What They Do:

Home health aides help people who are disabled, chronically ill, or cognitively impaired. They often help older adults who need assistance and would not be able to live at home without that assistance.

Home health aides might assist with personal tasks such as dressing and bathing. They might also help to keep homes safe and clean, as well as do chores their patients cannot do, such as laundry. Home health aides sometimes arrange leisure activities and transportation for clients so that they can remain engaged in their communities. Some states allow home health aides to administer medication or check vital signs under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.

Home health aides are usually supervised by a patient’s healthcare provider and sometimes by a patient’s family members.

Case length can vary from a few weeks to many years.


Most aides have a high school diploma, although this degree is not required for the position. Aides at agencies that receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid must get a minimum level of training and pass a competency evaluation or receive state certification. The requirements for certification vary by state and often include formal training at community colleges or vocational schools. Home health aides can also be certified by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, which involves 75 hours of training and passing a written exam. Training tasks include housekeeping chores like cooking for clients who have special dietary needs, learning how to treat infections and basic safety techniques like emergency readiness.

What They Make:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage in 2019 was $25,280 per year.                                        

Where They Work:

  • Private homes

  • Retirement communities

  • Assisted living facilities

  • Group homes

  • Transitional housing

Most home health aides care for a single patient at a time, but may have more than one patient to visit per day.

Career Outlook:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of home health aides is projected to grow 34 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the baby-boom population ages and the elderly population grows, demand for the services of home health aides to provide assistance will continue to increase. 


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Home Health Aides and Personal Care Aides,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home-health-aides-and-personal-care-aides.htm (visited December 2020).

Updated December 2020