If you’ve done all of your research and feel that the CNA career is a good fit for you the next step is to start the process to acquire an official certification so that you appear on your state’s registry. You should know that not all CNA jobs require a certification. For example, most in home care jobs will not require you to be certified and they can be a good way to test the waters before you decide to earn your certification. However, for hospital and nursing care facilities, where you will make higher wages, you will be required to be certified.
Becoming certified as a nursing assistant is a great way to start a career in healthcare, especially if you plan on becoming an Rn or an LPN. Many nurses got their starts as nursing assistants. It provides an advantage because it allows you to understand better how to properly care for patients. CNAs are also given priority over other candidates when applying to nursing schools that may be impacted.
The best way to get started in earning a certification is to contact all of your local nursing homes and hospitals because many of them may provide free training in exchange for hours worked. Once the mandatory training hours, under the supervision of an registered nurse, have been completed you will be eligible to take your state exam.
The state exam consists of two parts. The first part, which is theory based, will require you to memorize vocabulary terms and definitions. The second part will require you to complete particular assigned skills on actual patients. The correct techniques and sanitary practices must be observed. Most students who have completed all of their training hours will have no problems with passing the state exam.
If there are no hospitals or nursing homes in your area that are currently offering free training there are other options. First contact your local community college and find out if they have any nursing assistant courses. If they do you will most likely be able to qualify for and utilize financial aid, which means the training will essentially be free for you. If your local community college offers no such courses there are technical/vocational schools that specialize in CNA certification. These schools may even offer online CNA training where a portion of the coursework can be completed from a home computer.
Nursing assistant, nursing and healthcare in general are growing fields which means those that become certified as CNAs will enjoy more job security than many other industries. Best of all training can be completed in 6 to 12 weeks which means you will spend more time working and earning money and less time training.