CNA Information: A Career Overview
Certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other health care settings. They provide direct care to patients and perform daily routine tasks under the supervision of a registered nurse or a licensed healthcare provider.
The CNA sector is an invaluable component of today’s health care services. This career choice offers vast job opportunities and job growth, and the training takes only a few weeks. And if you’re looking for a great stepping stone to a more advanced health career, becoming a certified nursing assistant is a perfect route to go.
Embracing the role of a CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant, offers a vast accessibility of job opportunities, career growth, and a relatively easy to enter type of profession. The CNA training will only take 6 to 12 weeks in duration, making it an excellent career choice for anyone, and everyone looking for a perfect stepping stone to other challenging and more advanced health careers.
We’re here to provide the best guides and information about how to become a CNA, and other important things you need to know as you start your career as CNA, or nursing aide.
How to Become a Certified Nursing Aide
First off, you’ve to really know if being a nursing assistant is the right fit for you. And if it is, then, congratulations! You’re now ready to take the next step, which is to get proper CNA training, licensure and certification.
You can enroll at vocational or classes for cna, a nursing assistant college near you, or take an accredited online nursing assistant course. Opt for whichever is the best choice and more convenient for you.
There are requirements you need to meet, which varies by state, and by employer. The training will usually range from 75 hours to 150 hours, comprising of classroom instruction and clinical training. To be admitted for a state-approved CNA training program, you will be typically asked to provide or comply with the following prerequisites:
- High school diploma or GED
- Proof of criminal history background check
- Medical certificate
- Must pass the pre-screening exams and interview
Make sure to enroll in a state-approved CNA training program in your area. Contact your State Nurse Aide Registry to get a complete list of CNA schools that get their approval. Or refer to our main category on CNA State Laws to read articles dedicated for each State, learn the specific requirements for each one, and find featured state-approved CNA schools and training programs.
Now, CNA training will generally involve basic instruction in nursing skills, physiology and anatomy, patient-care programs, as well as nutrition and infection control. More importantly, you’ll be able to gain hands-on experience of various clinical activities, such as:
- Taking vital signs that include pulse rate, temperature, and blood pressure
- Proper feeding techniques for each different patient condition
- Basic hygiene skills
- Proper mobility techniques and body mechanics to prevent injury
- Patient documentation and reporting
- Administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation and basic life support
- Ways of assisting patients with daily recovery activities
- And ways to ensure safety of their patients, among many others.
Certified Nursing Aide Certification Test Information
When you’ve completed the required CNA training course, you’ll be eligible to take the State Board CNA Certification Test. The CNA exam is divided into two parts: a written test and a skills test. The first part is a multiple choice type of exam, while the second is to test your hands-on skills.
Requirements for Certified Nursing Assistant Jobs
Requirements to kickstart your CNA career differ from State to State, and by employer. Mostly, CNAs are required to have a minimum of 75 hours of CNA certification training. Some employers don’t even ask for a certification as long as the applicant has completed the training,or CNA program. In either case, you should at least have the CPR, or lifesaving certification.
To become a certified nursing assistant (CNA), you must complete the required training approved in your state and should pass the certified nursing assistant certification exam. The training program will include lectures on nursing mechanics and nutrition, and hands-on procedural skills.
The entire course will take a minimum of 75 hours, and is offered at various healthcare trade schools, or home health agencies all over the country.
Certified Nursing Assistant Certification Exam
When you’ve completed the required training, you will be eligible to take the for the nursing assistant certification exam. The CNA exam is divided into two parts:
- Written Portion – this includes a multiple-choice type of exam that will test your theoretical knowledge and other competencies, which you have learned during your time taking the course. Generally, the questions are based around the subjects of medical procedures, patient care, safety and patient privacy.
- Clinical Portion – the second part is designed to measure your procedural skills, or hands-on experience. You will be asked to demonstrate three or more skill sets. To do well, you need to show a lot of confidence and aim to be as close to ‘perfect’ when demonstrating your the tasks that the test administrator asks you to perform.
CNA Certification Renewal
Most states in the US require CNAs to renew their certification every two years unlike Radiology Technicians. This is to keep the certified nursing aides consistently updated on industry changes and to improve the healthcare industry as a whole.
You should expect to upgrade certain skills and expand upon your theoretical knowledge. Its also a great idea to spend some time working properly in the field, to enhance your skills in certain clinical procedural areas.
Be sure to stay up-to-date with the expiration date of your CNA certificate to avoid certain penalties. There’s also a small fee and a little paperwork to renew your CNA certification. You can also take advantage of the Internet to complete the renewal process – making everything a whole lot easier.
Lastly, keep yourself well acquainted of any changes in your state’s, or your employer’s CNA regulations. It’s your responsibility to know about new requirements and to continue your education, to enable yourself to remain a certified nursing aide.
Certified Nursing Assistant Salary
The salary of a CNA depends on two factors: location and experience. If you’re working in New York, Alaska, and Nevada, you can expect to earn the premium rates as a CNA, because these are 3 of the top paying locations in the US.
Your experience and special skills gained during the years as a CNA will also have an impact on your income. The ones with more extensive training, seminars, and certifications on their resumes will get additional value to their respective paychecks in many cases.
Average CNA Salary
The average range of the CNA salary starts at $20,000 and can go as much as $30,000 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Skills and experience will, of course, come into play when benchmarking how much exactly you’ll earn per hour.
On the first year in the profession, CNAs can expect to earn an average of $10 per hour, and can go up to over $12 per hour. While the more skilled and experienced, or commonly considered as top nursing assistants in the business, the rate per hour is around $15.
Is there Any Other Way to Earn Additional Income?
Just like in other professions, CNAs pull in more income by working double shifts. Some of them work a second job elsewhere. Others work 6 or 7 days a week in elderly care facilities. Still others who work for a private healthcare agency can expect a relatively higher wage.
CNAs can get some increase in their salary once they pass the one-year mark. Some hospitals and nursing facilities also offer additional income to their certified nursing aides due to their shifting rotation.
Finally, if you seek for a better certified nursing assistant salary, it will be wise to choose your location wisely, where you start your career and always consider getting a CNA continuing education.
Where to Find Certified Nursing Assistant Jobs
As said above, a CNA career offers a vast availability of jobs. Contact nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and medical care centers in your area and see if they’ve job openings. Internet job boards, like the one we have here on the site, are also excellent places to find the right job, providing you with a great plethora of choices to send your resumes.
Like you, too, we like it fast and easy. Just go to our certified nursing aides jobs page and start browsing your best possible options, and get started with your CNA career today!