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CNA Classes & Training Programs

Are you a compassionate person who simply has a desire to help people? Caring for others seems to just flow from you, as if that was what you were put here on Earth to do? If this describes who you are, at your core: then a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, may be a great opportunity for you! Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant is as easy as signing up for CNA classes and provides an exciting and quick way to get your foot in the door of the medical field. It allows some people an opportunity to get experience in the medical field while continuing another (more specific) medical degree; others make a career of Nursing Assistance itself, which is a much needed and important profession. CNA’s spend more time getting to know the actual patient and providing care for an individual person. Other careers in the medical field (such as full RN’s or Doctors) on average spend less time with each patient. CNA’s spend much more time with each individual, which means they can actually have more of an impact in a person’s life simply because they are investing both care AND time. CNA’s are the grunt soldiers of the medical field, and without those grunt soldiers doing the dirty work and investing themselves in the lives of people, the war cannot be won (it can’t even be fought).

If you’ve ever thought about pursuing this exciting and noble career path, and are looking for more information on CNA classes and all the job entails, then you’ve come to the right place. This website was created to help people who are considering the options of certification in the field of nursing assistance. A CNA goes by many names or acronyms, depending on what part of the country you live in: Nursing Assistant (NA), State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA), or Patient Care Assistant (PCA). On this site you can read about what the Certified Nursing Assistant job entails, where you can get your certification, how long it takes to become a CNA. It also gives information about top CNA classes, online programs, requirements, CNA testing, renewal of certification, and much more.

Right now is great time to be looking into a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant. According to nursinglink.com, by the year 2016 there will be a need for 393,000 CNA’s in the United States. That is seriously great news for those looking to start CNA classes and get their certification. Some of the states which have the largest number of job openings in the CNA field are: California, Florida, and New York. Each of these states has thousands of openings each year in the area of Nursing Assistance.

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What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is an assistant in the medical field who engages in the care of patients and clients’ healthcare needs, while under the supervision of a medical professional (Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse). As you’ll learn throughout your CNA classes and training, the requirements of a CNA vary widely depending on the setting of the job, as well as on the area in which you work. Predominately, CNA’s are responsible for the care of patients in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care centers, and even in home care. According to NursingAssistantGuides.com, the primary responsibilities of a CNA are items such as (but not limited to) the administration of medication, taking vital signs, dressing and cleaning wounds, documenting patient behavior and symptoms, patient bedside care, as well as cleaning and sanitizing patient rooms and areas, cleaning bedpans, and other less desirable jobs. It is serving the basic needs of a patient. It is arguably one of the most important roles in the medical field (without people doing the work of CNA’s patients wouldn’t get the care they need). Often, your role as a CNA is to act as a liaison between the patient and the Registered Nurse. A CNA is there to know the patient, to hear the people in their care, to notice the changes in their day to day life: an RN or Doctor may not notice subtle changes since they spend less time with the patient. The CNA is responsible for reporting what is observed to the nurses and doctors in order to give the patient the best possible care in their condition. The job is not always glamorous, and may involve a fair amount of “dirty work”; however, the position was created to aid people in a time of hardship and need. You are helping to cure sickness, bring comfort and encourage people at a time when they need it most. CNA’s are the hands and feet of the medical field, without hands and feet it’s hard to give a patient good care, or even to care for them at all!

As a CNA, your job may be very hectic and fast-paced. People looking to join this exciting group need to have a great work ethic and passion for helping people. A lot is often asked and required of a CNA, but the satisfaction and joy of helping people is the motivating factor in this field. It is important to know what you are getting into, when pursuing this career choice. If you have a strong sense of compassion for people in the healthcare system, then you are well on your way to being equipped for the job.

There is a high demand for CNA’s all over the country. This is the result of many factors. The CNA turnover rate is quite high, as many CNA’s are working towards moving up in their medical careers. Also, the medical field in general, is one of the areas that is continually growing in this country. The job opportunities for people who are Certified Nurses Assistants are quite endless. As stated before, by the year 2016 there will be a need for over 300 thousand CNA’s in the United States alone. What America needs are for everyday heroes to step into these roles and provide good care for people on a ground level. Doctor’s may make a small difference in many people lives, but CNA’s can make a huge different in a few people’s lives.

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Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant is a great path into the medical field. Finding the right CNA classes and training can be a challenge. We’re here to help.

