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Certified Nurses Aide: Nurses Aide Certification Program Overviews

Research nurse's aide certificate programs and how to earn certification. Get information about courses, licensing requirements and average salary for nurse's aides.

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Essential Information

A certified nurse's aide (CNA), often called a certified nursing assistant, provides basic care for patients who need help with feeding, grooming, dressing and bathing. Nurse's aide certificate programs teach students how to perform these duties as well as other tasks, including vital sign measurement. These programs often award a certificate of completion. Students must pass a separate certification exam to earn the CNA credential.

Educational Prerequisites

Each school sets its own admission requirements, but many don't require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED. However, placement tests are standard, and if minimal scores aren't achieved, remedial classes must be completed prior to program acceptance. Participants may also need professional-level CPR certification.

Course Topics

A nurse's aide certificate program is typically a 3-credit course where students explore fundamental nursing duties, healthcare ethics and communication skills. In addition to classroom and lab study, students participate in clinical training at medical facilities. Course topics might include:

  • Physiology
  • Anatomy
  • Infection control
  • Patient rights
  • Nutrition

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to 2010-2020 projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for nurse's aides, orderlies and attendants could increase 20%. Contributing to this faster-than-average growth is an anticipated increase in long-term care for the booming aging population. Job opportunities are expected to be best in nursing homes and residential facilities. The annual mean wage for these professionals was $25,420, according to May 2011 BLS data.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

To earn the CNA credential, individuals must complete a state-approved training program and pass an exam. Additional requirements vary by state. Nursing assistants working in nursing homes are required to earn the CNA credential.

Nurse's aides can pursue further education to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs). Individuals can become LPNs by completing an approved certificate program, while prospective RNs must complete a diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree program in nursing. Both LPNs and RNs must meet state licensure requirements.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics