CNA vs Home Health Aide

Certified Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide

Are you interested in a career in the healthcare industry but not sure where to start? Two popular options to consider are becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or a Home Health Aide (HHA). While both roles involve providing care to patients, there are some key differences between the two. In this blog post, we will explore the similarities and differences between CNAs and HHAs to help you make an informed decision about which career path is right for you.

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The demand for healthcare professionals continues to grow, making it an attractive field for job seekers. CNAs and HHAs play vital roles in the healthcare system, providing essential care to patients in various settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and private residences. Both roles require compassion, patience, and excellent communication skills.

What is a CNA and Home Health Aide?

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): A Certified Nursing Assistant, also known as a CNA, is a trained healthcare professional who provides direct patient care under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). CNAs assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, feeding, and mobility. They also take vital signs, record patient information, and assist with medical procedures.

Home Health Aide (HHA): A Home Health Aide, or HHA, is a caregiver who provides assistance to individuals in their own homes. HHAs perform similar tasks to CNAs, including personal care, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and meal preparation. They also provide companionship and emotional support to their clients.

Difference between a CNA and Home Health Aide

While CNAs and HHAs have some similarities in their roles, there are also key differences that set them apart. Here are a few of the main distinctions:

Work Environment:

  • CNAs typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities, while HHAs primarily work in clients' homes.
  • CNAs may work with a variety of patients and conditions, whereas HHAs usually work with one or a few clients on a more long-term basis.


  • CNAs work under the direct supervision of registered nurses or licensed practical nurses, while HHAs often work independently with minimal supervision.


  • CNAs have a broader scope of practice and may perform more complex medical tasks, such as taking blood samples or administering medication, under the supervision of a nurse.
  • HHAs focus more on personal care and assistance with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, and meal preparation.

Training and Certification:

  • CNAs must complete a state-approved training program and pass a competency exam to become certified.
  • HHAs typically receive on-the-job training or complete a short training program, but certification requirements vary by state.

CNA vs Home Health Aide: Job Description

CNA Job Description:

  • Assisting patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating.
  • Taking and recording vital signs, such as blood pressure, temperature, and pulse rate.
  • Assisting with medical procedures and treatments under the supervision of a nurse.
  • Turning and repositioning bedridden patients to prevent bedsores.
  • Transferring patients between beds, wheelchairs, and stretchers.
  • Assisting with patient mobility and ambulation.
  • Providing emotional support and companionship to patients and their families.

HHA Job Description:

  • Assisting clients with personal care, including bathing, grooming, and dressing.
  • Preparing meals and assisting with feeding.
  • Administering medication reminders.
  • Performing light housekeeping tasks, such as cleaning and laundry.
  • Providing companionship and emotional support to clients.
  • Assisting with transportation and running errands.
  • Monitoring and reporting changes in clients' health or behavior.

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CNA vs Home Health Aide: Education and Training

CNA Education and Training:

  • Completion of a state-approved CNA training program, which typically takes 4-12 weeks to complete.
  • Training includes classroom instruction, hands-on practice, and supervised clinical experience.
  • After completing the training program, candidates must pass a state competency exam to become certified.
  • Some states may have additional requirements, such as a background check or fingerprinting.

HHA Education and Training:

  • HHAs typically receive on-the-job training from their employer.
  • Some states may require completion of a formal training program, which can be completed in a few weeks.
  • Training covers topics such as personal care, infection control, and client safety.
  • Certification requirements for HHAs vary by state, with some states offering voluntary certification programs.

CNA vs Home Health Aide: Career Outlook and Salary

CNA Career Outlook:

  • The demand for CNAs is expected to grow by 8% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Job opportunities for CNAs are plentiful in hospitals, nursing homes, and home healthcare agencies.
  • CNAs can further their education and career by becoming licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs).
  • The median annual wage for CNAs was $30,830 in May 2020, with the highest 10% earning more than $41,710.

HHA Career Outlook:

  • The demand for HHAs is projected to grow by 34% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
  • The aging population and increased desire for home care contribute to the high demand for HHAs.
  • Job opportunities for HHAs are primarily in home healthcare agencies and assisted living facilities.
  • The median annual wage for HHAs was $27,080 in May 2020, with the highest 10% earning more than $37,900.

Final Thoughts

Both CNAs and HHAs play crucial roles in the healthcare industry, providing vital care to patients and clients. The choice between becoming a CNA or an HHA ultimately depends on your personal preferences, career goals, and desired work environment. Consider factors such as the type of care you want to provide, the training and certification requirements in your state, and the job outlook and salary potential for each role.

No matter which path you choose, a career in healthcare can be rewarding and fulfilling. Both CNAs and HHAs have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others and contribute to the well-being of their communities. So, take the time to explore your options, consider your strengths and interests, and make an informed decision that aligns with your goals.

Explore Dreambound's program accessibility across different locations. Immerse yourself in these blogs for a detailed exploration of the two vocations, unraveling specific requirements and gaining insightful perspectives on how to embark on your journey:

Jessa Guzon
Written by
Jessa Guzon

Jessa Guzon is a member of the School Growth and Customer Success Team in Dreambound. She finds joy in assisting both schools and students in reaching their goals by answering their queries and connecting them with the right people. Outside her professional role, Jessa is a happy-go-lucky person with a thirst for adventure.

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