Certified nurse assistant programs provide a path to entering the health care field. The CNA is the front line in taking care of patients. They are in demand and are expected to be so, through the next several years. Their main employers are long term care facilities and hospitals. Home health agencies are employing them more and more each year.
To work as a CNA requires patience, heavy lifting and the ability to draw people out. This is mostly a physical job but just as important are the mental and emotional aspects. A rapport needs to be established with each patient if possible, since they perform the most intimate care with a patient. They will help them dress, help them use restroom facilities, remove catheters, wash and comb their hair, feed them and much more.
Choosing a school with the right program takes a little research. Find out if it is accredited and by what agency. Check that the agency is recognized by the state. Ask about the length and cost of the program. Typically it would take no more than 3 months to complete. This includes clinical practice time. Before approaching patients independently, it is necessary to work with them under direct supervision for as many hours as possible. The school should offer placement for this.
After passing the coursework and graduating, there will still be more testing to become certified. The test is the NNAAP, National Nurse Aide Assessment Program, and must be passed in order to work as a CNA. Additional eligibility requirements are determined by the state. There will be a written section and a hands on section. The hands on part of the exam will have the student demonstrating their basic care skills.
Ask the perspective school if they have a career services office. It should do more than have resume writing workshops and teach a student how to interview. Ask if they have job postings and if employers are seeking the graduates of the school. Call local facilities and ask if they are familiar with the program and would they recommend it.
The salary in this field is good for such a small training period. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most people working as a CNA make an average of $11.74 per hour. The top people earn an average of $15.97 per hour. The beginning pay wage may be about $8-$9 an hour, depending on where the person works.
Certified nurse assistant programs are on campus and online. The classes that are online offer a real convenience but the State Boards of Nursing will have to be contacted to see if they will accept training that was done online. For those who love helping others this is a great way to get started quickly.