The medical field is one of the best fields to become involved in at present as it is consistently stable and you will always be guaranteed of employment. An easy and lucrative way to get your foot in the door of this industry is to become a CNA, or certified nursing assistant, through certified nursing assistant training.
What Is A CNA?
A CNA is a Certified Nursing Assistant, and, as the name suggests certified nursing assistant training will teach you how to be an invaluable aide to nurses in a healthcare facility. Generally CNAs are on the front line of the care system and are among the first medical professionals that a patient will see on admission to a healthcare facility. Your main job will be to ease a patient’s suffering and nerves. You will do this through compassion and by utilizing the many skills that you will pick up during your training for the position. CNAs also go by several other titles, such as:
- Nursing Assistant
- Nursing Auxiliary
- Auxiliary Nurse
- Nurse Aide
- Home Health Aide
- Patient Care Assistant
- Patient Care Technician
- Geriatric Aide
- Psychiatric Aide
- Nurse Technician
- Healthcare Support Worker
Whatever your exact title will be you will have to work under the supervision of a trained nursing professional, such as an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) or an RN (Registered Nurse). This means that you will have to be able to take directions and follow instructions easily. A close attention to detail is also required in a job such as this.
There are a number of basic aspects of the certified nursing assistant career that you may be interested in reading about before you continue any further on the path to achieving your CNA training and certification. If you feel that you will not be able to handle any of the following, consider choosing an alternative line of work.
As a CNA you will be required to do the following:
- Work closely with patients
- Be responsible for basic care services
- Assist the patient with bathing
- Assist the patient with grooming
- Assist the patient with feeding
- Assist nurses with medical equipment
- Check patient vital signs
- Give patients important social support
- Give patients important emotional support
- Provide vital information on patient conditions to nurses
There are a number of different places where a CNA can work. In fact there is something for everyone. CNA training will prepare you to work in:
- Nursing care facilities
- Community care facilities for the elderly
Some of the best cities to work once you have completed your CNA training are:
- New York
- Los Angeles
- St. Louis
Certified Nursing Assistant Training And Certification
Let’s have a quick look at the basic aspects that make up certified nursing training. There are a few important things to keep in mind. For example this is a very quick training course that can be completed in a very short period of time indeed. The educational requirements for becoming a certified nursing assistant are simple. You will need to have:
- A high school diploma, OR,
- You will need to have a GED.
- You will also have to complete a CNA training course which will take about 6 to 12 weeks.
The two main paces that offer this training are:
- Community colleges
- Medical facilities
There are several different areas of study that you will be trained in as a CNA student. These include anatomy and physiology, nutrition, nursing basics, and infection control. In addition to the theory work you will also be required to do a certain amount of hands-on practical training in order to meet the requirements in your state. Not all states offer a certification exam, but many do, and it is advised that you become certified as a CNA once you have completed the training regime in order to increase your job opportunities.
Cost Of Training
You have probably heard that nursing programs can be expensive and to a certain degree you are absolutely correct in assuming that you will struggle to pay for a nursing program. However it is important to remember that a certified nursing assistant training program is substantially cheaper than the kind of programs that you will be required to do in order to become an LPN or an RN and is therefore a much more reasonable option for you to pursue. This is because it is something of an introductory course to nursing, a stepping stone if you will, that you will be able to qualify for quite easily. Community colleges and technical schools are the cheapest locations in which to work towards a CNA qualification as these charge the lowest rates. There are a number of factors that will influence how much you actually pay, such as the state you live in, the school you attend and the program that you choose to enroll in, but overall the cost of a certified nursing assistant training program will be something in the region of $400 to $1500 and everything in between.
Length Of Training
CNA training programs do not take nearly as long as the training programs that you will have to do for other nursing qualifications and is therefore one of the more time efficient options for you to choose when looking for a sensible way to get your foot in the door of the medical industry. The length of the program can be summarized as follows:
- In total you will spend anything from 6 weeks to 12 weeks on the program depending on the exact program that you end up enrolling in.
