Medical Career Academy - Phlebotomy

Medical Career Academy – Home Health Aides vs. Certified Nursing Assistants

When it comes to healthcare, people often think of doctors and nurses. But it actually takes a whole team to properly care for a patient. So whether it’s employment at a hospital or other care facilities, the world of patient care offers many career opportunities.

If you want to get into patient care but don’t have an undergraduate degree in a related field, there are some options you can pursue. Two of the most prominent occupations in patient care you can pursue are home health aides (HHA) and certified nursing assistants (CNA).

If you’re not sure which one to pursue, we’re here to break down the significant differences between the two.

Duties and Responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities of an HHA and a CNA differ. One of the primary differences is that an HHA’s place of employment is the patient’s home. Unlike the CNA, an HHA does not perform any clinical tasks. Instead, an HHA primarily assists the patient with their daily living. This could include preparing their meals, transporting and accompanying them to places, light housekeeping, running errands, and ensuring they comply with their treatment plans at home.

On the other hand, a CNA’S primary function is to support the patient’s health. This could include administering medication, monitoring and documenting their status, and maintaining the patient’s hygiene. Unlike the HHA who is only focused on one patient, a CNA may have several patients in their custody. A CNA can work in any healthcare facility and is not required to assist patients when they are discharged and return home.

Salary and Career Opportunities

Since HHAs do not undergo clinical training, career advancements do not often occur. Salaries are also usually lower than that of a CNA, but an HHA can earn roughly 22,000 dollars in a year.

Because CNAs undergo specialized training for clinical care, they can expect to earn higher than an HHA. Salaries can vary depending on the state, but typically a CNA can expect to earn 27,000-35,000 dollars a year.

There are also more opportunities for career advancement as a CNA. For example, they can choose to advance into an administrative role or take advanced certification for their career growth.


Employment as an HHA often does not require certification. However, you may pursue a Medication Aide Certification (MACE) if you wish to acquire one. Before you do so, you must consult the MACE directory for your state to see if you can take the exam as an HHA.

Because the responsibilities of a CNA call for clinical training, becoming a CNA requires certification. To qualify for certification, you must take specific courses and pass the CNA exam. Requirements for obtaining a state license also vary among states, so it’s best to check the certification requirements of your particular state.

In Summary

Just because you did not graduate with a nursing degree doesn’t mean you can no longer pursue a career in patient care. Instead, you can opt to become an HHA or CNA. The main difference between the two is that a CNA requires clinical training and certification. In addition, CNAs often take care of the patient’s clinical needs, such as administering medication and monitoring their health. At the same time, an HHA primarily assists the patient in their daily life at home.

If you wish to acquire medical career training in Indiana, you can count on the Medical Career Academy to provide you with the highest quality education. We offer smaller class sizes to better accommodate the student as well as real-life, hands-on experience to best equip our students. So, enroll in a course now!

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