If you've been wondering what all those credential acronyms on caregivers' profiles mean, this brief list explains some of the most common ones, helping you to better understand the experience levels and training each caregiver received. Now let's learn about caregiver alphabet soup!
- HHA = Home Health Aide
Becoming a certified home health aide (HHA or CHHA) is one of the first steps in earning professional caregiving credentials. While state regulations vary (see list of state-by-state training requirements here), the certification process typically includes completing a minimum of 75 hours of training, passing a standardized written test, and an in-person demonstration of associated skills. Caregivers get their training typically through courses offered by the Red Cross, local community colleges or a career training school.
- CNA = Certified Nursing Assistant
Earning a CNA certification is another popular way to receive additional training and earn professional credentials. Training programs are offered at vocational schools, community colleges, and the Red Cross. Similar to HHA requirements, a caregiver typically needs a high school diploma or GED to be accepted into a CNA training program. Once training has been completed, the CNA candidate must pass a written exam to test his or her knowledge and a practical exam to test hands-on nursing skills.
- LPN = Licensed Practical Nurse
A number of our caregivers are LPNs, which stands for Licensed Practical Nurse (called a LVN or Licensed Vocational Nurse in some states). This is a step up the proverbial career ladder from a HHA or CNA, and it does require additional formal training, usually done in one or two years at a community college or vocational school. Becoming an LPN is a step beyond HHA but does not require as much formal education as an RN.
- RN = Registered Nurse
There are two paths to becoming a registered nurse: earning an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) from a community or two-year junior college, or a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) from a four-year college. Upon graduating with a degree, the student must pass a national licensing examination to begin working as a registered nurse.
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