How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant

There are many career paths that those interested in joining the healthcare field can take. More and more people are choosing to become a certified nursing assistant – also known as a CNA – as it is a way to enter the nursing profession relatively quickly.

Certified nursing assistant schools are plentiful and it can provide a way for students to get out into the working world earning a paycheck while still continuing their education to attain even higher levels of achievement on a part-time basis.

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A certified nursing assistant is a demanding, hands-on position that requires a great deal of personal patient contact. As supervised by LPNs, RNs and physicians a certified nursing assistant provides patients with basic care – feeding, cleansing, a friendly face – and may also be the person responsible for taking basic vital signs and performing other lower level medical tasks.

Although the other nurses rank higher it is often their certified nursing assistant that patients become most used to as they generally are the ones they will see the most of. You may also qualify for continuing education to become an RN.

What is Taught in Certified Nursing Assistant Schools?

The average certificate program at a certified assistant nursing school takes approximately six to twelve weeks to complete and usually includes at least sixteen hours worth of out of the classroom practical training. Another option is to become a phlebotomy specialist.

The typical course in certified nursing assistants training covers nutrition, anatomy, physiology, infection control, communication skills, rights of patients including the all-important HIPAA privacy regulations, and personal care skills.

As the typical certified nursing assistant course costs between $500 and $1,200,  this is an affordable way to gain access to the world of certified nursing for those who cannot quite afford to take on the debt of a mountain of student loans right now.

Once a student has completed their time at certified nursing assistants programs they do still have to sit a licensing exam, just like any other graduate of other nursing programs would in order to receive their license from the state. In order to maintain that license, a certified nursing assistant will then have to complete approximately twelve hours worth of continuing education credits every year.

Where can Certified Nursing Assistants Find Work?

You can find many graduates of certified nursing assistants schools working in hospitals but that is far from the only place they can find work. Another big employer of certified nursing assistants are the long-term residential health care facilities, where a certified nursing assistant becomes a big part of residents everyday life. A number of doctors offices also employ certified nursing assistants on their office staff. See also this post on how to become a dental hygienist.

What is the Average Certified Nursing Assistant Salary?

This is the one question those considering entering certified nursing assistant school want the answer to. According to Payscale.com in 2016 a certified nursing assistant can expect to earn between $12.50 and $16,50 an hour, depending on their geographical location.