CNA? or HHA?

Certified Nursing Assistant or Home Health Aide? Which is more appropriate? It depends.

When I worked in home care in a different state, I was trained and certified as a Home Health Aide. Since I was not 'assisting nurses' but rather providing private care, a CNA designation seemed less relevant.

Florida, where I live, recognizes that there are HHA's in the workforce, but it does not test or license them. Florida only requires that some appropriate but unregulated training be given, by agencies themselves, for HHA's that they place.

CNA licensing, however, includes coursework and hands-on training that generally includes an internship in a nursing home, a law enforcement background check, and a state licensing exam....
The exam includes both a written section plus a hands-on test of patient care activities. There are also annual continuing education and training requirements. For those applicants that don't have a long enough residency in Florida, the background check also includes an FBI check.

Florida also provides useful information about each currently licensed CNA on its Department of Health website, including expiration date of the license and whether there are any disciplinary actions against the CNA. If you are hiring a CNA, ask for their license number and check them out through the website. Those in other states should see if their state has a similar online database of CNA's, and if not, phone the state licensing board with the inquiry, instead.

Since CNA license holders can work as HHA's in Florida, but not the other way around, it is helpful for caregivers to maintain a CNA license. It's useful because interested employers can quickly and easily check on us and be assured that we have been trained, tested, and have undergone the background check.


  1. On the application for for HHA provider number it says to send a copy of your HHA license.My question is do I need to get a license?Where I have my HHA certificate?

  2. I would just include a copy of your HHA certificate, especially if the application is for work in the same state where you received your certificate.

    If you are applying for work in a different state, you should probably check the new state's rules, since HHA regulations vary by state. Some states test and issue certifications for HHA's, while others leave that to agencies.