- In total there will be about 75 hours of training involved over that period.
- About 12 hours of those 75 hours will be dedicated to practical experience through which you will be carefully supervised by a more knowledgeable nurse.
The program itself will take very little time in the long run and you will only have to write one examination once you have completed the actual training. This should take only a few hours and when you pass you will be certified t practice as a CNA which means that you will have the access to the medical field that you have been working towards achieving.
Requirements For Training
Most nursing programs have very stringent entry requirements, but this is not the case when it comes to certified nursing assistant training programs. There are various requirements that you will have to meet, but these requirements are not nearly as difficult to adhere to as those of an LPN or RN course. Most courses, but not all of them, will require that you are able to present proof that you have graduated from a high school (in other words, you will need to produce your high school diploma) or that you have a high school equivalent such as a GED. There are a number of programs, however, that do not require this level of education. In these cases you must be able to pass the Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE) examination to see if you can do fundamental math calculations, and have basic verbal and written English skills. This is a very basic test that should present you with very little trouble indeed. You will also have to be 18 years old in order to enter a program. Some high schools allow you to begin training at 16, but you will still be unable to become certified and start practicing until you are 18.
CNA To LPN And CNA To RN Training
Once you are a CNA you may be interested in, at some point, doing further training I order to improve your qualification, improve your standing in the health care industry, and to improve your salary. CNA to LPN programs are offered by:
- Community colleges
- Vocational schools
- Other reputable universities
The actual CNA to LPN program will take you about one year to complete. In the CNA to LPN program you will cover:
- Fundamental nursing knowledge
- Basic patient care skills
Remember that if you are employed as a CNA at a healthcare institute your employer may be interested in helping you pay for your CNA to LPN program.
If you are really ambitious you should consider attending a CNA to RN program which will take longer. RNs, or registered nurses, are at the highest level of nursing and therefore tend to earn the highest salaries. At the very least you will have to take a 2 year associate’s degree in order to become an RN. Again your CNA employer may be able and willing to help you fund the cost of your RN training as this will work in both of your favors.
CNA Training Schools
There are a number of excellent CNA training schools that you should consider looking into when deciding to enter the health care industry through this doorway. These are:
- University of Washington
- University of Phoenix
- University of North Carolina
- University of California
- University of Pennsylvania
Information about each of these schools can be found online, but these are definitely among the best options that you will find.
When choosing the best school for you to attend it is extremely important that you make sure that that school is accredited by the appropriate bodies. Two bodies that can accredit a certified nursing assistant training program are:
- The National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission, and
- The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
If the program or school that you attend is not certified or accredited you will be essentially wasting your time as well as your money as you will struggle to find an employer in the CNA industry that will be willing to take you qualification seriously. Spend some time looking into and carefully evaluating the schools in your area before you decide to make your final decision as this decision will inform the rest of your career.
Online CNA Training
A number of reputable schools offer certified nursing assistant training online, and this is advantageous because it is:
- More affordable
- More available
- More convenient
However you also have t be on the lookout for those schools that are not reputable and that want to con you out of your money. When you study online you will be offered the coursework in the comfort of your own home through:
- Discussion boards
- Scheduled video chats
- Video simulations
- Course management systems
You will have to achieve the same number of credit hours. You need to remember, however, that if you intend to become a CNA online you will still need to complete the required number of clinical hours, something which cannot be done online at all. So, essentially, there is no such thing as a CNA course offered entirely online and you should be immediately suspicious of any course claiming to provide this service. Again you will need to check that the program is in fact accredited by the necessary bodies. You should also make sure that the school has a good reputation for making it easy for its students to pass the required examination for certification.
There are a number of things to consider when looking into CNA training. Remember that this is the first step on your career path in the healthcare industry, and you do not want to make the wrong decision at this point. The more prestigious the qualification you get is, the more job opportunities you will have and the easier it will be for you to make a real career in the healthcare industry. Moving on to become an LPN or an RN are very real options for someone who has completed certified nursing assistant training and is also highly recommended.