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Getting started in health care

Working as a home health  care aide can be a rewarding way to helppeople on a one-to-one level. It’s a demanding job, both physically andmentally, but job prospects are promising — and it could lead to acareer in the medical field.

Working as a home health care aide can be a rewarding way to help people on a one-to-one level. It’s a demanding job, both physically and mentally, but job prospects are promising — and it could lead to a career in the medical field.


Home health care aides provide care to disabled or elderly individuals who live at home rather than at a hospital or residential care facility. They typically work through an agency and may deal with multiple clients per day or work with one person over a long period of time. Under the supervision of trained nurses, aides do basic chores like cleaning rooms and making beds, and they often help with day-to-day errands on top of assisting with personal care. Basic medical tasks — taking pulses, checking blood pressures — are common as well.


State regulations vary for home health care aides; some require a Home Health Aide license. But a high school diploma is generally not necessary, and aides are usually trained when they start.


One potential downside is the pay: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, home health care aides earned an average of only $9.22 per hour as of 2008.


Because of this, many choose to continue their health care training and become licensed or registered nurses.

 
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