CNA Certified Nursing Assistant

Thinking about entering into the field of nursing? Becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA), is an excellent and rewarding career that will place you directly on the front lines. Also known as patient care technicians, nurse’s aides, or home health aides (depending on the environment you choose to work in), the certified nursing assistant uses both skill and compassion to provide quality patient care to those unable to do so for themselves.

Diversity in Action

Because the CNA works so closely with patients, often providing necessary personal care such as grooming, feeding, and bathing, the ability to work well with people is necessary. If you are service oriented, deriving pleasure out of helping others, and are able to comfort those who are in distress, this may be the perfect career path for you.

Along with providing a high level of physical, social and emotional care for your patients, you’ll also need to have “attention to detail” skills. The certified nursing assistant is responsible for charting vital signs, as well as relaying important information on patient conditions directly to the staff nurse, dietician, and other medical professionals.

Is it a juggling act? Yes, sometimes it can be. If you are able to multi-task and have strong organizational skills, you’ve got a winning head start. Becoming a CNA is also the perfect way to introduce you to the medical field as a whole. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to decide if you’d like to further your career by becoming an RN, X-ray Technician, or a host of other possibilities. You’ll be able to observe and weigh out your advancement opportunities. Or, like so many CNAs, you may decide that being a certified nursing assistant is exactly where you’d like to stay.

Certified Nursing Assistant Training

Whether this is an entry point into the field of medicine or a lifetime career choice, training and certification is your first step. In order to become a certified CNA you’ll need the following:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent (GED)
  • Completion of a 6-12 week CNA certificate program

CNA certificate programs are widely available. Requirements vary from state to state, but classes are available through community colleges, medical facilities, vocational colleges, and adult education facilities. Some programs are employee sponsored, while others guarantee placement once you have satisfactorily completed your training and received your certification. Be sure to check out all of the training options before making your final decision.

Cost for Training

Depending on where you choose to take your course, certified nursing assistant training can vary. The national average cost to complete your training, take your exam, and receive your certification is between $400 and $900. Once you are finished, you will immediately be eligible for employment as a CNA.

Be aware that some training facilities list their CNA training courses as an all inclusive, total amount, while others list training materials, exam fees, and other requirements separately. Be sure of the total cost before enrolling.

What Does the Training Consist of?

Classroom instruction will generally include anatomy, physiology, basic nursing skills, nutrition and proper food handling. You’ll also learn proper and sanitary ways to handle a variety of substances in order to prevent the spread of infection. Don’t worry, you won’t be sent into the nursing field without being prepared. You’ll gain confidence through the hands-on-experience you will receive during clinical activity sessions.

At the end of your training, you’ll also need to take your certification exam which is offered by The National Association for Home Care. During your training, you’ll most likely take a pre-test, which will make you aware of any areas you’ll need to focus on when studying for the actual exam.

How Much Money Will I Earn?

Yes, being a certified nursing assistant is filled with rewards. One of them is the ability to work in a professional atmosphere and earn a living. The latest salary data (2009) reports that the medium income for CNAs falls between $25,000 and $20,000 annually. Top earners are generally those who have years of experience and excellent reviews. Their salaries are $32,000 annually and up.

If you are ready to take the next step and become a certified nursing assistant, congratulations. You’ve made an excellent career choice. Today’s decision can easily lead to a rewarding and fulfilling career in less than two months!