Certified Nurses Aide: Nurses Aide Certification Program Overviews

A certified nurse's aide (CNA) program teaches students how to provide basic care for patients. Upon completion of the program students are awarded a certificate and can take their credentialing exam.

Essential Information

A certified nurse's aide meets the primary needs of patients who need help with feeding, grooming, dressing and bathing. Students in a nurse aid certification program also learn how to measure vital signs. These programs often award a certificate of completion and students are then eligible to take the CNA credentialing exam.

  • Program Levels: Certified Nurse's Aide Certification
  • Prerequisites: Complete placement test, may need professional-level CPR certification
  • Program Length: 3 credit course
  • Other Requirements: Clinical training at a medical facility

Nurse's Aide Certification

A certified nurse's aide assists patients by providing basic care. A high school diploma or GED are not always required, however, placement tests are standard. A nurses's aide certificate program is typically a 3-credit course. Students explore fundamental nursing duties, healthcare ethics and communication skills. Participants may need professional-level CPR certification. Upon program completion students can take the CNA credentialing exam. Course topics include:

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

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to 2012-2022 projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for nurse's aides, orderlies and attendants could increase 21%. 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 $25,100, according to May 2014 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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