CNAs are trained medical professionals who provide support to doctors and nurses, checking patients’ vital signs and medical records as well as assisting physicians. In order to become a CNA, proper certification is required. Many CNA programs are offered at community colleges, technical schools, or even hospitals. Program requirements vary, but students must complete 6 -18 weeks of classes including a lab component, clinical training, and all relevant coursework.
For anyone who wishes to earn a nurses assistant certification, or CNA, earning a medical assisting or nursing assistant degree is usually required. Most often, an associate's degree from one of the schools below will be sufficient. For those wanting a more advanced degree, bachelor's level programs are also available.
AS in Medical Assisting
Kaplan University — Kaplan's associate's degree in medical assisting at their School of Nursing offers courses on numerous topics including community nursing care, management, and informatics. Graduates of this program will be eligible for becoming a CNA.
CNA stands for certified nursing assistant. Nursing assistants are high in demand, and it is an area that is expected to grow. CNA requirements and licensing vary from state to state. There are a few steps to becoming a CNA. CNAs work under nurses, directly with patients, providing them with quality care and aid with long term treatment. Becoming a CNA is easier than one might expect, but it is imperative to understand the responsibility involved with this career. Many regard CNAs as “just” nursing assistants, but they have many responsibilities and are trusted with important patient issues such as records and prepping a patient for nurses or doctors.
A GED or high school diploma is needed to become a CNA. This is all you need to submit when applying for a program. Most applicants are accepted into CNA programs. These programs are at community colleges and trade schools, or they can also be organized through community centers, hospitals, and nursing homes. There is great demand for CNAs, and it is an industry that experiences high turnover rates. If you feel you have the compassion and courage to care for others on daily basis, but are not interested in going to school to become a nurse or other medical personnel, a CNA certificate may work for you.
Becoming a CNA doesn't require you to obtain a degree in most cases. Meeting the requirements and passing the CNA exam are usually all that is needed to start your career. However, obtaining an associate or even a bachelor degree can yield better results over a long term period. Programs most commonly associated with healthcare include:
Programs to become a certified nursing assistant usually take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. This depends on the program and if the CNA is specially trained to work with a particular type of patient, such as geriatrics or pediatrics. Most CNAs do not specialize in any one type of patient care until after they have experienced years on the job. For example, a CNA who begins his or her career in the psychiatric ward of a hospital will likely go on to specialize in mental health patients. CNAs are certified to assist any type of nurse since their certification does not include any specialty.
The technical time spent on becoming a CNA is 150 hours of training, usually dispersed over the span of eight weeks. Any program promising to make you a CNA in less time than this is likely not a legitimate organization or program. In some states there are certified nursing assistant programs that can be completed online.
There are many online CNA programs available, but you have to be careful about which one you choose. Some online programs are scams and may not adequately prepare you for the CNA exam in your state. Before enrolling in a program, ensure that the school is properly accredited. Because CNA requirements are localized, it is essential you check out the online program with a discerning eye. This prevents you from wasting any time or money. One good way to find a reputable CNA program is to see if they are on the National League Nurses for Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) website. This site lists all reputable CNA programs, including online programs.
A CNA program conducted online covers the same material you will cover in the classroom. The online setting allows students to work at their own pace and work around a busy schedule. Many people becoming CNAs already have full time jobs and may have a family to care for. The online option allows students to take their education into their own hands and offers flexibility. Beware of online CNA programs that promise your certification in a few weeks. Also beware of those that make no mention of the specific requirements and criteria for your state. Many online CNA programs promise to prepare anyone for the CNA exam. Because this exam varies based on state, there is no way for an online program to cater to everyone.
CNA programs can be completed either through a traditional campus setting or via an online program. The coursework and material you will cover will be the same either way, but if you choose to attend an online program, you can schedule your courses and studying around your current career or family obligations. This enables you to learn online at your own pace. CNA programs do require you to complete a certain number of clinical hours in order to get the hands-on training and experience you need to complete the program. In some cases, a student may need to arrange clinicals with a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility in their area. Not all facilities are willing to work with students, as having an uncertified medical personnel member working with patients poses a liability. It is for this reason that it is strongly encouraged that you begin communicating with an adviser early enough in the program to give yourself ample time to register for your clinical hours through a participating facility. For some students, an option may be to do a combination of both traditional and online, that way you still have the flexibility of completing courses online around your schedule, but can still take some courses on campus if you choose to do so.
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