Home health care workers provide in-home health care services to elderly, ill and disabled people. Services include assistance with personal care like bathing and dressing, skilled nursing services like the administration of intravenous medications and dressing changes, physical therapy and occupational therapy. To get started providing home health care, you’ll need to decide what kind of work you’d like to do. You might want to be a certified nursing assistance, a nurse, a social work, a physical therapist or an occupational therapist. These professionals all treat patients in their own homes but they need different degrees and licenses.
Get the appropriate education for the home health care job you wish to pursue. Certified nursing assistants must complete a 75-hour training program, for example. Registered nurses must have at least an associate’s degree in nursing. Social workers, physical therapists and occupational therapists must have a Master’s degree. Attend an accredited college or vocational program and graduate with the appropriate degree or certification.
Earn the appropriate license for your chosen profession in the state in which you wish to practice. Nursing assistants and nurses must become licensed by the state nursing board. All states have a social work or therapist board that licenses social workers. To become certified, you will need to pass an examination and submit proof of your education. Other criteria may apply.
Look for a job with home health care agencies in your area. In addition to checking the Help Wanted ads in the newspaper or online, you can contact local agencies and hospitals to ask if they have any positional available. Many colleges and vocational schools also offer job placement assistance. You probably received some training related to home health care while earning your degree, but many home health care agencies offer some paid training to qualified new employees if you feel you could benefit from some additional training.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Nursing and Psychiatric Aides
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Social Workers
- Kelly D. Morris, Social Worker and Former Home Health Aide, Mansfield, Ohio.
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