Detailed Guide forHome Health Aides in California
May also be called: Home Care Workers; Homemaker Health Aides; Nurse Assistants; and Home Attendants.
What Would I Do?
Home Health Aides help elderly, convalescent, or disabled persons in their own homes instead of a health facility. Some help discharged hospital patients who have relatively short-term needs. They work for licensed home care agencies and provide basic nursing care in private homes or hospice programs under the supervision of Registered Nurses. The number of people living into their eighties continues to grow, a group that usually has health problems that need at least some assisted medical care. These people prefer to stay in their own dwelling where they are more independent, comfortable, and where the cost is usually lower than nursing home rates.
Home Health Aides provide health-related services. They teach patients ways to care for themselves despite illness or disability. Home Health Aides help keep patients mentally alert by talking and listening to them. They may also care for children of their sick or disabled patient.
Important Tasks and Related Skills
Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.
|View the skill definitions|
|Task||Skill Used in this Task|
|Maintain records of patient care, condition, progress, or problems to report and discuss observations with supervisor or case manager.||Reading Comprehension|
|Provide patients with help moving in and out of beds, baths, wheelchairs or automobiles, and with dressing and grooming.||Service Orientation|
|Provide patients and families with emotional support and instruction in areas such as caring for infants, preparing healthy meals, living independently, or adaptating to disability or illness.||Social Perceptiveness|
|Change bed linens, wash and iron patients' laundry, and clean patients' quarters.||Customer and Personal Service|
|Entertain, converse with, or read aloud to patients to keep them mentally healthy and alert.||Active Listening|
|Plan, purchase, prepare, or serve meals to patients or other family members, according to prescribed diets.||Inductive Reasoning|
|Direct patients in simple prescribed exercises or in the use of braces or artificial limbs.||Static Strength|
|Change dressings.||Near Vision|
|Perform a variety of duties as requested by client, such as obtaining household supplies or running errands.||Oral Comprehension|
Below is a definition for each skill.
|View the tasks to skills list|
|Reading Comprehension||Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.|
|Service Orientation||Actively looking for ways to help people.|
|Social Perceptiveness||Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.|
|Customer and Personal Service||Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.|
|Active Listening||Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.|
|Inductive Reasoning||The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).|
|Static Strength||The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.|
|Near Vision||The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).|
|Oral Comprehension||The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.|
Home Health Aides work in patients’ homes where other family members may live. They also work in hospice settings caring for patients who are dying.
They need to have the ability to deal calmly and good-naturedly with patients who may be in pain, uncooperative, or depressed. In addition, Aides sometimes have unpleasant duties such as emptying bedpans, collecting urine or stool specimens, and changing soiled linens. Home Health Aides may go to the same patient’s home for months or even years. However, most Aides work with a number of different patients, each job lasting a few hours, days, or weeks. They may spend a good portion of the work day traveling from one patient to another. Mechanical lifting devices are seldom available in patients’ homes, and Home Health Aides can sustain injuries resulting from positioning patients. They need a valid California driver’s license and usually need access to a car.
Home Health Aides may work full-time, part-time, or on-call, depending on patient needs. Full-time certified Home Health Aides normally visit five or six patients a day and spend about one to two hours with each patient per visit. Many agencies hire only on-call, hourly workers with no extra benefits except for paid mileage. Other agencies hire Home Health Aides on a full-time or part-time basis and with a guaranteed minimum number of hours. Evening, weekend, and holiday work is common.
The occupation is generally non-union.
Will This Job Fit Me?
Prospective Aides should first decide if this is the kind of work they want to do. Job satisfaction and willingness to stay on the job usually comes from doing work that holds one's interest. People who like Home Health Aide work usually have a social interest. This means they truly like to help others, talk to them, teach them how to do things, and provide services.
What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?
The median wage in 2016 for Home Health Aides in California is $24,209 annually, or $11.65 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.
Depending on the hiring agency, benefits for full-time workers usually include vacation, sick leave, and medical and dental insurance. Some employers also pay for vision, life insurance, and retirement plans.
What is the Job Outlook?
The outlook for Home Health Aides is excellent. With more people living longer, more Californians are living with disability and/or illness. Most people needing care would prefer being cared for in their home rather than a nursing home or hospital, leading to more jobs for Home Health Aides.
