If you’ve landed on this page, then chances are you’re considering the idea of becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Well, if so, then congratulations on a great career choice! Not only does being a CNA provide you great benefits, but it also fulfills your dream to help those in need and gives you better career opportunities. But before we go on and give you further information on how to become a certified nursing assistance, let’s first define what CNA really means.
What is a CNA?
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a vital member of healthcare industry. As the name implies, a CNA assists the nurse or other healthcare members in performing their duties, including handling instruments, making beds, keeping their patients comfortable, bathing them, feeding them, and moving them in bed. Often, a CNA is also responsible in taking the vital signs and weight measurements of patients. In addition, a CNA also helps in dispensing medication and giving emotional support to patients. However, before you can do all these responsibilities, you must first study and earn your certification for nursing assistants.
How to Become a CNA?
Enrolling to nursing assistant course doesn’t require complicated requirements. Typically, you’re only required to have a high school diploma or a GED to be able to register in the course. In addition, you must also pass a background and health screening, and must be in proper age (18 years or older) to register. Once you meet all these criteria, you can then choose and enroll to any school of your choice that offers CNA classes. Some schools offer online courses, where you can study even while you’re at the comfort of your own home. This is a great choice if you have a job as the schedule is more flexible.
Once you completed the course, you will then need to take the state certification test and pay all the necessary testing fees. The exam usually consists of two parts – the theoretical portion and the practical portion. The theoretical part is written and has several multiple questions that you need to answer. The practical part requires you to perform certain skills that as if you’re already a real CNA. Once you’ve passed the exam, you can then go out and apply for a job in the industry that you like to share your expertise.
Length and Cost of CNA Training
On the whole, it takes about a year or two to complete the training and gain the necessary certification to become a CNA. But the amount it takes to complete the program depends on the course and your schedule – whether you take it part-time or full-time. The shortest courses usually take about 3 to 6 weeks to complete. Other programs may last between 6 and 12 months, it depends. Of course, the longer the course, the more you get exposed and become better in the field.
The cost of training may also vary depending on the place you live in and the length of the program, but it usually between $400- $3,000.
Where can CNAs work?
The great thing about being a CNA is you’re able to work in a variety of healthcare settings, which include the following:
- Doctors offices
- Medical clinics
- Nursing homes
- Urgent care centers
- Community residences
- Home healthcare agencies
- Schools and universities
- Federal agencies
Opportunities for Advancement
As mentioned, becoming a certified nursing assistant offers a lot of great opportunities. By working in hospitals or other clinical settings, you can gain more knowledge and skills that would really be helpful in your future. You can definitely use them to apply for much higher positions, such as a CNA head or better yet, you can decide to continue your education and become an LPN or an RN.
Salary and Job Outlook
The CNA pay per hour was $12.51 in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). Typically, salary ranged from $18,600 – $35, 780. The earnings paid depend on the location where the CNAs work, their level of responsibility, as well as their educational background.
Indeed, being a CNA is a great and rewarding career, especially for those who are interested in the health industry. The BLS projects a 21 percent increase in the employment of nursing assistants and orderlies from 2012 to 2022.