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Expected CNA Job Growth by 2020
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National CNA Employment Rate

How much does a CNA make?
How much does it pay? The pay differs from place to place, as any job. Typically, a CNA is not given a salary, but they work on an hourly income. This is helpful to people who are looking to work part time in the medical field while they are continuing their education towards a nursing degree (or other degrees). It’s also helpful for those looking to work part time for other reasons (making time for family etc.). Ultimately, how much you make depends on the hours you put in (some CNA’s work up to 60 hours a week, mostly because they desire to be with their patients). The average hourly wage of a Certified Nursing Assistant was $11.46 (in May 2008, according to The BLS). But, since it often depends on the area of the country, and the site itself, a CNA can work for a much higher (or lower) hourly rate than that. According to nusinglink.com the best state to work in as a CNA is Alaska. CNA’s in Alaska make $14.36 an hour. If you do not want to move so far, however, some of the other higher paying states for CNA’s in the continental US: New York, Massachusetts and Nevada. These states typically pay above $12 an hour. On the lower and of the pay scale are states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. These states pay as low as $7.50-8.50 an hour. Most lifelong CNA’s are not working for the money, however. These individuals have committed themselves to living on less in order to give/help more. They are sacrificing the ability to make more money in order to gain something greater: a purpose in this world. The purpose being to care for others, to make a big difference in the lives of patients entrusted to them. These are the literally the superheroes of the medical field, sacrificing their own comforts to bring comfort to others. This sacrifice is perhaps one of the highest levels of nobility within the human race.

How do I become a CNA?
To become a CNA you need to first have either a high school diploma or a GED. The next step is to obtain some specific training in a post-secondary setting in the area of nursing instruction. There are many places that offer CNA classes or certification training programs in the area specifically designed to train Certified Nurses Assistants. It is possible to find sites that will hire you without training, and will give on-sight training. However, these positions can be more difficult to find. Therefore, the best way to obtain a job as a CNA is to sign up for CNA classes and get CNA certification. After you have gone through a CNA training program, you will have to take a competency exam that will test everything you learned in your CNA training (both the book information and your hands on knowledge). Every CNA is required to pass the exam before they are considered a qualified Nursing Assistant. Don’t be intimidated by the thought of a competency exam. Your CNA training will leave you well-equipped for this exam, there are also practice exams available online to help you study.

Average CNA Salary
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CNA Jobs by 2020
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Where can I get my CNA certification?
Training and schooling for CNA certification is offered through many different facilities and programs. You can find CNA classes online, at local community or career colleges, at local medical facilities, or even at the Red Cross. CNA classes can be quite costly (up to several thousand dollars), but there may be financial aid available through the government, military or local medical programs themselves. Also, remember that there are employers who will hire passionate people and pay for their CNA training (if they see it as beneficial in the long-term interest of their medical site). If money is the barrier between you and your goal, apply at some medical sites who are looking for CNA’s, and express your desire to be an everyday hero. A site may see your commitment and heart and be willing to pay to have you trained in order to acquire an employee who may be a catalyst for positive change in the care given to patients at their site. Never let the cost of CNA classes discourage your dreams. There are creative ways to gain financial aid, scholarship or contracted employment in which the employer bears the cost of the CNA classes or training programs.

If you decide to obtain CNA certification prior to applying for a Certified Nursing Aide position it may be wise to consider your study habits and how you best learn, when choosing a specific CNA coursework program. Some people thrive quite well doing online course work, where-as others need to be in a classroom setting to be able to fully engage in the material. Part of where you get your CNA certification will depend on the state in which you live. For example, this website provides state specific information about CNA classes in Utah, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Minnesota, Michigan, Chicago, and more. Check back as the site will be continuing to add information on other locations for CNA classes near you.

How long does it take to become a CNA?
The great news is that the training to become a CNA can be as quick as four to six short weeks (some programs are around 2-3 months)! This means that you can be out of the classroom and into the field within a few months. This is great news for most people, and part of the reason that many people choose to initially begin their medical career as a CNA. You can continue to work and earn money as you advance or continue your education towards your desired field of work, or you may choose to remain working in the nobility of CNA work (which may be the admirable choice). Also, the experiences you receive as a CNA can help you better determine what may want to do in the future. You may find that you thrive in a hospital setting vs a nursing home or vice versa. You may also learn, first hand, what the medical professionals around you are required to do, and may discover your true passion in the medial field this way. Regardless of your long term medical career goals, looking into CNA classes and getting your Certification as a Nurse’s Assistant can help you get started caring for people in a very short amount of time.

