Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant doesn’t require a high school diploma, a college degree, or even years of experience. All you have to do is complete a state-approved nurse aide training program and pass your state’s certification test. In some states, you don’t even need to complete an accredited CNA training class. There are a lot of little details to know and some huge differences between states when it comes to the mandatory training and testing policies for becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant.
For states that require nurse aides to complete a training class, the minimum amount of instruction must be at least 75 hours. These 75 hours are mandatory because each nurse aide must be exposed to an adequate amount of training and instruction in order to properly perform their job to the expectations of all other CNAs. Within these mandatory hours, approximately half must be spent on classroom instruction. During these classroom hours, students will learn the basic science and procedures for the nursing profession. After completing this instruction, students must also be exposed to clinical rotations under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. This is extremely important to training and without gaining hands-on experience, it is nearly impossible for CNAs to properly perform their duties. All nurse aide training classes must cover both aspects, or else the certification test will be incredibly challenging.
Where to Find Classes
There are many different types of institutions that can offer accredited nurse aide training. These include nursing homes, long-term care centers, community colleges, technical schools, vocational training programs, and some other types of community-based service programs. The first place to start looking is at your state’s online nurse aide registry. This registry includes a list of every training program that is approved by the state and an actively-updated roster of every CNA employed in the state. This roster will help you locate all types of useful resources for your new career, and is the most efficient place to start your search for training classes that will qualify for credit to take the certification test.
Every Certified Nursing Assistant must take and pass both parts of the state certification test. The first section is a written section that poses a series of multiple-choice questions on the nursing field, covering aspects of training like anatomy, physiology, and patient-treatment protocol. The second section covers clinical skills and requires all test-takers to follow proper procedure exactly. The skills tested are randomly chosen from a large list on the day of the test. They include actions like taking temperatures, transporting immobile patients, or proper hand-washing technique. It is important that your training class cover these clinical aspects of the nurse aide’s job, or else the certification test will be extremely stressful and challenging. However, there are some states that do not require a training program to be completed before the certification test can be challenged.
How to Take the Certification Test
For the most part, your training program and instructors will guide you through the testing process. The test will most likely be offered at your training institution on the final day of class, but it is also possible to wait for up to a year before taking the certification test. All candidates have at least three attempts to pass both sections of the test, or else they must repeat another training program. For states that do not require a training class to be completed, contact the nurse aide registry to schedule a certification test.