How to Become a Home Health Nurse: Salary and Job Description

Nurse and patient smilingA home health nurse provides medical care in the patient’s own home. While most work primarily with older adults, many home health nurses sometimes work with children or younger adults with developmental or mobility issues.


Table of Contents
How to Become a Home Health Nurse
Education Requirements
Home Health Nurse Job Description
Personality Traits
Career Options
Home Health Nurse Certification
Professional Organizations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide information specific to the field of home health nurses but the organization does provide an overview of registered nurses.

Nurse Salary and Employment Data

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Source: BLS Wage Data by Area and Occupation. * or ** indicate insignificant or unavailable data.

Level of Education Required    Associate degree or Bachelor Degree in Nursing
Board Examinations needed    NCLEX-RN, RN-BC
Average Salary $55,243
# of Jobs (2012) 2,712,000
Job Outlook (2012 to 2022) 19% growth

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Salary information courtesy of Healthcare Salaries

How to become a home health nurse

To become a home health nurse, the candidate:

  • Must have an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
  • May pursue additional education in areas of medicine relevant to home health care, such as advanced courses in cancer care or Alzheimer’s disease

Education requirements

To become a home health nurse, one must get an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Wilkes RN to MS


Job description

The home health nurse provides healthcare in patients’ homes and assumes full responsibility for the health of each patient. The home health nurse makes an initial evaluation of the patient as needed and re-evaluates the patient’s condition regularly. The nurse provides regular nursing services, treatments and diagnostic procedures under the direction of the patient’s physician. The nurse observes and reports symptoms, reactions to treatments, non-compliance with drug regimens and changes in the patient’s physical or emotional state.

The home health nurse will initiate preventative and rehabilitative nursing procedures as needed for patient health and safety. The nurse may coordinate services between other agencies and healthcare providers as needed.

Home Health Nurse Personality Traits:

Personality traits of a home health nurse include:

  • Independent
  • Patient
  • Responsible

Home health nurses may report directly to the patient’s doctor or the supervisor of a home health agency.

Career options

Home health nurses work primarily:

  • In private practice at patients’ homes
  • As part of a home health agency, providing short- or long-term care in patient homes
  • As part of a hospital, providing short-term recovery care to patients

According to Healthcare Salaries, the annual salary for a home health nurse ranges from $37,779 to $73,708, with an average salary of $55,243. Pay is commensurate with experience.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not produce statistics regarding employment for home health nurses but BLS does expect the number of RN jobs to increase by 19 percent between 2012 and 2022.

A home health nurse may work as an independent contractor but must adhere to the state’s nursing standards.

Certification information

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has retired the home health nursing certification exam. Nurses who had already received certification may renew their certificate every five years.

Professional organizations

Home Healthcare Nurses Association: