Is There a Difference Between CNAs and HHAs?

Although there are many similarities between CNAs and HHAs, some differences can be found in training requirements, job responsibilities and work environments.
Is There a Difference Between CNAs and HHAs?

If you have decided to become a CNA, you may have heard the term HHA used by college professors or fellow students. HHA is short for home health aide, and it is a career that is very similar to that of a certified nursing assistant. However, there are differences between these two professions, and we are going to explore the main differences in the section below.

Training Requirements

First of all, the training requirements for CNAs and HHAs differ quite a bit depending on the state where you wish to work. All states require prospective CNAs to obtain training through a community college, trade school or on-the-job before they can become certified. However, some states do not require this of aspiring HHAs.

States that do not require formal training for HHAs typically provide basic on-the-job training for new employees. On the other hand, some states do require formal training for HHAs, and some states even require HHA students to earn CNA certification before they can become certified as home health aides.

Typical Work Environments

Perhaps the biggest difference between certified nursing assistants and home health aides is where they are qualified to work. Home health aides are only able to work in the homes of their patients. However, nursing assistants can work in a much larger variety of work environments. In fact, depending on your qualifications as a CNA, you can choose to work in any one of the following medical facilities.

  • Nursing Homes
  • Adult Daycare Centers
  • Hospice Care Centers
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Private, Public and Specialty Hospitals

Common Job Responsibilities

There are both similarities and differences between the job responsibilities of CNAs and HHAs. Of course, this depends on where you choose to work and whether or not you have any specialty certifications. Both positions require employees to ensure that patients are clean, comfortable and well-fed. Both CNAs and HHAs must maintain a clean environment for patients as well.

Other similar responsibilities include recording vital signs, reporting changes in patients' conditions and organizing extracurricular activities for patients. However, CNAs may perform more medical-related tasks such as administering medication, assisting during examinations and changing dressings. HHAs, on the other hand, often perform more personal activities such as running errands, cleaning homes and preparing meals.

Average Yearly Salaries

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there is a slight difference between the mean yearly wages of CNAs and HHAs. During the year 2019, CNAs earned a mean wage of $29,640 per year, while HHAs earned $25,280.

With the Baby Boomer generation reaching their senior years, both of these careers are in high demand all across the country. This demand is expected to continue for several years. The U.S. Department of Labor expects the overall employment of CNAs to grow 8% from 2019 to 2029 and of HHAs by 34 percent during the same period!

Cross Certifications

One of the best things about choosing to become a CNA is that you can opt to earn HHA certification if you wish. Many CNA schools even include home health care training in their programs. As stated above, some states also require HHA students to complete CNA training. Of course, this can significantly broaden your job opportunities after graduation.


Although there are many similarities between CNAs and HHAs, some differences can be found in training requirements, job responsibilities and work environments.

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