A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) works with nurses to provide quality care to patients at hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities. To obtain a position as a CNA, a candidate must first become certified. Learning how to become a CNA is the first step on the road to a career in this field.
In order to enroll in CNA certification programs, a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent is first required. Anyone still in high school is not yet eligible. Someone who is no longer in school and they did not obtain a diploma will need to take and pass the GED tests.
Most states also have age requirements for CNAs. Typically, an individual must be 16-18 years old before the state will allow him or her to become a CNA. Some certification programs also have their own age requirements, regardless of state rules. For example, in a state where the minimum age is 16, some programs might still require those who enroll to be at least 18.
If the above requirements have been satisfied, then an aspiring CNA can enroll in a training program. This will usually cost money, but the amount depends on the program. Courses are offered at many community colleges, by organizations such as the American Red Cross, online, and even at some nursing homes and hospitals.
Most of these programs consist of 75-120 hours of both classroom hours and clinical hours. Classroom time will be spent learning practical information and techniques. Learning will take place both out of books and from a certified instructor.
Clinical sessions are a chance to apply what is learned in the classroom. This provides students with a chance to gain on-the-job experience in an actual hospital or care facility. This time will be divided between observing others at work and actually performing work. By the time the hours are completed, the student should feel comfortable independently performing the tasks required of a CNA. The student should be prepared to begin work on his or her own.
After all classroom and clinical training hours are successfully completed, the student becomes eligible to take a certification exam. This may be administered at the end of the course by the same instructor. It might also be taken separately from the training class. The exam usually requires a fee.
The certification exam for a CNA generally consists of a written part and a practical part. The written part will test a student’s knowledge of concepts that a CNA must be familiar with. The practical part requires the student to demonstrate skills and techniques learned during clinical.
Upon successful completion of the CNA certification exam, a CNA license is awarded. A person who has obtained this license is now qualified to work as a CNA. The only thing left to do is apply for a job.
Becoming a CNA is a good way to enter into the medical field. It can also be a rewarding career on its own. Follow the above steps to get started on this career path.