Becoming a CNA is a great way to get started with a medical career. CNA stands for Certified Nursing Assistant, and there is a large and growing demand for CNA’s. If you want to work as a nursing assistant, this state certification is a requirement.
Your CNA certification allows you to work in any health care setting including hospitals, long-term care facilities, assisted living, home health care, and hospice. It is fairly quick and easy to become a CNA. If you want to get started with a rewarding career, here are the steps to take.
How to Become a CNA
1. In order to become a CNA, you will need to pass the state certification exam in the state that you would like to work. You are not allowed to take the exam until you complete a state-approved CNA class. Get CNA class information here.
2. Once you find a local class you should apply for admission. Fortunately, there are very few pre-requisites to apply. You generally need to be at 18 years old, although in some states you can be as young as 16. Some schools require a high school degree or a GED, but many do not. The cost of training programs can be as low as $400 and as high as $1,200 or more. Shop around for a good deal!
3. Students are almost always accepted for admission as long as meet the school’s admission requirements. You will also be expected to pay for the program at this time. Many schools offer payment plans, scholarships, and other types of financial aid.
4. Make sure you attend all of your classes. There are state requirements mandating exactly how many hours of classes you must attend. Missing a single class will usually prevent you from passing. You will have classroom lectures, lab work, and clinical training. Most courses run about 3 weeks long, but if you sign up for weekend classes it might take up to 2 months to complete the program.
5. Once you complete the classes, you are ready for the state certification exam. There is a written multiple choice test and a hands-on skills test. The format of the written test varies by state, but normally there are about 60 to 80 questions. Make sure you study for your test until you feel fully prepared. You can use our free CNA Practice Test to assist with your test prep. It is also helpful to buy one of the best CNA study guides. Don’t forget to prepare for the skills test where you must perform 5 randomly selected skills from a list of 25.
6. Once you pass the exam you must register with the state. You are now able to work as a Certified Nursing Assistant!
7. Your final step to becoming a CNA is to find a job. There’s a lot of demand for nurse aides, and in most parts of the country there are plenty of job openings. Most training programs offer job placement assistance, so make sure you take advantage of these services whenever they are available.