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Requirements for an HHA vs. a CNA

A healthcare career comes in many different forms. Home Health Aide (HHA) and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) are two of the most popular forms. But what’s the best choice between an HHA vs. CNA, and how can you benefit from either? 

Here’s everything you need to know about HHA vs. CNA. 

What is the difference between an HHA vs. a CNA

The most significant difference between HHAs and CNAs are responsibilities and requirements. Think of CNAs as the more advanced form of an HHA. That’s because CNAs do everything HHAs do and then some. Because of that, CNAs have higher requirements, including additional training, schooling, etc.

HHA Responsibilities

Being an HHA means providing one on one care for in-home patients. That includes but isn’t limited to the following.

Cleaning: People in need of an HHA may have a difficult time cleaning hard-to-reach areas. As an HHA, it’s your responsibility to step in. 

Groceries and cooking: Shopping for your patient and doing the day-to-day cooking is a big part of most HHA roles. You’ll need to pay special attention to dietary restrictions and provide an average of 2-3 meals daily. 

Emotional Support: HHA’s have to build a rapport with their patients to do their job correctly. That entails bonding with people at the end of their life, knowing that you’ll be constantly needed, and watching someone you admire struggle with everyday things. The emotional support of being an HHA can take a toll, as can any job. 

Basic Medical Monitoring: Another critical task for any HHA is tracking their patients’ vitals, mood, and day-to-day capabilities. This information is provided to a CNA, doctor, etc., to help maintain a care plan. 

CNA Responsibilities

A critical difference between an HHA vs. CNA role is that CNAs aren’t limited to just one patient. The average CNA works in a hospital or other full-service care facility. In addition to HHA responsibilities, a CNAs day consists of monitoring the vitals of multiple patients, administering medicine, and performing more complex medical procedures. 

What are the requirements for an HHA vs. a CNA?

Think of CNAs as the more advanced form of an HHA. That’s because CNAs do everything HHAs do and then some. Because of that, CNAs have higher requirements, including additional training, schooling, etc.

HHA Requirements

HHA requirements vary by state, and each company may have different requirements. In general, the minimum requirement you’ll need is a high school diploma or GED. In some companies, an HHA certification may not be required, but it will certainly make you a more competitive candidate, and many companies will require certification. Additionally, a training course or a certain number of training hours may be required.

CNA Requirements

CNA requirements include schooling, on-the-job training hours, and passing proctored exams. Exact requirements vary by state. Also, you can obtain specialized training to care for patients that need comprehensive care.  

CNA classes are typically 4-8 weeks long, and to get certified, you must pass a written or oral exam, as well as a demonstration exam to ensure you can perform certain duties. This certification will be required to get a job as a CNA. 

Background Checks for HHA & CNA Candidates

Background checks for HHA and CNA candidates are essential to ensuring you hire quality employees. Plus, patients gain confidence in healthcare workers if they know you’ve vetted them. Running home health aide background checks as a standard helps your organization improve word of mouth and attract stellar applications. 

For HHAs, being certified and able to pass background checks makes you a highly competitive candidate. Plus, unlike CNA background check requirements, HHAs rarely undergo thorough checks. That means being an HHA is a bit more obtainable than being a CNA. It also means being HHA certified is a great way to get your foot in the door for a medical career. 


HHA and CNAs make a difference in their patients’ lives. Both options are solid choices for a career in the medical field. However, if you need help determining which is right, start the HHA certification process, as it’s cheaper and less complex than CNA. And remember, becoming a certified HHA makes you a high-value employee. 

For hiring managers, let KarmaCheck help you hire the perfect candidate. Get started today. 


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