HHA vs CNA
Florida Comparison

STI Students

What is the difference between HHA and CNA?

An HHA and a CNA are NOT exactly the same in Florida. Both roles are involved in helping individuals who cannot help themselves. Both roles also assist patients, clients or residents to return to a state where they can live their lives independently if it is possible. An HHA and a CNA also have overlapping employment options. Both can and do work in a home care setting and in a nursing care facility.

While these career paths are similar, the following are some noticeable differences that set them apart. A certified nurse assistant (CNA) is licensed and regulated through the Florida Board of Nursing. In order to obtain a Florida Certified Nurse Assistant license, you must successfully pass the Florida CNA State Exam administered through Prometric. A CNA typically completes a healthcare training program and works under the direct supervision of a professional nurse.

A Home Health Aide (HHA) is not licensed by the Florida Department of Health and the State of Florida does not have a state-administered test of home health aides. Home health aides who are licensed or certified in another state cannot transfer their license or certificate to Florida. However, an HHA is required to obtain more training initially to receive a Home Health Aide certification. The Home Health Aide can work independently as a contractor or through a Home Health Agency governed by AHCA.

Other differences relate to the daily responsibilities and number of people you would provide care for during an assignment. A home health aide will usually travel to a client’s home and provide direct personal care for one client for several hours or more along with additional duties such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping and/or errands. A CNA will provide personal and medical care under the direct supervision of a licensed nurse at one location for a number of residents or patients in a wing or facility. Other departments such as dietary or housekeeping will prepare meals, launder clothing and bedding and clean and disinfect the living and communal space.

Southern Technical Institute encourages individuals to obtain both certifications to meet the difference between HHA and CNA employment opportunities. However, it is not necessary to have both to be employed as an HHA or a CNA.

What kind of license do I need for work as a HHA in Florida?

To work as a Home Health Aide in Florida, you will need a 40-hour HHA certificate, a 75-hour Home Health Aide certification (certificate), or a diploma as a Home Health Aide through an approved post-secondary school. The State of Florida does not offer an annual license for Home Health Aides; however, the Florida Agency of Healthcare Administration (AHCA) governs the guidelines and requirements for Florida HHA’s.

What is the difference between a 40 Hour HHA Certificate and a 75 Hour HHA Certificate?

In Florida, to work for a Medicare or Medicaid home health agency, a home health aide must possess a home health aide certification showing successful completion of at least 75 hours of healthcare training through a qualified home health aide program and/or successfully complete a competency evaluation approved by AHCA.

To work in a licensed-only agency, the home health aide must complete at least 40 hours of training or successfully complete a competency test given by the home health agency. It is important to do your research because some home health agencies require additional healthcare training above the minimum Home Health Aide training requirements.

In Florida, to work as a home health aide at a nurse registry, the HHA must provide a Home Health Aide certificate of successful completion of at least 40 hours of HHA training by the following:

  • a private career education school licensed by the Florida Department of Education; or
  • a home health agency, if the home health aide was formerly employed by that home health agency; or
  • a public vocational technical school.

Southern Technical Institute is recognized by Home Health Agencies to meet the healthcare training guidelines and AHCA requirements for Home Health Aides. Southern Technical Institute is licensed by Florida Commission for Independent Education and also an approved provider for Florida Department of Elder Affairs offering Alzheimer’s certification and Med Tech training specific for Home Health Aides. A home health agency may have its own additional requirements beyond the minimum for home health aides.

How do I keep my HHA certificate current? What are the yearly requirements?

AHCA guidelines require that all Home Health Aides must complete an HIV/AIDS healthcare training course every 12 months. HHAs are also required to maintain a current certificate in CPR. Home health aides employed by Medicare and Medicaid home health agencies are required to have a total of 12 hours of in-service training CEUs during a 12-month period. The HIV/AIDS training and CPR training may be counted toward meeting the 12-hour requirement of CEU training.

Southern Technical Institute offers online and in-class healthcare training CEUs that are approved through such agencies as CE-Broker, Florida Board of Nursing, and Florida Department of Elder Affairs. We offer a variety of in-service CEU training courses that include topics such as HIV/AIDS, Med Tech, Alzheimer’s, Prevention of Medical Errors, and Domestic Violence, plus many more.

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