In-Home Care Nurse Career Guide 2022

Home health nursing is an incredibly rewarding career field full of diverse opportunities. From assessing patients' medical needs and administering treatments, to offering support and providing education, there's something for everyone.

In home care nurse - picture of a nurse caring for a patient at home.

Home health nursing, or an in-home care nurse, is an amazing career for those who want to make a difference in patients’ lives. In-home care nursing allows you to work one-on-one with patients in their homes, providing them with the care and support they need to recover and maintain their health. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in-home health nursing, read on for more information about what this job entails, the necessary qualifications, and the optimistic job outlook.

Table of contents


  • Home health or in-home care nursing allows registered nurses to provide medical treatments and interventions in the homes of patients.
  • The career outlook for in-home care nurses is positive with a 25% expected growth over the next 10 years, and an average annual salary of $87,359 
  • You do not need to have a bachelor’s degree to be a home health nurse, but it will help advance your career and provide greater opportunities and earnings over the course of your career. 

In-Home Care Nurse Career Guide 2022 - a picture of a nurse helping a patient down the stairs.








What is home health? 

Home health care covers a lot of ground. It can be any kind of health service that you need in your home to treat an illness, injury, or condition. Home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and often just as good as what you get in the hospital or from a skilled nursing facility (SNF).

Home health care is synonymous with in-home care, both terms can be used interchangeably (same as these terms as well: Medicare-certified home health care, intermittent skilled care, or visiting nurse services). 

What is an in-home care nurse (aka a home health nurse)?

Home health nurses offer an invaluable service to their patients and the wider medical community. Home health nurses are specialized medical professionals whose job it is to provide medical care to individuals in their homes, either as part of a prescribed course of treatment or as a preventative measure. 

What do in-home care nurses do? 

If you choose to work as an in-home care nurse, there is a lot of flexibility in terms of patients and specialties. You can visit multiple patients each day or focus on one long-term patient. You can also specialize in one area or select several areas to focus on, such as gerontology, pediatrics, medical or surgical nursing, community or public health nursing, and psychiatric or mental health nursing. 

Home health offers personalized care plans tailored to meet each individual’s needs while providing the opportunity to remain in the environment they know best – home. 

It is important to note that the type of care a home health nurse can provide is based on their credentials. For instance, a registered nurse (RN) will have different abilities, limitations, and restrictions than a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) or a nurse assistant (NA), but all three are capable of providing in-home nursing care. 

Depending on licensure, in-home nurse care can provide a wide range of services, such as: 

  • Assistance with activities of daily living
  • Wound care (pressure sores or surgical wounds)
  • Nursing interventions/Skilled nursing care
  • Helping patients with mobility issues 
  • Developing medication management plans
  • Medial monitoring and treatments
  • Home health aide services 
  • Medical social work
  • Educate and counsel patients and family members on topics such as nutrition, basic nursing skills, and everyday life support 
  • And many other duties

In-home care nurses aim to improve the quality of life and patient outcome. With in-home care becoming increasingly important in today’s world, the expertise of in-home care nurses is more valuable than ever before.

The objectives of an in-home health nurse:

  • Heal
  • Maintain or improve the level of function
  • Prolong mental/physical decline
  • Recover independence

In-Home Care Nurse Career Guide 2022 - a picture of a nurse documenting in front of a patient.








How to become an in-home care nurse

Educational requirements to be a home health nurse

The education required to become a home health nurse includes either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited university or a diploma from a credible nursing program. Some nurses choose to attend a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) for additional or specialized training which could really have a large impact on career opportunities and earnings. 

Work experience necessary to become an in-home care nurse

Though not required, in-home care nurses will benefit from several years of experience working in the field before committing to becoming an in-home care nurse. An in-home care nurse needs to know what to do and how to do it alone – because it is likely that they will be the only medical professional around if a medical emergency should arise. Therefore, they need experience, technical skill, and knowledge to navigate these, often, unpredictable assignments.

Certifications needed to be a home health nurse

Generally, home health nurses must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and obtain their RN license from the state board of nursing. Additionally, home health nurses can opt to become certified in specialty areas such as geriatrics, hospice care, and long-term care, requiring additional professional certifications. 

However, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) in order to practice as an in-home care nurse. And Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs) can obtain certification but are unlicensed. 

Skills required to be a home health nurse

  • Positive attitude
  • Able to work alone
  • Excellent problem solving
  • Integrity
  • Endurance 
  • Compassion
  • Communication
  • Documentation
  • Detail-oriented 
  • Interpersonal skills

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Career outlook for home health registered nurses

The job growth for in-home nursing is projected to be around 25% over the next ten years. The annual salaries in the US for home health nurses range from as low as $39,000 to as high as $143,500. The average salary falls between $67,000 (25th percentile) and $100,000 (75th percentile), but top earners make upwards of  $124,900 (90th percentile). Your potential earnings depend on various factors such as location and experience level; however, there may be many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level.

Average annual salary for an in-home care nurse with an RN license:

Salary range for in-home care nurses with an RN license: 

Top 5 states with the highest average annual salary for in-home care nurses

  1. California – $101,520
  2. Hawaii – $94,000
  3. District of Colombia – $86,480
  4. Massachusetts – $84,600
  5. Oregon – $84,600

Top 10 cities with the highest annual salary for in-home care nurses

  1. Green River, WY – $108,903
  2. Atkinson, NE – $108,023
  3. San Francisco – $100,735
  4. Bolinas, CA – $100, 429
  5. Cool Valley, MO – $100, 279
  6. Washington, DC – $99,939
  7. Fremont, CA – $98,512
  8. Los Angeles, CA – $98,489
  9. Brownsboro, TX – $98,327
  10. Jersey City, NJ – $98,325

Source: ZipRecruiter; BLS; Vivian 

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The different types of in-home care nursing careers available

Home health nursing is an incredibly rewarding career field full of diverse opportunities. From assessing patients’ medical needs and administering treatments, to offering support and providing education, there’s something for everyone. Generally, the three main types of home health nurses are Online Nurse Consultants, Home Health Care Nurses, and Geriatric Care Managers. Online Nurse Consultants offer invaluable resources such as patient symptom education and preventive care advice through virtual visits or video calls. Home Health Care Nurses use a hands-on approach to address comprehensive healthcare specific to each individual they visit. This includes assessment and monitoring of patients, medication management, wound care, and more. Finally, Geriatric Care Managers provide a holistic approach to care by taking into account all aspects of their elderly clients’ lives including social stressors, physical activities mandates, financial status–you name it! In-home nursing is a truly special calling indeed—who wouldn’t want to help those in need from the comfort of their homes?

The benefits of working as an in-home care nurse

Working as a home health nurse offers numerous benefits, both personal and professional. It allows you to develop relationships with patients and their families that extend beyond the typical visit since you become part of the family. You can also see progress over the course of care instead of discharging a patient when they are no longer acutely affected. As an in-home care nurse, you can work with fewer staff members than when in a hospital setting, giving you more autonomy and allowing you to take leadership roles. Additionally, there is job security in working as a home health nurse since there will always be a need for these services. Home health nursing allows nurses to provide compassionate care while making an impact on the lives of patients and their families without sacrificing one’s career goals or growth opportunities.

  • More career opportunities and flexibility
  • More independence
  • Rewarding relationships with patients 
  • Larger impact on individual patients

In-Home Care Nurse Career Guide 2022 - a picture of a nurse reviewing medicine with a patient.








The challenges of working as an in-home care nurse

Working as a home health nurse can be incredibly rewarding, however, it also presents some major challenges. Home health nurses must have exceptional organizational skills, as they are often managing multiple patients in different locations on their own with limited access to other healthcare personnel. Additionally, they must be prepared to respond to emergency situations quickly and efficiently while working in unpredictable environments such as private residences or outdoor settings. Finally, home health nurses need to face the responsibility of providing safe and trusted care while respecting the patient’s privacy and dignity in their own physical space. It is an honor and privilege to work alongside clients providing them with safe and quality care in the comfort of their own homes.

