Working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, usually called a CNA, is one of the most fulfilling jobs. Very few careers can offer the level of satisfaction that helping those incapacitated by illness, injury or old age provides. Unfortunately, not many prospective students have the slightest idea of what the certification entails. It is surprising that many regard the training as too involving and prematurely write it off, choosing a different les fulfilling career. However, this guide is going to help you understand what it all takes before one can become a Certified Nursing Assistant. You will realize that contrary to common belief, it is one of the easiest careers to get into.
Are the Requirements Similar Across States?
One of the most commonly asked questions is whether the requirements for CNA certification are uniform across states. To begin with, the name at times varies from one state to another. In some parts, CNAs are known by names such as healthcare assistants, or nursing aides. In the same way, the requirements will vary slightly depending on which state you wish to practice in. However, most of the requirements are more or less uniform. For instance, if you are going to work in a healthcare facility in any state, you must provide a background criminal check as well as drug test. If a state requires CAN registration it is usually a simple process to transfer your licence.
Training is Mandatory
Regardless of the state you live in, you have no choice but undertake training. No one is going to leave the life of a patient in your hands when you haven’t undertaken any form of training on even the basic matters of health. There are two options available as regards training in the United States. Firstly, you can take advantage of the many healthcare facilities that offer free CNA training. The majority of such institutions are usually nursing homes. The classes, which target those with no prior health care training, can run from about two to six weeks, full-time learning. Such institutions often pay for the state tests you will undertake, but this is not guaranteed.
In exchange for this type of training, you will be required to work at the facility for a predefined amount of time.
But what happens if you desire the independence to work where you please? This is where the second option comes in; applying for CNA training at a community college. Generally, the classes here are longer and may last for up to 6 months. At the moment, the training offered will cost you any amount between $300 and $600. In exchange, you get to enjoy more extensive training that gives you more confidence for the state exams as well as the job itself.
The CNA Exam
The purpose of the training is not just to impact basic nursing skills but also to prepare you for the state examinations. Your trainer will always provide information regarding the exact timing and place of your CNA exam. Across the majority of the states, the exam is usually composed of two equally important parts. These are:
- Written exam
- Clinical exam
It is worth noting that some centers will allow you to work for even four months after your training without having sat the exams. However, the earlier you take your state examinations, the better.
The written exam is usually based on the very basic nursing skills you have been taught. It will be very important to go through your class notes and handouts before tackling the paper. The clinical exam is more challenging as you are likely to get nervous. Remember that the examiners will be keen on your ability to give care. You have to show a degree of meticulousness by always wearing gloves before contact and washing every item before use, among other practices. Provided you score above the pass-mark, you will be certified as a CNA by your state.