If you're interested in beginning a career in the home health field, you may be overwhelmed at the variety of educational options and the alphabet soup of certifications—CNA, LPN, RN, CNP, and many others. Where should you begin? Which certifications can get you started in this field, and what educational paths should you choose to reach your desired level of skill and responsibility? Read on to learn more about what you'll need to do to become a home health aide, as well as what additional education you can seek to help achieve your career goals.
Where should you begin your education in the home health field?
If you'd like to become a licensed home health aide who can travel around to clients' homes and help them with their personal and healthcare needs, your first step will likely be to attend training classes to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA). These training classes are short and will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to sit for your state's licensing exam. After this, you'll be able to provide care in a nursing home or to home-bound patients. Consider looking at MedStar Academy as an option for CNA training.
What certifications are available to help you increase your salary and responsibility?
Because CNA training is short and convenient, it has a lower barrier to entry than other types of medical specializations. This can mean that switching to another field after spending a few years as a CNA will significantly increase your pay rate and level of responsibility. Some options available to you are these:
- Transitioning to a registered nurse (RN)
Becoming an RN can help you command a high salary while still working in the healthcare field. You'll generally need to obtain a 2- or 4-year degree with a concentration in nursing; however, there are a number of online programs that can allow you to take the classes you'll need while still working your normal job. Once you've graduated, you'll be able to move to a position with more patient care responsibilities.
- Transitioning to a certified nurse practitioner (CNP)
Once you've received an RN degree, you can go even higher by becoming a certified nurse practitioner. These CNPs are able to prescribe medication and perform other activities formerly reserved for physicians. Many CNPs staff walk-in clinics and urgent care facilities and can command a higher salary than other medical personnel. CNP programs also offer many online classes, making this a convenient option for those who can't afford to take a few years off to go back to school.