If you are looking for a reliable way to find a good wage and benefits, becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant is one of the best options available. As an entry-level position in healthcare, CNAs are becoming increasingly valuable while the demand for medical staff and qualified professionals continues to grow. It is one of the fastest growing occupations in any job field, with millions of Americans currently employed as nurse aides and many more open positions waiting to be filled. The best part about training as a CNA is that there are no educational barriers like with other healthcare positions. There is no college experience required, and many programs will accept applicants that have not completed high school. Here’s how to get your CNA certification in three easy steps:
1. Find a State-approved CNA Training Course
Each state is responsible for maintaining a list of state-approved training courses for nurse aides. This list can be found online at the Nurse Aide Registry or the Board of Nursing. There will be many different options for each state. For the most part, CNA training courses can be found at nursing homes, community and technical colleges, and other types of vocational nursing programs. There are several programs that can provide financial aid to help pay for tuition, so try to find a program based on your needs as a student, not just by price.
2. Enroll in and Complete Classes
Once you have chosen a course that fits your needs, it is time to enroll in class and start learning your new profession. Depending on the state you live in, there will be a certain amount of mandatory instruction required to complete training. The national minimum is 75 hours, with at least 20 spent in clinical rotation. The amount of hours changes between different states, with some requiring as many as 150 hours. Your instructors will guide you through the certification process and as you approach your graduation, they will help you prepare for the final barrier to your certification and employment as a nurse aide: the certification exam.
3. Pass the Certification Exam
The certification exam for CNAs is often the biggest challenge to applicants during the training process. It covers both aspects of training with a section for multiple-choice questions and a section for practical skill challenges. The questions are based on the lessons of training and cover the field of nursing. The practical skill challenges are selected by an exam proctor and test-takers will encounter a random set of skill challenges expected of all CNAs. These challenges range in complexity from simple hand-washing to intricate maneuvers like inserting a female catheter. All CNAs must pass both parts of the test. If either part is failed, test-takers can retry. If both sections of the test are not passed within three attempts, the applicant must enroll in another training course and complete training from the beginning. If you have passed the certification exam, your certification has been accomplished and remains valid for two years. Before two years is over, all CNAs must renew their certification or repeat training.