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CNA vs. HHA – An Overview

In the field of medicine, both CNA and HHA profiles are considered important. Multiple job opportunities are available for both certified nursing assistants and home health aides. Students often get confused whether to choose HHA or CNA as their career. Though both the professionals directly deal with the patients, but there are some key differences between both the designations. The following are the basic differences between both the positions. Go through it to know which one would be apt career for you.

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The program period for CNAs is longer as compared to the HHAs. In most of the states of the US, the HHAs need no certified program, but CNAs must undergo program and certification from an authorized program. Certified nurse aides must also undergo supervised clinical experience and they must also pass a state examination.

Roles and Duties

An HHA provides basic health care service to the patients whereas a CNA offers in-depth medical assistance and also has the right to perform limited medical procedures. Both HHA and CNA perform duties such as changing the bed for the patients, taking care of their everyday food intake, supporting the ill with their basic chores like walking, changing dress, bathing, using the restroom, etc. An HHA, in addition to the basic medical assistance, provides services such as going to the grocery store, buying the medicines and they also do the laundry for the patients.

A CNA along with performing services such as cleaning the room, providing meals for the patients, also take care of the medical equipment associated with the patients like the drips, oxygen supply, and more. They can also carry out certain medical procedures such as changing the bandage, dressing for the sutures and more.


CNAs require state-issued certificate to practice in the field of medicine. The program curriculum for a nurse aide also includes certain aspects of HHA program. For an HHA, certification is not mandatory in most of the US states. However, they can go for MACE certification to get better payment and assured jobs.

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Work Environment and Scope

Both CNAs and HHAs offer medical assistance to the patients at home and at the day care centers. However, the scope and job opportunities for CNA professionals are more as compared to the HHAs. A CNA can also work in hospitals, nursing homes, residential care facilities, assisted living centers, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, clinics, etc.

Career Growth

The career growth for a CNA is noteworthy as compared to that of an HHA. A CNA can do career development courses to increase their profile as a Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse or a CNA Instructor. An HHA can experience career growth by attending HHA professional program program.


Since nursing assistants hold certification and shoulder many responsibilities, their salary is more as compared to the HHAs. As per the reports of, the median pay for a home health aide is between $18,043 and $31,764 (October 2017), and for a CNA, it is at least 30% more.

The above information will help you decide whether to become a CNA or an HHA.