A CNA certification is the key to an exciting, fulfilling career in the nursing field. If you want to work in the medical field, but feel that it takes too long and you do not have the time, then this might just be what you need. CNA certification varies by state and there are tons of certified nursing assistant classes available in your area or even online. You can jump start a brand new career and become a certified nursing assistant faster and easier than you may think.
Jobs and Responsibilities
Certified nursing assistants are often needed in places like clinics, extended care facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes where daily routine care is essential. A CNA is expected to assist a registered nurse (RN) with his or her day-to-day care giving duties. The daily duties of a certified nursing assistant span a wide variety of special needs.
Clear communication between healthcare providers, patients, relatives, and visitors is a very important aspect of CNA job description. They are also responsible for the basic personal needs of patients, like feeding, grooming, assisting in general movement and exercise, and adjusting living conditions to the preferences of the patient. Proper sanitation to prevent infection, and keeping track of and reporting vital signs and patient progression are also essential CNA duties.
CNA Certification Requirements
In order to obtain a certified nursing assistant position you must first obtain the appropriate CNA certification for your state, or for the state in which you intend to work. Becoming certified consists of completing an approved training course and passing a competency exam. While the specifics may vary from state to state, the basic requirements are generally very similar. You can expect to undergo at least 75 hours of a state-approved training session and often times a physical examination is required as well.
Certified Nursing Assistant Programs and Training
No matter what area you are in, there are locations offering training all across the U.S. from California to NC. Many community colleges, hospitals, and specialized CNA schools, as well as the Red Cross CNA training, offer programs for CNA certification.
Alabama and California CNA Courses
Courses are available at Caroll Place Nurse Aide Program, Gadsen State Community College, and Reid State Technical College in Alabama. The 75-hour Alabama courses can be completed in four to six weeks. Find more information about Reid State College’s nursing assistant program, including a downloadable application, at http://www.rstc.edu/NursingAssistant.html.
The Aide and Technician Certification Section (ATCS) of the California Department of Public Health is responsible for approving nursing assistant programs. To be approved a program must have 50 hours of in-class theory and discussion and 100 hours of hands-on clinical training. Make sure a program has been ATCS-approved before investing any of your time and money into it. The following schools and facilities offer ATCS-approved CNA certification programs: Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, the American Red Cross in Inglewood and Los Angeles, the Nursing Learning Center in Long Beach, and Palo Verde College in Blythe.
Florida CNA Courses
In Florida, a nursing assistant student can actually hold a CNA position while still in training as long as the student passes the Florida CNA exam within 120 days of taking the position. Florida has numerous facilities offering CNA certification programs. Santa Fe Community College, Dixie County High School, Gadsden Technical Institute, the Educational Services for Health Occupations in West Palm Beach, and the Wakulla Adult and Community Education Center are among the abundant list.
East Coast CNA Courses
To be state-approved, courses in Michigan must be at least 75 hours in length. Also, any CNA in Michigan who is employed, has received an offer for employment, or obtains employment within one year of passing the competency exam is eligible for reimbursement of all costs related to CNA training. Gratiot Technical Education Center (GTEC), Walker Medical Instructional Services, and Lake Michigan College all offer approved programs in MI.
CNA training is not required in North Carolina, but it is highly recommended in order to gain the necessary CNA skills to excel at the job. To be approved, a NC program must feature a minimum of 75 hours of course work. Some state-approved programs are offered at Broughton Hospital in Morganton, Davidson County Community College in Lexington, Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, and Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh.
Texas CNA Courses
Completing a state-approved training program is required in Texas to become a CNA. As a CNA in Texas, you will work closely under the authority of a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) or registered nurse (RN). Texas, like Florida, is another state that is heavily populated with CNA certification facilities. State-approved courses are offered at Career Point College in San Antonio, Kaplan College, and the South Texas Vocational Institutes located in Brownsville, McAllen, and Weslaco.
Any of these accredited programs will help you prepare for the final qualifying test by blending traditional course work, hands-on clinical experience, and laboratory studies and experiments. You probably want to get your career going as soon as possible, so you may be wondering, “How long does it take to get a CNA certification?” Programs usually require around 200 to 230 hours of course work which is typically completed over a two to four month period. Preparation for and administration of the exam brings the expected length of time required for completion to between one and six months depending on the nature of the program.
In your CNA certification training you can expect to cover the following subjects: anatomy and physiology, blood testing, body mechanics, client rights, dementia, infection control, medical terminology, and proper nutrition. You will learn the proper way to handle patients, medical information, and materials. Hands-on experience and exposure to the industry and its inner workings will not only prepare you for the CNA certification examination, but it will also help ease you into what you can expect out of the actual job.
Testing and CNA Certification
The official CNA certification exam, the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP), tests on oral, skill, and written qualifications. The oral section can be taken in English or Spanish and covers ten basic comprehension inquiries and a set of multiple choice questions. The skills test allows the student to demonstrate his or her ability to perform the basic tasks required by any CNA. The written section is a set of multiple choice questions testing the basic skills and knowledge learned throughout training.
Upon passing the certified nursing assistant exam, you will be assigned a license number that allows you to work independently anywhere where a CNA may be needed. It is advisable to take at least one practice exam before tackling the real thing. Ask your instructors and/or go online for study guide and sample test material. Have a friend administer the oral portion so you can get a feel for what taking an oral exam will be like and practice talking about the material in a clear and cohesive manner.
Employment and Expected Salary
A huge projected growth in the need for CNAs over the coming years is due to the baby boomer generation. 2008 to 2018 shows a 19 percent rise in CNA careers as the baby boomer generation enters senior citizenship. In 2009, the median yearly of a CNA salary was reported to be $24,040.
Since certification and requirements vary by state, your CNA certification is only valid in the state in which it was obtained. If you wish to relocate, you must pass the CNA certification test in the new state in order to transfer your license to your new place of residence. You are not required to take the course over again for a simple relocation.
According to Federal regulations, you must also work for at least eight hours with pay with less than a two-year break in paid work for your license to remain active. Verification of employment is required to keep your status active. Five years without employment will result in the expiration of your license and retaking the CNA certification course and exam is required for renewal.
Becoming a CNA is a great entry-level position to the nursing field. Many nursing assistants use this position as an intermediary position while they are undergoing training as nursing students. The paid position can help deflect the cost of further schooling while simultaneously providing much-needed experience in the industry. It all starts with a simple application, so start yours today to get one step closer to your CNA certification.