Getting a CNA license may be one of the better things that you could choose to do with your time. This is because:
- It will gain you access to the stable and ever-expanding health care sector.
- It will open up new career paths for you in the future.
- It does not take a lot of time.
How Old Must You Be?
In order to apply for a certified nursing assistant license you do have to be at least 18 years of age. This holds true for all states in which the license is available and there is no point in applying if you are longer. Fortunately this is one of the requirements that you will have after time, so if you wait patiently you will soon be old enough.
The Competency Course
You will also have to pass a written competency course in order to get your CNA license. It is very important that you are well prepared for this course and that you work hard to pass it. The course includes a certain number of practical hours which you will have to complete under the close supervision of a qualified nurse.
High School Education
The nest thing that you will have to have is a high school diploma. You need to have completed high school or the equivalent thereof. You will have to submit your high school transcript when applying for entry into a license program. If you have attended any college courses in any subjects at all you will also have to provide those transcripts too so that the course you enrol in will be aware of your academic skill level.
How Good Is Your English?
A very important part of being a CNA involves speaking with patients on a regular basis. In fact this in some ways is the primary task that you will perform. As a result you will need to be fluent in English to make conversation easier if you want to get your CNA license.
CNA Licensing Exam
The license exam is divided into two parts, namely:
- The Clinical Exam, and
- The Theoretical Exam
Both of these exams are essential to getting your certified nursing assistant license and you will not be able to qualify as a CNA if you have not passed both aspects. This is just the way it is.
In the clinical exam you will have to demonstrate that you have learned everything that you were required to earn during your practical training. You will be examined in a clinical setting and you will have to show that you know how to perform a number of tasks that you will be required to perform on a daily basis once you are a CNA. There are a few things to keep in mind during this part of the exam. The first thing is that you should not panic. Stay calm and do your best. You also need to remember that the examiner will be watching everything that you do, so concentrate hard and stay focused during the test. If you have prepared properly then this part of the license exam should be no trouble for you at all.
Once you have done the clinical exam you will need to write the theoretical exam. DO NOT attempt this exam unless you are sure you can pass it. A good way to determine whether or not you are ready is to look for sample questions online and keep on answering them until you get them right most of the time. Be well prepared.
Steps In Getting Your License
The first thing that you will have to do is to get hold of the application form from the CNA license authority and then send it to the State Licensing Office. You will have to have your application form notarized before sending it off.
You will then have to verify the training that you have undergone by completing the verification of training form. This is to check that the school or program you attended was accredited. If it was not accredited you will not get your license.
To the Department of Public Safety you will have to submit a fingerprint card and a background check. You will also have to pass the required health check to ensure that you are fit and able.
You will then have to sit back and wait to see if your application for your CNA license has been approved or not. This may take a while and there is nothing you can do to speed up the process, so patience is required at this point.
You will have to pay a licensing fee in order to get your license, so make sure that you get this money together. The actual amount you will have to pay varies depending on the state you are in, so find out this information early
Remember that you will be sent notification regarding your application. It is not a good idea to call the State Board of Nursing to check on the progress of your application.
CNA License Renewal
So now that you have your CNA license you will need to keep it updated. The license you are given will only be valid for a very limited time. You will need to find out all about license renewal for your particular state as this can also vary from state to state. In most states your license will have an expiration date and certified nursing assistant license renewal will have to occur about once a year. There is usually a fee involved, but again, the fee for license renewal depends on the state in which you are working as a CNA. These amounts can vary quite drastically so make sure you know well ahead of time exactly how much money you will have to get together to renew your license. In addition to the fee you may also have to provide proof of continuing education for your CNA license renewal in some states. Continuing education comes in the form of training programs that you have to complete in order to keep your knowledge of the field updated. This is very important and when it is made compulsory it means that the general standard of CNA service in that state is at a higher level. Find out how much continuing education, if any, you will have to do for your license renewal, and then do it with a smile on your face because it is very beneficial. Some states inform CNAs of CNA license renewal dates and requirements, but some states require that you check the information for yourself.
CNA License Verification
In order to practice as a CNA you will not only have to have a license, but you will also need to have a license that is valid. It is your responsibility to check the validity of your license, and the method that you go through to determine CNA license verification is very similar to that used in the previous section for renewing your license. There are a lot of factors involved in license verification, it is also suggested that you get your hands on the original copy of your CNA license as this is the copy containing the official seal of the state board of nursing and will therefore be the most convincing document you will have to prove that you have a certified nursing assistant license. Some steps in license verification are:
- Go to the Nurse’s Aide Registry and type in the name of your state to get the telephone number you need.
- Some states have an online CNA license verification system, so check your state’s registry site for this.
- If you decide to actually visit the registry office make sure that you take all information such as your licensing number with you.
- There is a fee to pay in order to get license verification, but again this varies from state to state.
- You can then have the license mailed or emailed to you, but the hardcopy option is definitely the best.
- There are also independent organisations through which you can get license verification.
Transferring Your License To Another State
If you want to start working in a different state you will have to transfer your CNA license from your current state to that other state in order to continue practicing as a CNA. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when doing this.
Some states have a reciprocity policy which means that they automatically accept licenses from other states without any trouble at all. This is true for states where the licensing procedures and coursework are very similar. All you will have to do if reciprocity is indeed practiced is to submit your employment proofs, social security number, educational proofs as well as background check. The license will still have to be transferred, but in many cases you will be able to start working while you wait for the transfer to go through, and thereby not waste any precious time.
If the state does not practice reciprocity you will have to write the clinical and theoretical examinations for that state in order to get a certified nursing assistant license that is valid for that state in particular. This is very important, and one of the first things that you will have to do before moving to another state is to find out what the license transference policies are so that you will actually be able to work once you are there. Once the license has been transferred it may take a while for it to actually get to you so you need to be patient and wait it out.
Suspension Of Your License
In some cases you may get your CNA license suspended. This is of course not ideal, and hopefully you will never be placed in this situation, but it is worth mentioning the procedures and so on here so that you are prepared for all outcomes.
The suspension of your license can be initiated by either the person or company you are employed by, or the State Board of Nursing. A complaint will need to be made about you to the State Board of Nursing and this will initiate an investigation into your actions as a CNA. Once the investigation is concluded it will be decided that either you were in the wrong or you were not. If you are deemed to be in the wrong, your CNA license will be suspended. The CNA in question will have to attend a hearing. In some cases, if the offense is particularly bad, the CNA may also be fined or even have their license permanently removed.
When applying for a job it looks bad to have on your record the information that your license was previously suspended. If you want to keep your credibility as a CNA you will have to do everything in your power to keep your certified nursing assistant license in good standing. If you do not this could affect you in a variety of extremely negative ways which you should avoid at all costs. Ensuring that your license has no blemishes in its history, and keeping your education up to date, are two of the best ways to keep your license in good standing.
Now that you have all of the information required should be well informed regarding your CNA license and how to get it. The facts above are fairly exhaustive and if you follow the suggestions and steps laid out in this article you will have no trouble at all getting your license. Becoming a CNA allows you to later progress to becoming an LPN and perhaps even an RN in the future so this qualification can be used as the first stepping stone in your nursing career.