What is a CNA?
The acronym CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant. A CNA provides medical care and assistance to those who are not able to physically care for themselves. However, a CNA is not a registered nurse and only operates under the supervision of a licensed medical professional.
CNA Job Description
The CNA job description varies depending on where one works. Many certified nursing assistants work with the elderly. They perform routine medical check ups such as taking a person’s blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration rate or temperature. They also perform tasks unrelated to medical care, such as helping a person eat, dress, bathe and get in and out of bed.
Some Certified Nursing Assistants provide assistance to doctors or nurses performing a medical procedure on a patient. A CNA can also perform some minor medical procedures without supervision; such individuals usually work in a clinic or public hospital. A CNA may also work as a freelance agent, providing at home assistance to a sick, elderly or handicapped individual.
CNA Classes and Training Prerequisites
There are a few requirements that must be met in order to take CNA classes and training. First of all, one will need to have either a high school diploma or GED. However, there are some programs that will accept students without a high school diploma, if that student can show proficiency in the skills of math and reading comprehension.
Most CNA training programs are willing to accept applicants from 16 years of age on up. However, there are some programs that only accept applicants over the age of 18. Another important training prerequisite is proof of vaccinations. A person who intends to work as a CNA will need to show proof of having all his or her latest shots. One should also expect to undergo a physical exam and background check. The latter two requirements generally apply when the “hands on” part of the training course starts.
Naturally, one will also need to fill out an application form for the training program and send it in. Most CNA classes have clear deadlines for sending in these applications and will not consider late or improperly filled out application forms. Furthermore, one will need to pay for the study course before beginning. Thankfully, most training courses are not overly expensive and there are many ways of obtaining financial aid that will cover the costs of the training.
There are some nursing homes and medical facilities that are willing to train a CNA free of charge. In exchange for the training, the CNA to be would need to sign a contract agreeing to work for the medical facility for a pre-determined length of time. Getting free training is a good option for a person who cannot afford a CNA course at a local community college. However, the requirements for enrolling in CNA classes may be more stringent than the requirements for enrolling in a community college. As the facility is committing to hire the individual at the end of the training program, it will likely not only consider one’s educational background but also personal skills such as patience, one’s ability to communicate well, one’s ability to handle stress and whether or not a person can speak more than one language.
The Cost of CNA Classes
The cost of CNA classes depends on which college or educational institution one signs up with. Typically, one can expect to pay between $500 to $600 for a six week course offered by a trade school or vocational school. More expensive course options may cost from $800 to $1,500. Courses offered by the Red Cross, community colleges or a private institution are usually the most expensive option.
CNA Classes Online
CNA classes online may be cheaper than classes offered by the Red Cross or a local community college. Online classes also have a great degree of flexibility and allow a person to hold down a job during the day and study at night and/or on the weekends. However, one should be aware that a large part of getting training in this field involves practical experience, which cannot be gained by taking an online training course. In addition to studying online, one will need to seek out opportunities for hands on training at a local nursing home, clinic or hospital.
CNA Certification Requirements
The primary requirement for getting CNA certification is completing the CNA classes. In addition, one will need to show evidence of practical experience in the field. The exact requirements vary from state to state, but generally speaking one will need to show from 75 up to 150 hours of training and hands on experience. A person that is seeking a CNA certification will also need to take a test and register as a nurse assistant with the state’s health department.
Once a person has registered as a nurse assistant, he or she can begin work in this field. However, one will not be considered a registered CNA until he or she has taken the test and received official certification from the state’s health department.
A person who enjoys helping others and is looking for a meaningful and fulfilling job may want to consider becoming a CNA. CNA classes and training do not take long to complete; in fact, the average training course takes anywhere from six to fourteen weeks. The requirements for receiving training are minimal and a person who starts out on this line of work can easily become a registered nurse later on if he or she so desires. Those who are seeking CNA training should start by finding an accredited educational institution that provides comprehensive training of this nature at a low cost. Enrolling in a free training program offered by an employer is also a good option, as both forms of training are recognized by the state’s health department. Once a person has gotten training, he or she should put in the needed hours and take the National Nurse Aide Assessment Exam in order to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.