It’s no secret that, despite the recession, healthcare has remained one of the hottest and fastest growing fields; nursing in particular is projected to continue growing through the rest of this decade. A Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA is someone who sees to a patient’s health-related needs while under the supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse. There are openings for CNAs at nursing and assisted-living facilities, as well as hospitals and convalescent homes, and the number of positions is expected to grow.
Certified Nursing Assistant Training
The first step to becoming a CNA is to take the necessary classes to become a Nursing Assistant, keeping in mind that although it is possible to find employment without being certified, certification will mean better pay and more opportunities. A Certified Nursing Assistant program will last anywhere from six weeks to several months. In addition, aspiring CNAs must complete 75 hours of state-approved training. The usual prerequisites for enrolling in CNA courses are having a high school diploma or GED, being at least 18 years of age, and passing a background check.
Certified Nursing Assistant State Exam
After completing the required training, the next step to certification is passing a state competency exam. This test consists of two parts and is meant to judge the candidate’s practical skills as well as the conceptual knowledge he or she has aquired. Applicants who pass this exam can then be listed in their state’s Nurse Aide Registry and are then considered certified.
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Where to take Certified Nursing Assistant classes
There are several options for obtaining CNA training. Some candidates choose to take courses at particular nursing facilities, with an eye to working there once they are certified. The Red Cross also offers CNA classes. However, the most popular options by far are community colleges or vocational schools and online courses.
How to find the best Certified Nursing Assistant programs
Because CNAs must be licensed in the state where they will work, one of the best options for researching schools is to contact the State Nurse Aide Registry and inquire about that state’s particular requirements for becoming certified. Another is to contact professional nursing assistant organizations and check their recommendations, and, of course, an online search will yield results for rankings, reviews from former students, and the certification rate among a program’s graduates. Accreditation is also a factor that helps distinguish the top schools from others which many not meet a state’s standards for certification. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), formerly the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commision, is in charge of accrediting CNA programs. The important thing is to try and ensure that the training chosen will adecuately prepare the candidate to sit for the state exam.