Becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a good way to enter the healthcare industry that, even in the recessionary economy, continues to hold its own in terms of employment. Even the CNA certification requirements are relatively easy to comply with especially when it comes to the education and training aspect.
Acquire the Education and Training
The first step toward becoming a certified nurse assistant is to acquire the relevant education and training to qualify for the certification exam. Said education and training are mandated by federal and state laws for aspiring nursing aides, both of which are provided for in accredited community colleges, technical-vocational schools, and online sites. Many healthcare establishments also offer specialized coursework for their employees aspiring to be certified nursing aides and who are then subsequently employed in said capacity.
The main requirements for most schools and sites for individuals aspiring to be part of their programs include but are not limited to:
• Possess at least a high school diploma or its equivalent
• Receive qualifying scores on competency tests, particularly in math and reading
• Acquire CPR certification either before or during the coursework
• Meet health requirements including vaccinations and tuberculosis screening
• Comply with background checks
Most CNA training programs have curricula including the on-the-job training period stretching anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. The classes are conducted either in conventional classrooms or in online sites equipped with video conferencing and chat facilities although many sites may also require their students and instructors to meet on an occasional basis depending on location. The on-the-job training part of the CNA training program is usually conducted in hospitals and nursing homes albeit rarely in doctor’s clinics.
As can be expected, the classroom and on-the-job training aspects of the CNA program are designed to equip students with the right knowledge and skills set for the workplace. As such, the curriculum usually includes but is not limited to the following coursework:
• Roles, responsibilities, and functions of a nursing aide
• Anatomy, physiology, and biology of the human body
• Personal care procedures for the residents and patients
• Infection control
• Hospital procedures
• Nutrition, exercise, and safety of patients and residents
• Vital signs measurement and recording
• Communication skills
Of course, written exams, oral recitations, and homework are all part of being a student in the CAN program. Keep in mind that hard work, passion, and determination are essential for the successful completion of your education and training.
Pass the Certification Examination
The second main part of the CNA certification requirements is passing the certification exam itself. This is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and is called the National Nurse Aid Assessment Program (NNAAP). Individuals who pass said certification exam are then listed on the state nurse aide registry, which opens doors of opportunities for employment in healthcare facilities like hospitals and nursing homes.
The CNA certification exam is divided into two main components, namely:
• Written Test or Oral Exam – Candidates can choose from either the written test administered in English or the oral exam conducted in English or Spanish. Both are in multiple-choice form although we must emphasize that each state will have a varying number of questions as well as types of questions. Practice tests are available online but these are not endorsed or produced by the NCSBN.
• Skills Demonstration candidates are required to demonstrate their practical nursing skills in 5 areas. These 5 areas of skills have been randomly chosen from 25 areas so candidates have no way of knowing which ones will be assigned to them beforehand.
When you pass the certification exam, we welcome you into the world of certified nursing assistants!