Feb 24


Home Care Aide. For many people, it can be the ideal job. Flexible hours. No office grind. The knowledge that you’re helping people in need. And in many cases, full medical benefits, other insurance, and a 401K.

But if you’re considering a job like this, you may be wondering: What about training? Certification? Will it cost a lot? Is it worth the effort?

The answer is: yes and no. Some home care agencies expect you to get training and certification yourself, just to be considered for a job. But if you shop around, you’ll find agencies that make the process as easy as possible, and many will subsidize it or pay for it entirely. And at the end of the day, it’s not that hard to do.

A case in point: Advanced Home Care Services (AHCS), which serves over 1,000 elderly people in south, central, and eastern Massachusetts. AHCS offers a free 75-hour program conducted by professional instructors that allows you to become a Certified Home Health Aide. The training course, which meets all federal and state requirements, covers subjects like:

  • personal care
  • nutrition
  • communication
  • home management
  • safety
  • rehabilitation
  • the problems of older adults
  • special situations such as drug and alcohol abuse

Once you complete the training, you take an exam – and certification follows. Typically, agencies that offer training and certification hire heavily from their own graduates, so you can feel pretty certain you’ll get a job. In fact, many agencies will hire you for basic home care tasks after you complete only a small part of the training, with the understanding that you’ll finish the full program. And some agencies, such as Advanced Home Care Services, will even pay you for your training time.

It doesn’t stop there. The American Red Cross offers Certified Nurse Assistant training and certification, which automatically allows you to become a Home Health Aide. Of course, if you go this far, you can also work for a home care agency as a Certified Nurse Assistant, a job that offers higher pay. If you choose to take Red Cross training and certification, some agencies will subsidize the cost. Advanced Home Care Services, for example, will pay 50%.

Once you’re hired, the benefits can be significant. AHCS offers a full range of employee benefits, including health insurance, dental insurance, paid time off, paid vacation time, compensation for overtime and travel expenses, bonuses, and life insurance at a discounted rate. And a 401K plan is coming soon.

In the end, getting a certification to become a home care aide isn’t difficult at all – especially when some agencies train you for free and offer additional resources as well. And once you’re certified, you’ll be joining an industry that is growing faster than any other sector in the United States – pretty much guaranteeing job security in an uncertain employment market.

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