Home healthcare workers provide medical care to patients in the comfort of their own homes. The majority of patients are elderly, but healthcare workers also assist people recovering from illnesses or surgery. Home healthcare nurses, or RNs, may prefer the one-on-one atmosphere that the job presents. Salaries in home healthcare jobs, however, may be lower than hospital-based ones.
In 2012, the average salary of a registered nurse was almost $68,000 a year, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But this figure doesn’t account for work setting, a factor that has a lot of bearing on earning potential. A home healthcare nurse is paid a much different wage than one working in a long-term care facility, for example.
A survey published in the October 2011 issue of “Nursing” found that salaries of home healthcare nurses were just under the national average, coming in at almost $61,000 a year. This wage, however, wasn’t the lowest for the occupation. Nurses working in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, earned an average of $55,100 a year, while outpatient services nurses were paid about $56,900 annually. RNs working in hospitals top the list, with an average pay of $65,000 a year.
The path to becoming a home healthcare nurse is a lot like that of any nurse. Start by earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing before sitting for the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN. Passing the exam qualifies you to become a registered nurse. To improve your employment opportunities in home healthcare services, consider sitting for the Home Health Care Nurse certification exam, which is offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
From 2010 to 2020, registered nurses should experience a 26 percent increase in job opportunities, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is much faster than the growth rate of 14 percent expected for all U.S. occupations. The better-than-average prospects have a lot to do with the aging population. As baby boomers age, they’ll demand more healthcare services, driving the growth for this particular occupation -- as well as other roles in the medical industry.
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