What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?
Certified Nursing Assistants work on the frontline of patient care. They work under the supervision of qualified nurses and provide daily living care to the patients. They perform a vital role in patient care and management. To become a CNA one must undergo CNA Training at a state approved education provider and pass the CNA certification test.
CNA Training Classes
These are classes that prepare you to take the CNA Certification Exam. Usually, you will be expected to undergo around 100 to 180 hours of training depending on the requirements in your state. There are a variety of skills that are taught during these classes. The training course includes classroom learning, the practicing of skills as well as hands on clinical experience. The theory part includes basic biology and anatomy studies as well as an introduction to patient care. During the hands on training you will learn exactly how to perform all the duties that will be expected of you as a CNA.
CNA Classes are available through a number of different places as outlines in our CNA Classes Guide. In short you can get CNA training from Hospitals, Nursing homes, Vocational colleges, Community colleges and training centres provided they are accredited by the state board.
How to Become A Certified Nursing Assistant
There are a significant number of CNA Training options available these days:
CNA Training in Nursing Homes
This is the second most popular option after community college for getting trained. Nursing homes usually offer free training to combat nursing staff shortages. They offer training with the condition that you continue to work for them for a number of months after getting certified. Many nursing homes also offer paid for courses and are a better alternative to college training since it is more hands on.
Red Cross CNA Training
The Red Cross offers one of the best training options available in the United States. Through its chapters located throughout the country, it offers one of the most thorough and properly recognized CNA course available today. To see if there is a training-centre near your area see our list of Red Cross CNA Training chapters
CNA Training Online
A few colleges offer the theoretical part of nurse aide training online. There is no way you can learn the full course online as you would have no hands on experience. If you find a website offering full training online, be wary, since it is very likely that it isn’t accredited by your state. For a detailed look at this check out our post on Online CNA Training
CNA Certification Exam
After completing the CNA Training course, you will be eligible for the state CNA certification exam. The certification exam is divided into two parts. The first part is the written exam. This is usually in multiple choice formats and will cover the theoretical part of your CNA training studies.
The second part of the exam is the skills portion. You will be expected to perform patient care skills on a test patient while the exam invigilator will judge you based on how well you do.
Benefits of CNA Training
One of the most important benefits of CNA training is the fact that it sets you up for a very rewarding career. The CNA Salary structure isn’t too bad and you can even choose to become a nursing assistant as a full time career
Becoming a CNA allows you to break into the medical field. There are a lot of vertical career upgrades you could make down the line. You could undertake LPN Training and become a licensed practical nurse or even end up becoming a physician’s assistant.
If you’ve already set your mind to becoming a nurse, becoming a CNA provides you with a short test to see if you’re up for it. Some colleges also require you to be a CNA before they admit you into their nursing program.
Getting a Job as a Certified Nursing Assistant
In most states these days there is a distinct shortage of nursing staff in medical facilities.(based on this CNA Report) Getting a job as a CNA should be relatively easy if you apply to the right places and prepare well for your interviews. We have a section on preparing for your job interview.
If you’ve taken the option of getting trained at a nursing home, it should be easy to continue working at the same facility.
You could work either on contract or as a part time nurse whereby you are called by various facilities during nursing shortages.
The Nurse Aide Salary Structure
In general nurse aides can expect to make $11 to $15 an hour at any medical facility they work in. If you end up working in private facilities the pay may be relatively higher.
The salary depends on the state you are in and may be higher for states like Washington and New York. We will be publishing a salary structure for all states soon.