To work in the nursing field, CNA certification could be the right fit forward. Certification is the access to a career in which you are indispensable to registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) or even a doctor. Here as CNA one need to take care for those who cannot care for themselves.
To become a certified nursing assistant is the aspiration of many individuals who want to make a stable career in the healthcare sector. Such individuals opt for CNA certification courses which help them to get certified and listed in their state’s registry. This is important as the listing is necessary to find jobs in healthcare facilities across the state and provide daily care for the patients.
The courses are designed as per the norms of the particular state and the duration of the course also differs from one state to another. The main objective of the course is to train the students to take care of the patients who need long term care as they are physically or mentally ill. The certification is necessary to make the student a thorough professional who can empathize with the patient and take care of them with ample patience. If you are interested in pursuing the course for CNA, you will have to firstly understand that a certified nursing assistant is a service-oriented job.
CNA Certification Courses Overview
CNA certification courses have a lot of important aspects which have to be known by an aspirant who want to become a CNA. You have to first of all find out the schools and colleges in your area which are accredited. You have to know the eligibility criteria, application process, initial exams, training classes, clinical sessions, final examinations and the job opportunities in your state.
The eligibility criteria also differ from one state to the other but the basic norms include the age limit of eighteen, you should have completed at least high school diploma, you should not have any physical or mental illness and some states have the criteria that the student must not be pregnant at the time of admission. You have to get the application form from the respective school or college and fill the relevant details. You may have to submit two copies of any photo identity proof with your signature and also details of any crime committed in the past for which you have been convicted.
A thorough background check is conducted by all the schools and colleges irrespective of the state of aspirants who want to pursue CNA courses. If you had committed felony or any crime, then your application will be rejected. These are some of the major CNA certification requirements which have to be fulfilled in order to be enrolled in the course. Clearing the initial exams is also a must for you to be enrolled in the course. The exam would basically test your verbal and written communication skills. If you fail to pass, you may be provided with training in the skills lab and you can re-appear for the exam.
Structure of the CNA Course
The CNA certification program has been designed in such a way that the student will be trained to take care of the patient in a thorough manner. The theoretical classes are conducted for 30-35 hours in some states to impart knowledge on various important aspects like physiology, infection control, hygiene management, respecting the rights of the patient, emergency control procedures, medication management, reporting to nurses, communication with patients etc.
The skills lab sessions are to improve the communication skills of the student as it is the CNA who spends the maximum number of hours with the patient, more than that of a nurse or a doctor. So, you will have to communicate with the patient effectively in order to take care of him or her effectively and help in the process of curing.
Clinical training sessions are a very important part of the course and full attendance is mandetory for all the sessions. You will be given on the job training by a nurse or a senior assistant in a healthcare facility. You will be required to be professional in your behavior with the instructors as well as the nurses you work with.
After you successfully complete the required number of hours of training, you would be required to clear two tests, namely, skills test and written test. The skills test would evaluate your practical skills that you have learnt from your clinical sessions and the written test would evaluate your knowledge based on the aspects learnt from lectures. The passing score is high for the test and you will have to put in lot of efforts to clear these exams in order to be certified. Once you clear them, you will be listed in your state’s registry as a certified nursing assistant.
CNA certification courses are designed to provide holistic training to you to become a professional nursing assistant and pursue a lucrative career in the future.
CNA Eligibility Requirements
The CNA certification program is very popular among individuals who want to pursue a career in the nursing and healthcare sector. The most important aspect of nursing certification includes its eligibility criteria to enroll for the certification program. CNA certification requirements are the most important things to be aware of before applying for the course.
The CNA course is offered in schools and colleges and it is important to know whether they are accredited properly before choosing the program offered. The requirements for doing the certification differ from one state to another. The eligibility criteria, application process and other requirements are different in each state and are laid down as per the norms of the state. You will have to fulfill all the requirements to apply for the certification and eventually become a certified nursing assistant.
