Is HHA the Same as CNA? Key Differences to Help You Land The Right Job

While home health aide and certified nursing assistant often share some responsibilities, they are two distinguished jobs. Find out how they differ and make your right choice with their key differences below.

Is HHA the Same as CNA?
Is HHA the Same as CNA?

HHA vs CNA: What are they?

A home health aide (HHA) cares for people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, cognitive impairments, or age-related issues who live in their own homes. 

HHAs help patients with basic, personal activities so they will be able to remain safely and comfortably at home. HHAs’ duties may include assisting with bathing, dressing, laundry transportation, and other self-care and hygiene needs. 

While HHA jobs focus on providing non-medical care only, some states allow home health aides to provide basic medical services, including administering medications, changing bandages, and checking vital signs. Although home health aides work independently, they work under the supervision of a medical professional, usually a registered nurse. 

HHA vs CNA: What are they?
HHA vs CNA: What are they?

On the other hand, certified nursing assistants (CNA) assist doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers with treatments, procedures, and tests. They are generally more involved in direct patient care and have many responsibilities that make them an integral part of the patient process in healthcare, include:

  • Turning or repositioning patients
  • Gathering supplies for the RN or MD
  • Obtaining vital signs per protocol
  • Documentation of information obtained
  • Stock supplies
  • Prepare rooms for admissions 
  • Dressing wounds
  • Assisting patients with elimination

Unlike HHAs, CNAs usually look after a group of patients rather than individuals.

HHA vs CNA: Education & Certification

CNA educational requirements vary by state but most involve a state-approved training program. This can be offered at a high school, community college, vocational school, or even at a hospital. These CNA training programs are typically 6 to 12 weeks long, in which you’ll learn how to care for patients, basic medical skills, and important ethical and moral understanding.

Aspiring CNAs must pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program examination to become licensed. The test often includes a written or oral exam, as well as a demonstration exam where students show their knowledge and skills to work with real patients. 

HHA vs CNA: Education & Certification
HHA vs CNA: Education & Certification

Considering that, there are various HHA training programs, offered at the local level, or online by some colleges. However, there are no formal educational requirements to become an HHA. Only those who work for certified home health or hospice agencies must complete formal training and pass a standardized test. They will be required to pass the Medication Aide Certification Examination (MACE).

HHA vs CNA: Place of employment

CNAs are able to work in a variety of work environments. Nursing homes and adult care facilities are often the most common places where CNAs are needed. Also, they can work in hospitals, residential care facilities, assisted living centers, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, and clinics. In contrast, most HHAs work for home care agencies in the patient’s home, assisted living centers, or in their apartment in a retirement community. 

HHA vs CNA: Salary & Job opportunities

CNAs are usually paid more than HHAs. On average, a CNA in the US can earn about $29,249/ year, the average salary for top earners can go up to $46,000, compared to $26,036 and $41,000 of HHAs, respectively. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs available for HHAs is expected to increase by 34%, from 2019 to 2029. Whereas, overall employment of CNAs at the same period is expected to grow 8%, which is much lower than that of HHA. 


As the baby-boom generation grows older and the elderly population increases, the demand for those two careers will continue to expand, and you’ll never have to struggle to find a job as HHA/CNA. Hope that this post will help you figure out which one between HHA and CNA suits you the most.