Find CNA Training Programs near you.
Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant is a great path into the medical field. Finding the right CNA classes and training can be a challenge. We’re here to help.

Long-term Careers as a CNA
Many people make careers as a CNA. They find satisfaction in their work, and pride in how they are contributing to the care of people. These individuals who commit to long-term work as a CNA are the back-bone of the medical field. They have sacrificed their ability to make more money, and instead choose to work for less pay in order to provide the best care to individual lives. This work matters!

Others decide that they like working with the patients, but want to pursue a higher paying job, or they would like to leave some of the less-desirable duties behind. There is room for advancement and growth on the career path. In some places around the country there are different levels of CNA’s. A person can progress in their field from a level 1 CNA to a level 3, for instance. Or they may be promoted to a different title completely, such as geriatric technician. The key to career advancement for CNA’s is either through the avenue of continuing education, or through one’s ability to shine where they are. Some people are promoted as CNA’s simply because they have show commitment to what they do.

Still others pursue advanced medical degrees while working as a CNA. Besides the obvious nursing avenue, some choose to go for a business degree and become administrators in nursing homes. Another area that CNA’s pursue is geriatric care management. Both of these degrees are less thought of, and much needed career paths that some CNA’s take. Management positions in this capacity fill the role of helping families determine a path or course of action for their loved ones, and plan out how the needs of their elderly relatives will be met. Again, more education is necessary to pursue this position, but for the right person who wishes to impact lives in this capacity, it may be an incredibly honorable career goal to have.

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CNA Certification Classes

One of the fastest growing areas of work in our country is the medical position of a Certified Nursing Assistant. The reason there is such a need for CNA’s is that the percentage of geriatrics in our country is on the rise and will continue to increase (especially as baby-boomers are now in retirement). More and more nursing homes are opening, and the need for CNA’s at nursing homes, in particular, is great. There is also a need for CNA’s in hospitals, adult day care centers, and other places that provide in-patient medical care. The primary responsibility of a CNA is direct patient care. Things like feeding, bathing, dressing, and moving patients. Since CNA’s spend the largest amount of time with the patients, they are a vital part of observation of patients. Nurses and doctors rely on CNA’s in the hospital and nursing home settings to be their eyes and ears and to report any changes in the health or behavior of a patient. So, as you can see a CNA is vital to the medical world working properly to actually provide good care to the person.

In order to become a CNA, a person needs to acquire certification in the area of Nursing Assistance. Individuals, who have completed high school or have achieved their GED, are eligible to go through the process to become a CNA. If you have the desire to do so, and have patience, compassion and the willingness to help people in need, you are a great candidate for the job. There are 3 main parts to the CNA certification course process: the initial CNA classes, a required number of clinical hours, and a 2 part state examination. Once these 3 portions have been completed and passed, a person may apply for their CNA certification.

Where can I take my CNA classes?

There are many options for those wishing to complete their CNA certification course work through traditional CNA classes. Programs in CNA certification are offered at many colleges, some technical schools, community colleges, hospitals and through the Red Cross. There are also many online CNA classes that offer the course work for CNA certification. Some programs can be quite costly, but there may be financial aid available. Some programs are much more affordable, so it would be wise to inquire with a number of different CNA training programs in your surrounding area before deciding on one in particular. Some nursing homes or hospitals will actually pay for your CNA training and guarantee a job if a person is hired by them. These opportunities are fewer and further between, but are a great option for individuals who cannot pay for their CNA classes out of their pocket, but who want to get out there and begin changing the world.

What will be covered in my CNA classes?
CNA certification is like a giant leap into the world of patient care, but a baby step into the world of medical science. This is good news for those that want to care for people (in the medical world) but don’t want to go further in depth with the medical science or schooling that other medical professions require. During your CNA classes you will learn some of the basic skills and information about the medical world. Your courses will cover some basics in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and basic pharmaceuticals (but does not go incredibly deep into these subjects). If you were to go further in the process towards becoming a registered nurse you would be required to go much deeper into these topics and subjects, however, CNA certification simply covers the basics which equip you with what’s needed to just take care of people! The goal is to get students out of the classroom quickly and into positions were they can build relationships and provide care.

