By Melanie Ullman
Working as a Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA is seen as the initial step in a long career in the medical field. Many people become nursing assistants because they enjoy helping people and enjoy the stability, flexibility and room for advancement that the medical field offers. There are many ways that a certified nursing assistant can further their career. Increasing one’s skill set is one of the best ways to gain more technical skills thus in increasing one’s responsibilities and pay.
There are a variety of ways in which a certified nursing assistant can expand his/her skill set. One method is to obtain additional certifications. In conjunction with the certification as a nursing assistant, there are a number of other certifications that allow a CNA to work in a variety of settings and perform more advanced functions.
A certified nursing assistant can obtain certification to work in long term care facilities working with the elderly as a geriatric nursing assistant (GNA). A certified nursing assistant can also obtain certification to work in a home health agency as a home health aide (HHA). Most home health aides either travel to the home of a patient or live in the patient’s home and provide extensive daily care. There are also medicine aide certifications. To become a certified medicine aide in most states you must be employed as a certified nursing assistant for at least a year and have completed a state approved medicine aide course. These additional certifications provide the CNA with the ability to increase his or her skill set and perform more complicated technical skills and to obtain more responsibility.
There are a number of ways in which certified nursing assistants can expand their skills. Many will take the initiative to complete the additional certifications on their own. These certifications can be obtained by contacting the State Board of Nursing. The State of Board of Nursing can provide the certified nursing assistant with the information needed to complete and prerequisites such as taking additional training courses prior to testing for the certifications.
In some cases, a CNA’s employer may be willing to pay for additional certifications. There are times when employers, such as a long term care facility or a home health agency, may be willing to pay for additional certifications. This is done when the employer has the need for qualified applicants with more advanced skill sets. The employer will pay for the certified nursing assistant to complete the additional training and will provide a pay raise for gaining the additional certification. In circumstances such as these the employer will ask the certified nursing assistant to agree to remain employed at their facility for a specified amount of time. This option to gain additional skills should be taken advantage of if offered by an employer.
Expanding one’s skill set as a certified nursing assistant is very advantageous. The CNA with a number of certifications is highly sought after by many organizations. The more skills certified nursing assistants acquire the more responsibility and the more pay they are likely to earn.