HHA vs CNA: 15 Key Differences in 2022

HHA vs CNA: 15 Key Differences in 2022


It gets asked a lot, yet continues to remain one of the top questions of those considering a career in the healthcare industry:

What’s the difference between a HHA and CNA?

The reason for the question is that while Home Health Aides (HHAs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) play very similar roles in patients’ lives, there are many more differences than folks think.

Learn more about the differences between CNA’s and HHA’s.

The Difference Between a Home Health Aide and a Certified Nursing Assistant

You may be looking for a new career in the medical/healthcare industry and considered being a nurse. Then, you realize that obtaining a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certification can be a long and very expensive process.

If you are looking to start quickly and with very little time and money invested, you should consider becoming a Home Health Aide or a Certified Nursing Assistant – or BOTH!

Knowing the contrasts between these two positions will help you now and as you head down the path of your training and entry into the workforce. Some of the lines between the two fields can be blurry and confusing as you look further at individual state requirements for HHA’s and CNA’s.

What is a Home Health Aide?

A home health aide (HHA) typically works in the homes of a patients. The patient may be chronically ill, elderly and in need of supervision, or they may be an otherwise healthy individual recovering from an illness or surgery.

He/she can be responsible for basic healthcare tasks that can include checking vital signs, helping with medications, or helping patients use wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility aids.

Their job is to help the patient remain at home where they are most comfortable. This often involves helping them with tasks of everyday living that may not be medical in nature. These tasks include bathing, help with laundry, transportation, prepare meals, etc.

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) works in a wide variety of environments that can include assisted living centers, nursing homes, and hospitals. They perform many of the same duties as the HHA, including assistance with medical devices, helping with medications, bathing and dressing patients, checking vital signs, and reporting any changes in the patient to the medical team.

They may also work with patients who have dementia, who need respite care, or who are in hospice care. CNA’s, unlike HHAs, usually care for a group of people instead of individuals.

What About Training?

These two roles do require unique training. For example, a CNA must go through a formal training program and pass a state exam, while HHAs can be trained on the job by RN’s. Further, passing a test to demonstrate proficiency may not even be required.

Anything else?

Yes, lots!

The graphics below go into more detail about the differentiation between a HHA and CNA. It’s important to know the details of each as you do not want to put down the money for HHA training only to learn that perhaps being a CNA is a wiser choice.

four red arrows
cna and hha work place
TO THE POINT: HHA’s work mostly at clients’ homes while CNA’s are mostly employed at hospitals and nursing homes.

cna vs hha workload
TO THE POINT: HHA’s deal with one patient at time while CNA’s jump from one to another.

cna and hha responsibilities
THE POINT: The job description for a HHA is mostly activities of daily living compared to a CNA who deals with vital signs and medical equipment.

hha and cna medical tasks
TO THE POINT: HHA’s are increasing their medical care tasks but CNA’s perform these on a more consistent basis.

hha and cna training
TO THE POINT: Training is mandatory for all HHA’s and CNA’s.

hha and cna training sources
TO THE POINT: Either HHA or CNA, you can find the training abundant as there is great demand for all positions.

hha and cna training expense
TO THE POINT: Shop around – you should not pay for HHA training; CNA free training may be tougher.

hha and cna examination
TO THE POINT: Both HHA’s and CNA’s need to pass a competency test.

hha and cna certification
TO THE POINT: HHA’s (should) and CNA’s (mandatory) need to be certified and licensed.

hha and cna hs diploma
TO THE POINT: While not required overall, you should have your high school diploma to be a HHA or CNA.

hha and cna minimum age
TO THE POINT: Candidates for HHA and CNA jobs should be at least 18 years old.

hha and cna salaries
TO THE POINT: CNA’s earn more than a HHA salary as the training and experience is greater than a HHA.

hha and cna career advancement
TO THE POINT: CNA’s will most often find more opportunities in the medical field than HHA’s.

hha and cna job growth
TO THE POINT: The job growth is greater for HHA’s as higher turnover and aging in place increases.

hha and cna number of jobs
TO THE POINT: The number of HHA’s is more than double the number of CNA’s.


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