Other items which are taught to CNA’s in training are practical medical procedures such as taking a patients vitals (blood pressure, temperature pulse etc.), and administration of medicines. In your CNA classes you will learn how to assist patients with basic life care tasks such as eating, bathing, and moving patients. There will also be some first aid training, and quite a bit of training on how to properly document all patient care.

Another major area of training is on observation of patient behavior and medical concerns. As a CNA you become the eyes and ears of nurses and doctors (in addition to being the hands and feet of the medical field). CNA’s spend much more time with patients than nurses and doctors do, so it becomes their responsibility to notice any changes that may affect how the patient will be cared for in the future. It is important to become skilled in communication as the CNA is required to relay information to supervising nurses.

How long will the CNA classes last?
This question depends on the state requirements of CNA certification in your particular state, and the program in which you enroll. Typically the CNA classes or course work can be completed in approximately four to six weeks. Most states require around 75 hours worth of in-class training time. Once the initial course work is completed, the CNA candidate is then required to complete a state-specific number of clinical hours in a hospital or nursing home setting under the supervision of a registered nurse. Once the clinical hours are completed, you then need to pass the examination. The examination is 2 parts and covers your course work and clinical experience through a practical exam (testing actual skills learned) and a theoretical exam (a multiple choice test which evaluates your theoretical knowledge of the content covered in the course work). Once all three areas of the process (course-work, clinical hours, and exam) are completed, you can then apply for your CNA license which needs to be approved by the state Nursing Board.

Why do I need to be certified as a CNA when it is basic medical care?
The bottom line answer to this question is that states have medical standards that they need to comply with. Since the medical field is an area where there is much legal scrutiny, it is important that ALL medical professionals are properly trained for the job they are hired to perform. Even when the jobs are basic, they are still so important so there are still very specific protocols which need to be adhered to in order to prevent lawsuits or other backlash. Something as simple as administering medication has very specific steps that need to be done every time (such as verifying the patient and medication several times) in order to prevent any mix-up or possible mistake. These tasks may seem silly, or even redundant, but are vital to ensuring the safety of every patient and individual under the care of a CNA, nurse or doctor. These are the intricate details that you will learn about through your CNA classes and training, and you will be required to follow these procedures in every instance of your medical care of patients.

Will I be prepared once my CNA course work is complete?
Yes and no. It is important that all of the required steps are completed to ensure that you are adequately prepared for your job as a CNA. The course work alone will not fully prepare you. The required clinical practice hours under the supervision of a licensed nurse will help transfer your theoretical knowledge of the material to how it actually plays out in the clinical setting. The state required examination will test to see if you have learned all that is required of a CNA. Once all portions of the process are complete you will be prepared for your work as a CNA. Have patience with the process as it is all a vital part to making sure you are fully trained and prepared to work in the essential role of a Certified Nursing Assistant. It is well worth the time and effort you will put forth.

Find CNA Certification Classes near you.
Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant is a great path into the medical field. Finding the right CNA classes and training can be a challenge. We’re here to help.

CNA Training

In order to become a Certified Nursing Assistant each candidate must go through the proper CNA classes and training. It’s a relatively brief process, one that can be completed with a few short months. Once the in class coursework is complete, a CNA candidate must then complete the minimum number of clinical hours in a hospital or nursing home type setting under the supervision of a licensed Nurse. These clinical hours are the training portion of the CNA certification process. The material a student learns during the CNA coursework will be put to practical use in the real world during this training portion. It is an iatrical component of the CNA training process, and one that will give the candidate a taste for what their job as a Certified Nursing Assistant will be like.

Most CNA candidates will complete their clinical hours in a nursing home setting. The reason for this is that there are many more openings for CNA’s in nursing homes as opposed to hospitals. The need for CNA’s in nursing homes continues to be on the rise in this country, as our nation’s geriatric population increases. More and more nursing homes are being built each year, and it is suspected that this trend will continue for the next several years at minimum. As such, the job market for CNA’s over the next ten years is expected to grow, which is great news for people who are looking to enter this field of work. Most of those job openings will be in a nursing home or adult care center setting. This may be less desirable work for some who hope to work in the hospital environment, but others will be encouraged by this prospect as they have been equipped with the noble desire to care for the elderly. The elderly population in our country needs strong, compassionate, helpful people to care for them in their deteriorating conditions. If you are a person who contains patience, compassion and a great work ethic you are desperately needed in this area, and will continue to be needed for many, many years to come. Thank you in advance to those of you who step up to this important task in society.

