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How to Earn Money as a Home Health Aide without a High School Diploma

Updated on December 13, 2016

© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin

If you don’t have a high school diploma but enjoy working with people, then you can make a living as a home health aide. This profession helps the disabled, elderly or chronically ill with daily activities such as bathing, grooming, shopping or cleaning. You can work in residential care facilities, retirement home or private residences. No advanced preparation is necessary, since your employer will train you on the job. And the field will grow by 46 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the US Department of Labor. This is because of an increase in the number of older adults in the country. All information for this article is from that government department.

Work for psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals.

Psychiatric and substance-abuse hospitals specialize in treating patients with mental or emotional disorders, or addictions to drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Aides here earn the highest salaries in the field with mean wages of $16.81 per hour or $34,970 per year. (This is way above the national average $10.46 per hour or $21,760 for home health aides.) Jobs here may be harder to get since only 1,790 total positions are available. If you’d rather work for an employer that’s easier to enter, home health care services offer 342,500 total jobs. But mean pay here is slightly lower than average at $10.25 per hour or $21,330 per year.

Get certification.

Because you’ll be working for employers who receive reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid, you’ll need a minimum of 75 hours of training. At least 16 of these hours must consist of direct contact with a patient, under the direction of a supervisor or more experienced worker. Among other things, you’ll learn how to safely transfer patients, read and record vital signs such as blood pressure, control infection and meet basic nutritional needs. You don’t have to spend any money for training – that’s your employer’s responsibility. They’ll also arrange for you to take the state certification exam, which you must pass.

Move to Alaska.

You’ll get the highest pay for your profession in Alaska, where 1,570 positions make a mean $14.06 per hour or $29,250 per year. On the East Coast, Connecticut leads with mean salaries of $14.03 per hour or $29,180 per year, for 11,410 jobs. The state with the highest demand for home health aides is New York, with 137,830 jobs, making a$11.22 per hour or $23,340 per year. Texas ranks number two with 86,350 positions receiving $9.53 per hour or $19,830 per year.

Work in a small city.

The city with the highest-paying employer for home health aides is Ames, Iowa, with mean salaries at $15.93 per hour or $33,130 per year, but for only 60 positions. More jobs are available in major metropolitan areas like New York City, with 92,710 positions. But pay here runs only $10.51 per hour or $21,860 per year, which is close to the national average. If you prefer a more rural setting, West Central Utah has high salaries at $15.15 per hour or $31,520 per year, but only 120 jobs.


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