How to Become a CNA

One great career option for people without a Bachelor’s Degree, or for those who wish to use it as a stepping stone to becoming a full-fledged nurse is to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Also known as orderlies or nurses aides, CNAs help their patients with day to day tasks under the supervision of a Registered Nurse. Responsibilities such as feeding, bathing, and grooming patients will typically fall under a CNA’s duties. Other duties like checking vital signs and helping nurses with medical equipment can also be part of the job.

To become a CNA, one must first earn a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED). Following this, a CNA certificate program must be completed at an institution such as a community college, medical facility, or other type of university that offers such a curriculum. These programs typically last from 6 to 12 weeks, and include instruction in basic nursing skills, nutrition, anatomy, and other things that will most likely be needed during a nursing assistant’s daily activities.

After the certificate program has been completed, most of the time an exam is given to finish the certification. Upon passing the test, the new nursing assistant is now certified to help nurses out with their duties.

The final step in landing a job as a CNA is to actually apply for Nursing Assistant jobs. People with this qualification can work in hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and mental health facilities. It is a good idea to go around to facilities such as these that are close by your home and to submit your resume (which mentions your Certified Nursing Assistant Certification of course) to the Human Resources Departments of these companies. CNA jobs will also be advertised in the normal outlets where other jobs can be found, such as newspaper classified ads, internet job sites, and at community job fairs. CNAs can also work in people’s homes assisting private nurses, so although working in private homes isn’t for everyone, you might keep an eye out for these types of jobs as well if this is something you are interested in doing.

Nursing Assistants typically make between $23,000 and $30,000 per year, depending on the level of experience and the cost of living in the geographical area where the job is located. The salary amount can also depend on the job’s work environment, as the salary for a CNA at a hospital may be different than a Nursing Assistant at a private home.

Although the salary of a CNA will not break any records for being the highest paying career field, the job is usually a secure one. Prospects are also very good for landing a Nursing Assistant job as health care is a service that is always in need. And as the life expectancy of the human increases, job prospects for this challenging career are only supposed to get better, as there will forever be an increasing demand for long term health care.


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