Though the eligibility criteria differ from one state to another, there are some basic requirements which remain the same. You will have to be eighteen years old and completed at least high school diploma at the time of your application. You have to fill up an application that would be provided at the school or college where you would be applying for. The most important constituent of the CNA certification program requirements is the background check of the applicant.
The applicant should have a clean record and should not have committed or convicted for criminal activities or felony. You shouldn’t have been involved in any illegal activities in the past, this criteria differs from one state to another. The background check is very important part of the application process and the school or college may just reject your application for the program if you are found to have gone against the law at any point of time in the past.
The CNA certification course would be a tough one and it is not easy to keep up to the standards set by the classes and clinical sessions. So, only students who can keep up with the tough space and have the basic communication skills are inducted in to the program. For this purpose, an entrance examination is conducted wherein the verbal and written skills of the aspirant are tested and only those who have got good communication skills are taken in.
The communication skills is an important part as the certified nursing aide will spend the most number of hours with the patient and he or she has to be good at communicating with the patients. The nursing aide should also communicate well with the nurses and doctors to be an integral part of a team which provides daily care for the patients. If you are not able to pass the examination, you would not be enrolled for the program. But, there are some schools and colleges which provide training for those aspirants who have failed to clear the examination.
The aspirants who have failed to clear the communication skills test are trained in a language lab where they are groomed to improve their verbal and written skills. They are also allowed to appear the examination after the training. But, only some educational centers have this facility of training the aspirants who have failed to clear the examination. So, if you are not very good at basic verbal and written communication skills then it would be smart to apply only for those schools which provide training if you fail to clear the examination.
You will be asked to appear for a face-to-face interview along with your duly filled in application form and you will be required to submit a letter of recommendation from officials in the field of healthcare. You will also be asked to submit two copies of any photo identity of yours which are signed by you. You will have to be careful in filling up the application form as any mistake may lead to rejection of your application. Before submitting the application form, it would be prudent to get it checked from a senior or experienced individual.
CNA certification requirements are strict in order to enroll only those individuals who are dedicated for offering services and sincere enough to carry out the responsibilities which are crucial for the recovery of patients. It is important that you are sure about enrolling for the highly demanding course as job of a certified nursing assistant is very difficult, you should also understand the responsibilities of a CNA before deciding to go for the program.
Requirements to become a certified nursing assistant is a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development) and the completion of a 6-12 week training program followed by certification. CNA certification is essential for a nursing assistant job, because it is mandatory and offers some advantages like job security, a better salary and more hiring opportunities. A nursing assistant can work in hospitals, health care facilities, retirement homes, adult day care facilities or at the patient’s private home.
How to Obtain a CNA Certification
To obtain training one needs to enroll name for the certified nursing assistant training program. The courses are conducted in community colleges, online courses or health care facilities that offer a training program. The program includes theory as well as practical skills with number of different topics such as Basic Nursing Skills, Infection Control, Proper Body Mechanics, Nutrition, Basic anatomy and Physiology. After completion of the course, the student has to clear a certification exam to obtain a CNA certificate followed by obtaining license from respective state to practice further.
CNA Certification Exam
A CNA test for certification includes theory as well as practical skills test, so the students must work hard in both the regards to clear the test. In many states it is mandatory to clear the skill test to appear for theoretical test. The tests are conducted by the state health department or even by American Red Cross Society and the students have to give the test as per the norms of their respective states.
The written exam includes portion covered in lectures, whereas the skill test will cover that the students learned during clinical class. Tests varies from state to state, but a student must pass both the tests for CNA certification. Practice test papers are available and nd even online practice tests are also available.
Prepare for CNA Certification Exam
Certified nursing assistants are highly demanded in healthcare facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, mental wards, rehabilitation centers, day care facilities etc. This is because of many reasons, of which the foremost is that the aged are increasing in number and the types of ailments and diseases are also increasing. In order to become a certified nursing aide, you will have to pass the CNA certification exam.
The CNA certification course is a tough one and you will have to be determined and dedicated enough so as to complete it successfully. The process of enrollment itself is tough and you will have to fulfill all the requirements and eligibility criteria which differ from one state to the other. You will also have to undergo a thorough background check which is very important as such a service oriented job requires a morally and socially responsible person. You are also supposed to clear a qualifying exam which is to test our verbal and written communication skills.
