CNA Training in Pennsylvania: Critical Things You Must Know

Pennsylvania has a significant increase in the demand for certified nursing assistants at various health care settings.

Certified nurse aides are like the building blocks of the higher nursing hierarchy. They are considered as the fundamental components of the nursing profession, who perform the basic duties for patient care. They assist the doctors and senior registered nurses.

The certified nurse aides are the front line active working professionals who are trained as well as skilled to perform their job duties. This formal training is obtained by the students through state approved CNA training programs.

Such classes are offered by many high schools, community colleges, technical vocational academies, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, medical institutions, adult education centers and independent programs too.

CNA Training Requirements in Pennsylvania

  • One must have completed 16 years of age
  • One must have high school diploma or an equivalent GED test proof
  • One must have TABE (test for adult basic education) clearing proof
  • One must clear the physical fitness screening
  • One must produce criminal background check proof
  • One must have negative TB test proof
  • One must produce the latest immunization proof

Outline of CNA Training in Pennsylvania

The certified nursing assistant education is overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of Education; while the certification of the nursing assistants is overseen by the Department of Health.

As compared to the states having certified nursing aide training for only 75-100 hours, training program in this state is quite longer. The course program lasts for total 120 hours which is much longer than the minimum hour requirement of 75 hours.

The total duration is distributed between 2 sections – classroom instruction and clinical hands-on session. It focuses more upon the clinical hands-on practice rather that the theory part.

First session is allotted to the in-class instruction and the second session is allotted to the practical skills. The qualified course instructors conduct the first session in classrooms of the facility and the second session in an actual health care setting.

Thus, during hands-on practice, the students obtain guidance from both the instructors as well as the nursing staff at the facility. They train the students and prepare them for the state level examination which they have to go through right after the classes are over.

Course Content of CNA Training

The classroom instruction of classes involves all the technical course content. It enables the students to learn and understand the theoretical base behind the nursing practices.

As these concepts are thoroughly covered in first session, the students are ready to implement them while they go through the practical session. The topics in theory include –

  • Basic patient care
  • Human body mechanism
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Health and population science
  • Medical terminologies
  • Infection control
  • Ethics of nursing
  • Residents’ rights

Similarly, the second session of clinical practice covers all the essential clinical skills which are necessary for a CNA to perform accurately. The topics include –

  • Basic patient care
  • Feeding and medication
  • Bathing and grooming
  • Infection control techniques
  • Re-positioning whenever required
  • Arranging simple dressing materials
  • Providing with bed pan and catheter care
  • Providing with emotional support
  • Communicating between the patients and doctors
  • Taking vital signs of the patients
  • Reporting significant changes to the registered nurses
  • Preparing health charts of the patients
  • Measuring BP, pulse rate and respiratory rate of the patients
  • CPR and BLS training
  • Emergency services

CNA Exam

Once the students accomplish the 120 hours training program, they are able to appear for the state approved exam for certified nurse aides. The exam is administered by the Pearson Vue and follows the pattern set by NNAAP (National Nurse Aide Assessment Program).

It has 2 parts, theory and practical.

The written test asks 70 multiple choice questions on technical part and the students have to score at least 70% in this test. It does not give an option of an oral test.

Clinical skills test asks the students to perform any 5 randomly selected nurse aide manual tasks within the give time. While the students perform these skills, they are constantly being watched by the examiners for the evaluation of competency level.

When one passes in both the tests successfully, then the CNA certification can be easily obtained by the state. It also enables them to be able to get the license.

Once the candidates are certified and licensed, they are listed on the state’s nurse aide registry. It keeps an updated record of all the nurse aides in the state along with their addresses and working status.

The certificate and license have to be verified and renewed at a regular interval of 2 years. To keep the license active, one has to continue working at any professional setting within the time span of 2 years.

CNA training in Pennsylvania is longer and comprehensive. Thus, it encompasses all the technical and practical aspects of nursing so as to prepare the successful certified nurse aides.


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