How to Get CNA Training

Certified nursing assistants are in great demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that CNAs will have a 20% increase of jobs by 2020. It is expected that this field will grow on both the federal and state level, and you can earn up to $16 to $20 per hour, depending on the locations.

Types of CNA Training

The types of paths that you can take to become a CNA vary a great deal. In some states, you can become a CNA with on the job training, and in others there will be a formal training program that you need to complete.

Some of the most common formal training programs to become a CNA will be offered in high schools, vocational schools, community colleges, hospitals and nursing homes. Many nursing homes offer training as a CNA that will require you to work at their organization for a few years in exchange for the training program. Formal training in an actual school will include a mixture of classroom learning and practice sessions in a clinical setting.

Depending on which state you live in, you also may be able to consider an online training program. You will learn the many theoretical concepts of being a CNA. You also will need to practice in a clinical setting under the authority of an RN.

Once you have figured out just how you are going to get your required training, you will need to check what the entry requirements are in your state. You will need to have a high school diploma in most cases, and in some states, there may even be a Spanish requirement.

We know that under 10% of all nurses are male so I believe this would translate over into the CNA job field as well. Many CNA’s are only CNA’s while they are transitioning to an RN career. For CNA’s that choose to stick with the CNA route, they’re typically very long tenure. Many caregivers rotate through different types of caregiver throughout their careers – from live in positions to working for a senior home care agency or even inside an assisted living community.

Length of CNA Training

How long it takes you to become a CNA will depend upon the state in which you work and its certification requirements. It also will depend upon the type of facility in which you work. Generally, a training program to become a CNA may range from four weeks to as much as three months. If you do not have a background in health care, you may need to take some background courses in anatomy and the sciences.

Coursework to Become a CNA

Some of the courses that you will study as you work to become a CNA include standards of patient care, legal issues, how to use different types of medical equipment, procedures of daily care, nutrition, anatomy, infection control, body mechanics and nutrition.

You will need to complete at least 200 coursework hours. These CNA classes will teach you how to help nurses and doctors in different medical environments. Some classes that you will need to take are:

    • Checking vital signs
    • Different feeding techniques
    • How to communicate with patients and family
    • How to ensure patient safety
    • How to prevent workplace injury
    • Good hygiene
    • How to move patients
    • How to give CPR and other life support
  • How to provide basic care

After you complete your CNA training program, you will need to sit for a state certifying test and start working as a CNA.

Requirements for Your CNA License

These requirements will vary depending upon the state in which you live and work, but generally, states require CNAs to have done 75 hours of classroom and practical experience in a facility that is approved by the state. You also will need to pass a competency test. After you have  finished your training program, you will have the title of Certified Nursing Assistant, and your name will be registered on the state registry of CNAs.

After you complete all of these requirements, congratulations! You will officially be a CNA. You will be able to enjoy a long and rewarding career in caring for the most needy among us. After you become a CNA, you should consider joining various associations for CNAs, depending upon where you live.

Down the road, you also will be able to eventually use your CNA training as a stepping stone to becoming a registered nurse.

Best Paying States for CNAs

These are some of the best states to work in for CNAs, in terms of hourly wage:

    • Alaska $14.36

    • New York $13.63

    • Connecticut $13.54

    • Massachusetts $12.77

    • Hawaii $12.53

    • District of Columbia  $12.47

    • Maryland $12.47

    • Delaware $12.32

    • New Hampshire $12.24

  • Nevada $12.23

States with the Most New CNA Jobs

If you want to find growing demand for CNA jobs, try these states with the most annual number of job openings:

    • California – 3,900

    • Florida- 3,580

    • New York – 2,330

    • Ohio – 1,990

    • North Carolina – 1,940

    • Illinois – 1,690

    • Pennsylvania – 1,650

    • Georgia – 1,610

    • Michigan – 1,330

  • Missouri – 1,310

Characteristics of a Good CNA

Some of the essential qualities of a good CNA include:

    • Calm: You will need to work in high stress situations, and will have to sometimes do tasks that you might not enjoy, such as changing dirty sheet and changing bedpans. Calm is required to handle everything that you will have to deal with on the job.

    • Caring attitude: You really do need to care about people. Remember that each patient is different and you will need to give your  time and attention to each one of them.

    • Easy going: Health care organizations work 24 hours per day. You may have to handle an emergency or crisis at any time. You also may have to work in the middle of the night and on weekends.

    • Emotionally stable: You will be working with people who are very sick and dying. You also may have to work with people who have been in accidents. You need to be able to stay on an even keel emotionally.

    • Strong communication skills: You have to be able to communicate well with patients and family, as well as with other health care professionals.

    • Endurance: You have to be both emotionally and physically strong. You will need to work long hours and may have to have a great deal of endurance and stamina.

  • Compassion: You are in direct, constant contact with your patients, so you have to have a great deal of compassion and empathy. This is very important for them as they go through their recovery.

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