How to find a job as a home health nurse

Being a home health nurse can be a rewarding career, as you have the ability to help people within their own homes. Finding the right job for you can take some time, but there are a few key steps to help get you started. Think about what areas you’d be interested in specializing in and what type of service or patient population you prefer to work with. It’s also important to network and make connections with peers or supervisors who may be aware of suitable job openings. Make sure your resume is up-to-date, highlighting your experience while ensuring it looks professional and polished. You should also research job openings online, as many hiring companies will utilize internet postings – offering valuable insight into current opportunities that may not be marketed through traditional platforms. If all else fails, don’t forget the power of patience – often times great jobs just need the right applicant to step forward! With these tips in mind, finding a role as a home health nurse can become one step closer to reality.

In-Home Care Nurse Career Guide 2022 - a picture of a nurse putting a pressure cuff on an elderly patient.









Home health nurses are an important part of the healthcare system. They provide critical care to patients in their own homes and help them recover from illness or injury. The education and training required to become a home health nurse could be rigorous, but the benefits of this career are many. Home health nurses enjoy a flexible work schedule, the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives, and job security. However, working as a home health nurse can also be challenging. Nurses must be able to manage difficult situations and communicate effectively with patients and their families. If you are interested in becoming a home health nurse, there are many resources available to help you find a job in this field.


1. Can home health nurses work with a healthcare facility?

Yes. There really is a lot of flexibility for in-home nurses, especially those with an RN license. You will be able to practice in just about any other healthcare setting where other registered nurses are employed. 

2. Do I need a bachelor’s degree to be a home health nurse? 

While it will certainly help your career opportunities and earnings, you do not need a bachelor’s degree to become a home health nurse. However, you will still need to obtain your RN license from the state in which you practice. LPNs and CNAs are also eligible to become in-home care nurses, however, they will also need to have their respective credentials from their practicing state, and their scope of practice will be limited based on their credentials. 

3. Different types of in-home nursing care:

  • Non-medical personal care (personal care and companionship): 
    • Personal care professionals help with regular activities of living, such as cooking and cleaning. They are not medical personnel but are educated to lend a hand with necessary everyday tasks for those who have difficulty completing them independently because of chronic illness, age, or disability.
      • Assistance with self-care, such as grooming, bathing, dressing, and using the toilet
      • Enabling safety at home by assisting with ambulation, transfer (eg, from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to toilet), and fall prevention
      • Assistance with meal planning and preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, errands, medication reminders, and escorting to appointments
      • Companionship and engaging in hobbies and activities
      • Supervision for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
    • Also known as: non-medical care, home health aide services, senior care, homemaker care, assistive care, or companion care
  • Private duty nursing care:
    • Home nursing care, which is sometimes called long-term nursing or home-based skilled nursing, helps seniors who have a chronic condition or disability. The people who provide this kind of care in someone’s home are RNs (registered nurses) and LPNs (licensed practical nurses). In addition to helping with everyday tasks like eating and bathing, they often give medical care that requires training, like dressing a wound or giving shots. They also may check things like vital signs regularly.
      • Care for diseases and conditions such as Traumatic brain injury (TBI), Spinal cord injury (SCI), ALS, MS
      • Ventilator care
      • Tracheostomy care
      • Monitoring vital signs
      • Administering medications
      • Ostomy/gastrostomy care
      • Feeding tube care
      • Catheter care  
    • Also known as: home-based skilled nursing, long-term nursing care, catastrophic care, tracheostomy care, ventilator care, nursing care, shift nursing, hourly nursing, or adult nursing
  • Home health care
    • Home health care is similar to nursing care in that it helps patients with short-term illnesses or injuries, but the focus is on allowing them to live independently again. Home health care professionals can include: 
      • Short-term nursing services
      • Physical therapy
      • Occupational therapy
      • Speech-language pathology
      • Medical social work
      • Home health aide services
      • physician assistants 
    • Also known as: medicare-certified home health care, intermittent skilled care, or visiting nurse services.
  • Hospice and Palliative care
    • Care for pain and relief of symptoms for any stage of illness, including emotional and spiritual care at the end of life. 

Next steps


Home health nursing organizations

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