Home health aides help injured, chronically ill or disabled individuals with their daily activities, such as cooking, shopping for groceries, cleaning house and monitoring blood pressure. Most earn their salaries by working in the homes of clients, although some are employed by small group homes or larger care facilities. As with most occupations, their salaries differ by employer and geographic location.
Average salaries for home health aides started at less than $16,410 per year, or $7.89 per hour, as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. The highest salaries were above $29,530 a year, or $14.20 an hour. Average wages were at $21,820 a year, or $10.49 an hour. The BLS predicts that employment for this occupation will increase by 69 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is more than double the 34 percent expected for health-care support occupations, and almost five times more than the 14 percent for all occupations in all industries. A growing and aging population will fuel the demand.
With almost 37 percent of the total positions, home health care services provided the most employment for home health aides in 2011. Average salaries in this category were $21,250 a year, or $10.22 an hour. Second for jobs were residential mental retardation, mental health and substance-abuse facilities, which employed 18 percent at an average $21,900 a year, or $10.53 an hour. The highest paying employer was state government, averaging $35,500 a year, or $17.07 an hour. Other ambulatory health-care services were next, with average salaries of $34,000 a year, or $16.35 an hour, followed by management, scientific and technical consultants at a mean $28,950 a year, or $13.92 an hour.
In 2011, the state with the most jobs for the profession was New York, which contained 14 percent of the positions at an average wage of $22,980 a year, or $11.05 an hour. Next came Texas, with almost 8 percent of jobs and an average salary of $19,920 a year, or $9.58 an hour. Ohio, with almost the same percentage of jobs, had slightly higher wages at an average $20,360 a year, or $9.79 an hour. The states with best salaries were Connecticut, averaging $28,500 a year, or $13.70 an hour; Alaska, with an average of $27,850 a year, or $13.39an hour; and Vermont, at an average $27,090 a year, or $13.02 an hour.
Though no formal education is required for home health aides, most have high school diplomas, according to the BLS. They receive training on the job by more experienced workers, supervisors or nurses. They must learn to perform basic housekeeping tasks, such as cooking and cleaning, and respond in an emergency, such as during a heart attack. Agencies that hire home health aides typically receive reimbursement from government sources, such as Medicare or Medicaid. Agency workers are required to obtain state certification, which is granted after receiving minimum training and passing an exam.