online and asking current work colleagues or mentors can help you determine if this is the path for you.

About the Author

Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer, blogger, and aspiring world traveler. Sarah is also the founder of Punched Clocks, a site on which she shares advice for young professionals on navigating the work world, and finding happiness and success at work. For more on all things career follow her @SarahLandrum

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