CNA Training: What to Look For Before Enrolling in Courses

While there are almost always jobs available in the medical field, it is a very competitive environment to work in. Not only are you competing against your fellow employees for better positions, pay and promotions, but you also need to prove your worth when budget cuts take effect. These days, no job is truly secure, especially with the unstable world economy. This is one of the reasons why your CNA training is so important: you need to complete it and score well to become certified. The better you perform in your exam, and the more diligent you are in during the training course, the more valuable you will be to your employer.

How “Good” is the Institution You are Learning At?

You really need to do your homework before enrolling in a CNA training program, particularly one that is suspiciously short, or that requires you to pay a fair amount of money up front. Not all institutions offer genuine certification, and this means that you will have to redo your training at a proper hospital or clinic to get the necessary number of hours of real world experience behind you.

How long is the CNA Course

A certified CNA training course is three months long, and has theoretical and practical components.   The practical components are particularly important, since half of your final exam is based on practical tasks. This is why it is impossible to become a fully qualified CNA via an online learning program or course. Make sure that the hospital you are doing your CNA course at, is going to give enough learning and experience to do a proper CNA exam. Don’t get caught out doing free labor for them, without being accredited with duly performed tasks and hours towards your training program.

A good CNA training course should cover all the material you need to pass the final exam, and to work effectively with doctors, nurses and patients in a hospital. It is very likely that a certified institution will help you prepare for your exam with practice packages, where you do mock exams and get critiqued for the practical tests.

Most hospitals that offer CNA training, are indeed certified to do so; their courses are comprehensive, and they don’t charge a lot of money. Instead, they may want you to work for them once you’ve passed your exam. You will have to work for a certain amount of time, depending on the contract agreement you have with the hospital. Hospitals may even expect you to work for free while you do the practical preparation for your exam, towards the end of your training course.

Recognized nursing colleges or tertiary learning institutions will have CNA training courses on offer, which are the “proper” ones. Basically, beware of any private learning institution or course that is on offer. They are very often preying on your impatience at getting your CNA training done quickly.

Use Your Contacts

If you know some one who works at a hospital, find out from them what courses are offered, and if they are certified. Ask your own doctor for advice. Very often, these contacts will give you valuable information, or at least put you in touch with the right people. Before you even start looking for places to do your training at, learn as much as you can about what the job entails and what you need to learn and master, before starting it.

If a human resources manager from a hospital or clinic contacts you about an inquiry into their CNA training program, they will almost always ask you a few questions to test how much you already know about the job. Being clueless or uncertain about issues over the phone can mean the difference between successful enrollment and rejection.

Before You Start CNA Training

Try to work alongside a certified nurse for a day, before you enroll in a training program. Ask around at various hospitals and other health care facilities. The point of this, is to get a real feel for the job. You might have some romanticized version of what being a CNA is all about. Ask yourself the following questions and see if your real world encounters on the job change your answers:

  • How good are you really, with sick people?
  • Are you physically capable of lifting and aiding patients with walking?
  • Can you stomach working with a full range of bodily fluids, without showing discomfort?
  • Are you truly a compassionate person?
  • Can you handle the depression and sadness that sometimes accompanies being a CNA?
  • Are you truly comfortable working with senile, or autistic patients?

These are just some questions you should ask yourself. Helping and caring for sick or injured people is a noble job, but not everyone has the right attitude, or the psychological strength to do the job well. There is nothing wrong with admitting that certain aspects of the job make you feel uncomfortable, or even scare you a bit.  It helps to identify potential problems before you start CNA training and discuss them with qualified nurses, or other CNA’s, who have had years of experience.

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Jakie S

I have been a CNA in the state of California since 1995. One of my passions in life is to help people and help others who want to expand their careers and become CNAs.

1 Response

  1. Nathaniel says:

    Just would like to know if CDM Institute is a good school for CNA training? Located in Marlton, NJ. I am going out there today to check it out,(3/26/12) but would like some feedback if anyone has info.

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