This occupation will grow much faster than average compared with all occupations in California. This high rate of growth is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. The occupation provides good opportunities for job seekers who want a short training period and for those who want part-time or temporary work.
Projections of Employment
In California, the number of Home Health Aides is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Home Health Aides are expected to increase by 39.0 percent, or 17,500 jobs between 2012 and 2022.
|Estimated Employment and Projected Growth|
Home Health Aides
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Due to Net
|View Projected Growth for All Areas|
Annual Job Openings
In California, an average of 1,760 new job openings per year is expected for Home Health Aides, plus an additional 850 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 2,610 job openings.
|Estimated Average Annual Job Openings|
Home Health Aides
|Jobs From Growth||Jobs Due to|
|View Data for All Areas|
How Do I Qualify?
Education, Training, and Other Requirements
A high school diploma is not required to work as a Home Health Aide. In general, Home Health Aides must take classroom and clinical training approved by the Department of Health Services, Aide and Technician Certification Section (ATCS). Course content includes basic nutrition, meal planning and cooking, home cleaning tasks, and ways for bathing, turning, and moving the patient. Home Health Aides also learn to deal with patients’ emotional problems caused by illness or aging and learn something about behavior, particularly in elderly patients.
Health care agencies that employ Home Health Aides must give them at least 12 hours of in-service training and do a performance review each year. Home Health Aides are required to renew their certification every two years.
There are no experience requirements for Home Health Aides. However, most employers prefer applicants who have experience in this occupation or a related field.
Early Career Planning
High school classes that might help pepare one for a job in this field includes domestic arts, strength training, English and a foreign language would be good preparation for a career in this field.
Apprenticeship and Work Study Programs
Adult education programs and regional occupational programs (ROP) in many local school districts give Home Health Aide training. In addition, some private career schools and colleges train for this occupation. The local EDD One-Stop Career Center can help the job seeker find training.
Licensing and Certification
Contact the agency that issues the license for additional information. Click on the license title below for details.
To work in California, Home Health Aides need a certificate issued by the California Department of Health Services (DHS).
For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.
- To be 16 years of age or older.
- A report that gives medical history and states that the applicant can do the work without harm to self, patients and family members, or visitors.
- A physical examination stating that the applicant has no health condition that would create a hazard to him/her, fellow employees, or patients.
- Results of a tuberculosis skin test.
- No felony or certain misdemeanor convictions. However, an applicant who has a Certificate of Rehabilitation or Dismissal from the court where the conviction happened can be certified.
- An application, fingerprint records, and fees to the Aide and Technician Certification Section (ATCS) of the DHS.
- 120 hours of approved training. Training includes 65 hours of classroom and 55 hours of clinical training in basic nursing and home health topics. Nurse assistants can be certified by taking supplemental training.
Where Can I Find Training?
There are two ways to search for training information:
Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.
Where Would I Work?
Most Home Health Aides work in patients homes. Some work in residential care facilites, nursing homes, and hospitals. Most Aides find work with the help of agencies. The largest industries employing Home Health Aides are as follows:
|Industry Title||Percent of Total Employment for Occupation in California|
|Community Care Facility for the Elderly ||30.3%|
|Home Health Care Services ||28.7%|
|Residential Mental Health Facilities ||16.1%|
|Individual and Family Services ||10.2%|
|Nursing Care Facilities ||2.2%|
Finding a Job
Home health agencies and hospice programs hire Home Health Aides. Recent graduates can apply at their school for job placement. Many go to work for the agency where they did clinical on-the-job training. They should also apply at a local Visiting Nurses Association of America. Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.
To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).
Yellow Page Headings
You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Home Health Aides.
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Home Health Services
- Nurses and Nurse Registries
Find Possible Employers
To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:
- Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
- Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
- Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
- Contact the employer for possible employment.
Where Could This Job Lead?
With more training, Home Health Aides can become Medical Assistants, Licensed Vocational Nurses, or Registered Nurses.
Below is a list of occupations related to Home Health Aides with links to more information.
|Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants*||Profile|
|Personal Care Aides||Guide|
These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.
For the Career Professional
The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.