The training program is a tough one and you will have to be determined to complete the seventy two hours successfully. First, you will have to attempt the qualifying exam in order to be enrolled for the program and this exam is to test your verbal and written communication skills which are important while you handle the patient as well as the nurses and doctors you would be working with. In order to clear the final CNA certification exam, you will have to attend all the theoretical and especially clinical practical sessions.
Attendance especially for the clinical practical sessions is obligatory and you will be expected to dress accordingly for the clinical sessions. Theoretical classes will impart knowledge on aspects like medication management, hygiene management, daily care, physiology, taking vital signs, upholding patient’s rights etc. Clinical sessions are designed to give you an on-the-job training experience so that you could have the hands-on experience of the role of a certified nursing assistant.
There may be thirty hours of theoretical sessions and thirty hours of clinical sessions and you will be expected to complete the required duration of each without failing. You will be required to dress up in suitable clothes which will be necessary for the clinical sessions and theoretical sessions. You may be asked to do a little strenuous work during the clinical sessions as the responsibilities of a certified nursing aide are quite strenuous, involving physical activities.
You may have to assist the patient as he or she may be weak to do the daily activities and this is where your role comes into the picture where you will have to be a moral and emotional support to the patient. As you would be spending the maximum number of hours with the patient more than that of the nurses and doctors, you will be a major contributing factor for the recovery of the patient.
In long term healthcare facilities like hospitals and nursing homes, you may have to be a part of a team and work along with nurses and doctors and may be involved in aiding the recovery of the patient. Apart from the daily care responsibilities, you may be given some additional responsibilities like medication management of the patient, rendering some exclusive therapies like speech therapy etc., for patients in need. Some patients may require assistance in walking and you will have to be there when they need you.
Examinations which you will have to clear at the end of the training program may be tough and you will have to work hard to get the required score. There will be two exams, namely, the skills test and the written test. Skills test will evaluate your practical knowledge gained from the clinical sessions and the written test will test your theoretical knowledge learnt from the classes. You may also enroll for online training programs and give the online CNA certification exam to get certified. As soon as you clear the exam you will be listed in the registry of your state as a certified nursing assistant and you can then start looking for job opportunities in healthcare facilities.
CNA certification exam has to be cleared if one wants to become a nursing aide. You will get the license only if you clear both the tests and perform satisfactorily in all the theoretical and clinical sessions. You have to have patience to clear the certification with flying colors.
Exam Pattern in Brief
There are two parts of the certification exams:
This paper refers to the student’s theoretical knowledge regarding the basic health care information studied in the classroom. The student must have theoretical information about the human body mechanism, moving patients, bathing and feeding procedures and also handle different medical equipments. They should also have the information about the admission and discharge procedures, as well as other documentations.
The theoretical test consists of 70 multiple-choice questions along with ten pre-test questions to verify the arithmetical knowledge of the students. It is followed by an oral exam consisting of 60 multiple-choice questions and ten word recognition questions.
Clinical Skill Exam
The clinical or the skill test evaluates the practical skills of a student. To pass the practical test, the candidate have to demonstrate three to five nursing skills on a live model. The test is closely observed by a nursing examiner. The student have to present his abilities and skills including hand washing procedures, helping the patient with the daily living activities, moving and repositioning the patient and measuring the vital signs (blood-pressure, pulse, temperature) etc.
A student has to pass both the exams to become a certified nursing assistant. If a student fails in the exam, then they can re-appear for a maximum of 3 times. If they do not clear at the third attempt, then they have to again undergo the training session.
Before the certification, candidate need to do some formalities such as
- The applicant has to fill a state application form at the Nursing Aide Registry licensing authority. The candidate has to sign, notarize and then send this application form to the State Licensing Office.
- One may require to fill up a training verification form to ensure that the training course that they have attended is a part of the credited program. The application form will then be sent to the Nurse Aide Registry to support the applicant’s license.
