Tips on Becoming A Certified Nursing Assistant

If you are looking for a career in which you get to help people in a hospital, nursing home or in their own homes, then you may want to consider the job of a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). A CNA provides basic care for patients in the form of helping them with daily living tasks like eating, going to the toilet, and taking a bath, and by monitoring their vital signs and maintaining their health records.

Training Program Required to Become a CNA

While the exact requirements to get into CNA programs are different depending on the state you want to attend, most require a high school diploma or a GED, and that you be at least 18 years old. You will also have to submit to a criminal background check and no one who has been convicted of a serious crime can attend a CNA course.

TIP: Check out a facility in your area that hires CNAs such as a hospital or long term or continuing care communities, as these sometimes offer free classes or pay for your classes if you commit to a job there when you graduate.

Where to Take a CNA Training Course

Community colleges and allied health universities are two places that have CNA training programs. You should call the schools in the area you want to study to see if they offer any.  Another place to look is the American Red Cross in your area. Many Red Cross offices offer CNA training and also help students get ready for the certification test.

CNA Training Course

CNA training courses involve both classroom and clinic learning opportunities. The first part is the classroom section in which you study from textbooks, handouts and listen to instruction from special speakers from the medical industry.

You may be asked to do role playing as part of your instruction, so you can’t be shy and do well in this job. This will involve you pairing up with another student and then each of you alternating as to which one plays the patient and the other plays the CNA.  Why role playing? Because it helps you to see things from the other side so you know how your future patients will feel.

The last part of the classes is working with patients in a medical setting like a nursing home, or long term care clinic.

TIP: Many CNA courses offer videos or DVDs of actual CNAs helping others and completing the duties of a CNA. These videos can help you to understand better what is required and it will also help you study for the certification exam.

Next Comes the CNA Certification Exam

Don’t forget, after your classes are done, you must take a certification test. It will have a multiple choice part in which you pick the best answer, as well as a second part of the test where you complete the practical part of the exam. This second part involves an instructor asking you to complete some of the basic skills you learned in class. You must pass both parts to work as a CNA.

The exam will have a multiple choice section where you will answer a variety of questions pertaining to information you learned during your course.  The practical section of the test will be the time when you demonstrate some of the CNA skills you learned during your course.  You might be asked to bring someone with you or might work directly where you trained.

TIP: While you are looking for a CNA program, you must be sure to choose a location where the classes are fully accredited so you will be eligible to take the certification exam to become a CNA.

Getting a Job

In order to get a job as a CNA, you must be 18 years or older, no criminal record,  have completed 75 hours of training, 100 hours of clinical training, and have passed the certification test for the area you plan on getting a job. Areas you can look include:

  • Intermediate health care centers
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Foster Care Homes
  • Hospitals
  • Medical Centers

TIP: Also, be sure you know the requirements for CNA in the state in which you which to work, as these differ slightly from state to state.

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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.

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