How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant
Nursing assistant training programs are found in many locations: high schools, vocational and technical schools, community colleges, hospitals and nursing homes.
To become a nursing assistant, you must complete a state-approved education program. These programs teach the basic principles of nursing and require you to complete supervised clinical work.
1. Complete a CNA Program
Training requirements vary by state, so you need to check with your state to see what you need to do. You should also check with the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing to see if you have accredited programs in your area.
You can get CNA training programs from many places: the American Red Cross, local health care providers, community colleges, vocational and technical schools, and online training programs. CNA programs can last up to 16 weeks and include clinical training.
If you work at a healthcare provider you might have to work there for a set time after you get your certification. CNA classes are usually taught by a registered nurse. The length of the training period varies from program to program.
These classes will teach the basics of what is expected with the job. This is a career, however, in which the skill levels and confidence of the providers dramatically improve as the nursing assistant becomes an important part of actual caregiving on a daily basis.
Nursing assistants must typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training upon accepting a position with a specific employer. This allows the CNA an opportunity to learn the specific policies and procedures of their new employer.
2. Earn the Required Certification
You need to pass a certification exam that is specific to your state. You will probably be working before you get your certification, but maybe for only 4 months. The questions vary based on your state but will include both clinical and practical components.
Some states have additional requirements like passing a background check and complete continuing education hours.