- One need to undergo background and medical check. For the background check, the applicant has to fill a fingerprint card at the Department of Public Safety to pass the criminal background check.
After these procedures are finished, the license application has to be approved by the local board of nursing. The application will be processed in four to eight weeks and the applicant will be informed through an e-mail or a letter.
The rules regarding the retests and the frequency at which one can re-appear may differ from one state to the other. Students must check about the same with their state health department.
Most colleges and universities have an agent to help the students in placing them at different medical settings as per their experience and workplace expectations. For home health aides, there is a national certification that is administered by the National Association for Home Care.
However, if you do obtain a license, you will have to renew it after one or two years as per the norms of the states. There are certain other aspects regarding certification, which are mentioned below:
Healthcare sector has many opportunities to individuals who want to pursue a stable and lucrative career. Certified nursing assistant jobs are high in-demand among such aspirants as they open up many avenues and also provide an opportunity to earn high salary in the beginning of your career. CNA certification training is required to clear the examination in order to become a certified nursing assistant in a healthcare facility.
Training is provided in schools and colleges which constitute of classes and practical sessions which will help you become a successful professional nursing aide. The certification is the first step towards a career in the nursing and healthcare sector and this helps you get listed in the registry of your state which would further increase your job opportunities. You should be careful in looking for schools or colleges which are accredited as training from a non-accredited school or college would not give you any advantage.
The theoretical classes impart knowledge on various aspects related to the role and responsibilities of a certified nursing assistant like infection control, maintenance of hygiene, medication management, physiology, taking vital signs, dressing etc. Apart from physical disabilities and how to assist patients with such disabilities, you will be trained to become a moral support to the patients as you would be spending more time with them than the nurses and doctors. You will have to be dedicated to the core objective of this job which is service and everything will become enjoyable for you.
In the skills lab, you would be trained on communication skills which is very much essential as you will be expected to communicate properly with the patients and it is your support and care that will contribute to the improvement in the patient’s health. As a nursing aide, you will have to effectively deal with patients; who may get hyper or behave rudely as their physical illness has certain negative effects on their mental well-being as well. So, your communication skills have to be honed in order to become a successful certified nursing assistant.
The training program consists of clinical sessions which are conducted in the healthcare facilities to demonstrate the duties of a CNA to aspirants, so one would have hands-on experience of the job. You will exactly know what you are up to as you want to pursue certified nursing aide as a career.
The ultimate test comes in the form of the examination for getting certified after completing the required number of training hours. You will have to clear a skills test and then clear a written examination with the required score in order to be certified. The skills test will test your practical knowledge of the course and you will have to perform certain tasks and tests which are expected to be performed as a CNA. After clearing the skills test, you will have to pass the written examination which will test your knowledge on various aspects of a certified nursing aide. After clearing the final examination, you will be listed in the state’s registry as a certified nursing aide.
CNA certification training is the stepping stone to become a successful nursing assistant and pursue a lucrative career in the healthcare sector.
Importance of CNA Certification
Many aspirants who would like to start a career as a certified nursing assistant, do not understand the importance of CNA certification training. A certification gives you the authority to work anywhere in the state in any healthcare facility and grow as much as you want professionally. The training period differs from one state to another and can extend from few hours to few months as per the requirement of the state where you are applying for the training program. There are certain CNA certification schools which provide training in a very professional way but the first thing you should do is to make a list of which educational centers are accredited and then apply for the same.
CNA training includes mostly three main parts: theoretical classes, skills lab and clinical session. Theoretical training is comparatively less as there is a high need for practical training through clinical sessions. You are trained on how to handle situations and responsibilities which would be required while you are on duty as a certified nursing assistant. For this kind of professional and practical training, it is important to choose the right school or college which offers a holistic training program that would bring out a professional in you.
There are also certain training programs offered by training schools and colleges which provide job assistance once you finish the certification successfully. It would be profitable for you if you can get assistance in securing a high-paying job and you can try your luck at the clinics where you do your clinical training. You may end up with a job there only as you might become a known face by the time you finish your training there.