All CNA classes are important. Whether it is learning about medical terms or proper administration of medication or lifting techniques, you must pay attention. Becoming a certified nursing assistant or CNA is the easiest entry-level position to pursue a career in healthcare. Training, which includes attending CNA classes and completing internships, can be completed in a matter of weeks or several months. Passing the exam to finally become “certified” means demonstrating your knowledge and skills in patient care. Although many of the tasks assigned to CNAs are common sense and can actually be learned on the job, caring for patients demands a high sense of professionalism and dedication. And it requires a license to be able to practice your profession. Thus, the necessity to enrol in and complete CNA training.
How to become a CNA
With a high school diploma or a GED equivalent, you can sign up for CNA training classes at a community college, technical or vocational school. CNA classes are divided into instructional sessions and hands-on or clinical sessions. For convenience, there are CNA classes online where students can complete the theoretical portion of the training. Following this, arrangements are made so they take their internship at local medical facilities. Usually the requirement is between 100 to 180 hours of training. Once both are completed, the next step is to sit for the certification exam that is divided into two parts: the written or oral exam and the hands-on demonstration to measure not only the skills but also the abilities of the applicant. The nurse aide assessment exam is the final test, passage of which will mean your inclusion in the Nurse Aide Registry of your state. From here on, you will be eligible for employment in hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities or medical clinics.
Where to get training
Most CNA schools will charge a tuition, that will depend on the length of the program and the kind of training it offers. Online CNA classes will usually cost less, not just in terms of tuition but also in expenses for transportation. Or you may check out offerings of free CNA classes in your area. Some hospitals or healthcare facilities may offer CNA programs for free because you will be directly hired for the job. Local communities may likewise offer free classes to train residents and prepare them for employment. Free CNA classes are not necessarily inferior to training that is paid. Sometimes, even the Red Cross may offer free classes for nursing assistants.
One of the most sought-after programs is the Red Cross CNA classes. Red Cross with its many chapters around the country, has been known to develop highly skilled and competent nurse aides. Their training is extremely intensive and classes are held the whole day. Majority of the time is spent on hands-on training providing its graduates with invaluable experience and confidence. Employers, too, put a premium on applicants with Red Cross training.
Find accredited programs
Accreditation is extremely important when choosing CNA training classes. Among the requirements to qualify for the certification exam is completing accredited CNA training programs. This means a professional body has approved the curriculum offered by a particular school as this meets the standards set by the industry. One of the accreditation bodies is the National Healthcare Association. Do not make the mistake of enrolling with a school that is not accredited for its CNA classes because you may just be wasting both time and money if you do not become eligible for the assessment examination. Remember, you need to be certified to be granted a license to practice your profession.
Six weeks or six months?
CNA classes can be completed in as little a four to six weeks. Or you may find one that runs for six to nine months. Short-term courses will cover the basics and comply with the minimum requirements for class and clinical hours. Volunteering your services at local medical or healthcare facilities will go a long way when you finally look for a job. The more experience you gain, the better your chances of being considered for a position. CNA training that extends for several months usually include more hours for the clinicals. Or they may teach additional skills beyond the basics. Setting career goals will help you decide what kind of CNA training classes to look for. If you’re aiming to start working shortly, then finding a reputable six-week course will be ideal for you. Otherwise, if you can spare more time for studies, and have the funds for a longer course, the months-long training will be useful.
Get ready for testing
Preparing for the nurse aide assessment exam is just as important as paying attention to CNA classes. If you were focused during classes, and review your lessons habitually, the test will be a breeze. The skills demonstration and evaluation is more nerve-wracking for most applicants. That’s where experience comes in handy. Take practice tests for the written portion. This way, you have an idea how the exam goes. And when possible, perfect your skills to be ready for the skills test.
Aside from the knowledge and skills needed by certified nursing assistants, your biggest asset will be having the heart to serve and care for sick people. This is something they can never teach you in class.