Your initial coursework is step one to entering this exciting field in the medical world. Once the coursework is completed, you will need to seek placement in a hospital or nursing home to complete your required clinical hours. This externship, as it is called, will typically require you to put in 16+ hours of work under supervision depending on the state requirements. Sometimes the program you are in will help you find a placement for your externship, whereas other programs require you to find the placement yourself. This is not a paid externship, unless you have found a place that has agreed to hire you on throughout your training. These paid positions are typically few and far between, but they do exist as many medical facilities are desperate for CNA’s. After your clinical hours are completed you may then take the 2 part state CNA examination which will test both your practical and theoretical knowledge of the skills you learned during your coursework and onsite training.

What will I learn during my CNA training hours?

Basically, you will put into practice all the skills you learned during your CNA classes. You will work with patients in a medical setting. You will most likely be helping patients with their day to day self-care. Assisting patients with eating, bathing, and moving to and from procedure and/or activities are all responsibilities of a CNA professional. There may also be patient room and restroom cleaning and sanitation requirements, which is a vital part of keeping all the people exposed to the environment healthy (both yourself and others). In addition to these basic care requirements you will also be trained in taking patients vital signs. Onsite training with real patients will equip you with the skills to be comfortable taking temperatures, blood pressures, pulses and other important vital statuses. Administration of medication is another important job as a CNA. It is important to pay close attention to properly learning how to check and re-check patient medication against patient identification and patient charts. These procedures need to be followed precisely every time medication is given, regardless of how many times you have given a specific patient their medication. The reason for this is safety and protocol to prevent any mix-ups or accidents which may result in a lawsuit, or worse, the harm of a patient. This is why it is important to pay close attention to all that is taught to you during your clinical externship.

Why do I need to have a supervisor for my CNA training?
It is important to have a licensed Nurse supervisor for several reasons. First, it is a requirement for the supervisor to sign off on the clinical hours that you put in. These hours will be documented and submitted as part of your application process for your certification. Without the proper documentation and supervision you will not be able to receive certification for Nursing Assistance. Second, your supervisor will conduct much of your CNA training. They will teach you the skills that you need to know, and how those are actually done in a medical setting. Much of what you learned during your CNA classes will be relearned in a practical way. Always make sure to pay close attention to what your supervising Nurse is teaching you, and also what they are doing. Use this time to become good at observing, as observation skills are a vital part of your job as a CNA. Nurses know what type of people they need completing the CNA tasks in order to support the role they play in the medical field, just as doctors know what role an RN needs to play in order to provide proper support so they may complete their job properly. The nurse who is supervising your CNA practical hours is hoping to train a person to be good support staff in order for them to complete their job to the best of their ability. This is one of the main reasons for a nurse supervisor/trainer. Take this time and CNA training very seriously.

Why is the clinical CNA training such a short amount of time?
Once you have reached the point where you are ready for your clinical externship you have already put in around 75 hours of in class time and additional outside coursework as well. By this point it is simply a matter of practicing the skills you learned, during CNA classes, in the real world. Most of the skills you will have already been practicing on other classmates, etc. So doing it in a real medical setting will not be much different. Luckily, the CNA certification process is designed to get you quickly through the course work and training and into the medical field. As stated previously, there is a great need for CNA’s in our country right now, and the medical world benefits from CNAs being trained as quickly as possible. We need the everyday heroes as the backbone of the medical world! We need good CNA’s trained quickly, and then mobilized to change the world, one patient at a time!

Once my CNA training is complete, what is the next step?
After your clinical hours are completed the last step is passing the 2 part examination. One part will be the practical exam. During this part of the exam you will be asked to demonstrate skills such as taking a person’s blood pressure, or administering medication, in front of an examiner. You will be asked to do 4 or 5 skills in the time allotted. The second part of the exam is the theoretical exam. It will be a multiple choice test which will test your book knowledge about the material learned throughout the program. Upon completing these exams a person receives their certification and may begin the exciting step of finding the right position for you, and that can begin to change the world around, simply by giving each patient encountered the very best care you can provide!

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Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant is a great path into the medical field. Finding the right CNA classes and training can be a challenge. We’re here to help.