Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Program

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A certified nursing assistant, also known as a CNA, has many different opportunities for a rewarding career. CNAs work specifically under registered nurses, also known as RNs. It is a CNA’s responsibility to provide basic care for patients and also help them with their daily activities. To become a CNA, you do not need extensive training or a lot of education, which makes this a good career choice for many people.

Educational Requirements for a CNA Program

There are different programs available for CNAs. You can receive your training at vocational schools, nursing homes, the Red Cross, and community colleges. Each place has a certain set of requirements, but there are general prerequisites that include:

  • Be at least 16 years old or older
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Complete and pass a physical examination
  • Have CPR certification

High school students are allowed to take courses towards becoming a CNA in many U.S. locations. This is a huge advantage as it allows the student to complete the training faster and also learn a lot of valuable skills. Most CNA programs require around 150 hours of training. In most states, either the Department of Health or the Board of Nursing oversees CNA licensure. Your CNA license will need to be renewed every two years and most boards require that you have worked 48 hours or received education during that time.

Certified Nursing Assistant Program Courses

The fees can be anywhere from $700 to $1,000 for a CNA training program. The cost will vary from institution to institution. Some healthcare facilities offer free training for individuals who commit to a contract. The training can be taken full or part time and will generally last between 3 and 6 weeks.

Throughout the CNA program you will learn necessary skills and also knowledge needed to perform the job. The coursework and training will help you to pass the examination for licensure in your state. Some typical courses include:

  • Basic medical terminology
  • Common diseases and treatments
  • CPR and life support
  • Communication
  • Proper safety
  • Taking vital signs
  • Patient monitoring
  • Feeding and nutrition

Career Opportunities, Job Duties, and Salaries for the CNA

The CNA career choice is a great start for someone who wants to become a nurse. It is not too expensive to become a CNA, and you will learn valuable skills through hands-on training. Many companies offer full benefits to CNAs and the salary of a CNA typically ranges from $17,500 to $31,000 per year. Pay rates vary from state to state and also depend on your years of experience.

To learn more about a nursing assistant career, visit the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants website or the National Association of Health Care Assistants website.

Resources

ANA (2013): http://www.nursingworld.org/
Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010): http://www.bls.gov/
National Association of Health Care Assistants (2013): http://www.nahcacares.org/
National Network of Career Nursing Assistants (2013): http://cna-network.org/
Nurse.Org (2013): http://www.nurse.org/orgs.shtml

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