Cropped shot of a senior man in a wheelchair and his female nurse at home.

What's the Difference between a HHA and CNA?

Are you wondering what's the difference between a HHA and CNA? Learn more about the steps required to get credentialed in Florida.

Reviewed by

In the healthcare industry, several roles cater to the needs of patients, each with its own set of responsibilities and requirements. Two important positions are Home Health Aides (HHA) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA).

Both roles provide care to people, but they have different job duties and requirements for certification.

In the state of Florida, these distinctions are particularly important to understand for aspiring healthcare professionals. This article explains the main differences between HHAs and CNAs and discusses the specific requirements for getting credentials in Florida.

Are you interested in Florida caregiver training? What if you could get paid to care for your loved one?

Aidaly can help!

Check your eligibility here to see if you qualify to get paid as a family caregiver today.

The Difference between HHA and CNA

Here at some high-level differences between a HHA and CNA.

Job Responsibilities

  • Home Health Aides (HHAs) help patients at home with tasks like bathing, activities of daily living, grooming, eating, and moving around. They may also perform light housekeeping and provide companionship to individuals who require ongoing medical or non-medical assistance.
  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA): CNAs typically work in healthcare facilities, like hospitals, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities. They help patients with hygiene, check vital signs, move patients, and support nurses and medical staff.

Work Settings

  • HHAs: They assist patients in their own homes, providing personalized elder care for those who prefer familiar surroundings or need individual attention.
  • CNAs work in healthcare settings, caring for multiple patients under the supervision of licensed nurses and medical professionals.

Level of Training

  • HHAs: The training for becoming a Home Health Aide is usually less extensive than that of a CNA. Training programs are available through home care agencies, vocational schools, or community colleges.
  • CNAs: To be a Certified Nursing Assistant, you need to finish state-approved training programs. These programs have classroom hours and practical experience.

Requirements to Obtain Credentials in Florida

Find step-by-step information on how to obtain HHA or CNA credentials in Florida.

A home health aide assists with physical therapy.

Home Health Aide (HHA) Requirements:

  • Education: Florida does not have specific educational requirements for HHAs, but most employers prefer candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Training: Prospective HHAs must complete a state-approved training program, which usually lasts around 75 hours, including both classroom and practical instruction.
  • Competency Evaluation: After completing the training, candidates must pass a competency evaluation, which involves demonstrating their skills in front of a qualified instructor.

Once candidates have successfully completed the state-approved training program and passed the competency evaluation, they can apply for their credentials as a Home Health Aide in Florida. The application process typically involves submitting the necessary documentation, such as proof of completion of the training program and passing the competency evaluation. It is important to note that applicants may also need to undergo a background check and provide references from previous employers or instructors.

Once the application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the appropriate authorities, who will verify the information provided and ensure that all requirements have been met. This process may take some time, so it is important for candidates to be patient and follow up with the relevant agencies if necessary.

Once the credentials are approved, candidates can start looking for employment opportunities as Home Health Aides in Florida. There are various settings where HHAs can work, including private homes, assisted living facilities, and hospices. The demand for HHAs is expected to grow in the coming years, as the aging population continues to increase.

As a Home Health Aide, individuals will be responsible for providing basic healthcare services to patients in their homes. This may include assisting with personal hygiene, administering medication, monitoring vital signs, and providing emotional support. It is a rewarding career that allows individuals to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

In order to maintain their credentials, Home Health Aides in Florida are typically required to complete continuing education courses on a regular basis. These courses help to ensure that HHAs stay up-to-date with the latest healthcare practices and regulations. It is important for HHAs to continuously improve their skills and knowledge in order to provide the best possible care to their patients.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Requirements:

  • Education: CNAs don't need a high school diploma, but employers usually prefer candidates who have one.
  • Training: As per Florida regulations, CNAs must complete a state-approved training program consisting of at least 120 hours. This includes a minimum of 40 hours of supervised clinical training.
  • Competency Exam: After completing the training, candidates must pass the Florida CNA state competency exam. The exam consists of a written portion and a skills assessment, evaluating the candidate's ability to perform essential CNA duties.

Once candidates have completed the required training program, they are then required to undergo a competency evaluation. This evaluation is important for certification as it lets candidates demonstrate their skills and knowledge to a qualified instructor.

To become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), a high school diploma is not mandatory, but it is often preferred by employers. Having a diploma demonstrates a certain level of education and commitment to learning, which can be advantageous in the competitive job market.

The state of Florida has specific regulations in place for CNAs. Candidates must complete a state-approved training program that consists of a minimum of 120 hours.

This comprehensive program covers various aspects of nursing assistance, including theoretical knowledge and practical skills. A significant portion of the training, at least 40 hours, is dedicated to supervised clinical training. This hands-on experience allows candidates to apply their knowledge in real-life healthcare settings, preparing them for the challenges they may face in their future careers.

Once the training program is successfully completed, candidates must then pass the Florida CNA state competency exam. This exam is designed to assess the candidate's ability to perform essential CNA duties effectively. It consists of two parts: a written portion and a skills assessment. The written portion evaluates the candidate's understanding of theoretical concepts, while the skills assessment tests their ability to perform practical tasks, such as taking vital signs, assisting with personal hygiene, and transferring patients safely.

Passing the competency exam is a significant milestone for aspiring CNAs. It not only validates their knowledge and skills but also ensures that they meet the standards set by the state of Florida. With their certification in hand, CNAs can confidently pursue employment opportunities in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and home healthcare agencies.

In conclusion, becoming a CNA requires dedication, commitment, and the successful completion of a state-approved training program. By passing the competency evaluation and obtaining certification, CNAs can embark on a rewarding career in the healthcare field, providing essential care and support to those in need.


In summary, while both Home Health Aides (HHA) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) play crucial roles in the healthcare system, their responsibilities, work settings, and training requirements differ significantly.

In Florida, aspiring healthcare professionals interested in pursuing these career paths must meet specific training and certification criteria to become eligible for employment.

By understanding the distinctions between HHAs and CNAs and meeting the necessary requirements, individuals can embark on a rewarding journey of providing compassionate care and support to those in need within the Sunshine State's healthcare landscape.

We jump every hurdle for you. Join Today!