Certified Nursing Assistant Continuing Education

Certified Nursing Assistants are directly responsible for the care and supervision of a variety of patients. Some are recovering from surgery, while others are receiving end of life care and monitoring. Since the level of responsibility is so high, Certified Nursing Assistant continuing education requirements have been established. Here is a brief history and rundown of CNA continuing education.

In 1987 the Federal OBRA Reconciliation Act created a much needed federal standard for all CNA training programs. The standard includes the following:

Initial Training Requirements

A minimum of 75 clock hours of training is required in most states in order to be eligible to take the exam. Of these 75 hours, at least 16 of them must cover the following topics:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Infection control
  • Emergency and safety procedures which include the Heimlich maneuver, promotion of patient independence, and respect for patient rights

These requirements are based on federal guidelines. No state is allowed to reduce the number of required training hours, although some, including New York, require more than 75 hours. If you are receiving your training for New York CNA certification, you’ll need to complete 100 clock hours, along with 30 additional hours of supervised practical experience in a nursing home environment.

Certified Nursing Assistant Continuing Education and In-Service Training

Also on the state level, CNA continuing education requirements can vary. Depending on what facility you work for, continuing education hours could be required by your employer as well. All this is in addition to state requirements.

For example, CNAs practicing in the state of New York will need to complete a clinical skills competency test as well as a written or oral competency test within the first two years of the basic CNA training program. Applicants will have three chances to pass each test.

Some of the other states that have more stringent requirements include the following:

California: CNA certificates expire every two years. During each two year period there are 48 hours of in-service training required. Don’t wait until the second year to complete your 48 hours if you practice in California; 12 of the 48 hours must be completed during the first year.

Florida: Nursing assistants certified in Florida must perform a minimum of 18 hours of in-service training each year. Every two years the continuing education must include HIV/AIDS infection control, medical record documentation, domestic violence, patient rights, medical error prevention safety, and CPR skills.

Georgia: Georgia’s standards are not quite as demanding on a state level. Only CNAs working in a licensed Medicaid/Medicare facility must attend continuing education. A minimum of 12 hours is required each year, and must be provided by the facility itself.

Illinois: This state sort of goes by the “pop quiz” theory. At any point in time a Certified Nursing Assistant may be required to demonstrate sufficient knowledge in all areas of required training. This is demonstrated by taking a written or action based exam. If it is determined that the CNA’s skills are inadequate, in-service training and review will be required until the CNA can demonstrate sufficient knowledge in every area of required training.

Indiana: Indiana’s facilities are required to conduct annual CNA reviews to detect any weak areas. If discovered, the facility must provide in-service training to address these issues. In addition, 12 hours of in-service training must be completed each year. The training must include patient rights, fire prevention, infection control and prevention, and needs of the specialized populations.

These are examples of some of the requirements for Certified Nursing Assistant continuing education at the state level. Check with the state Department of Health (DOH) for your particular state requirements for continuing education and in-service training requirements.

Keep in mind that your particular place of employment may have other continuing education and training requirements. They are all meant to further equip you to be the best possible nursing assistant.