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Certified Nursing Aide Job Description and Education Requirements

Working as a certified nursing aide requires little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Certified nursing aides provide direct patient care under the supervision of a licensed health care professional. Their duties can include taking vital signs, dressing and bathing patients, and reporting patient concerns to doctors and nurses. Completion of a training program and certification is required.

Essential Information

Patients often need assistance with eating, bathing and dressing. A certified nurse aide (CNA) helps a patient in these areas and may also be responsible for taking some vital signs. Completion of a state-approved nurse assisting training program is required before one can take the exam to become a certified nurse aide.

Required Education Approved nursing assisting training program
Other Requirements State certification
_Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 18% for all nursing assistants*
_Median Salary (2015) $25,710 for all nursing assistants*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified Nursing Aide Job Description

Certified nurse aides work closely with nurses and medical staff to ensure that a patient is provided basic care on a daily basis. Some of these duties include bathing, feeding and dressing patients. A certified nurse aide may also make the bed and take note of any changes in the physical or emotional state of a patient. If a certified nurse aide does notice a physical or emotional change in a patient, he or she notifies an attending physician or a nurse.

Certified nurse aides also assist patients with getting out of bed and walking when needed. Basic vital signs, such as respiration rate, temperature and blood pressure, are often taken by a certified nurse aide. Certified nurse aides usually develop strong relationships with patients because they see and care for them on a daily basis.

Education Requirements

A certified nursing assistant training program prepares students for a career as a nurse aide. Aspiring nursing assistants should have strong communication skills and a genuine desire to help patients. Training programs can be found in medical facilities, vocational schools and community colleges. Once the requirements for certification are met, a certified nursing assistant credential (CNA) is awarded.

Nurse Assisting Training Programs

A nurse assisting training program can be completed in a short amount of time and includes instruction on how to provide basic patient care. Courses are generally split into divisions such as medical terminology, geriatric care, nursing aide skills and medication aide. A nursing aide skills class includes instruction on nutrition, rehabilitation, vital signs, mental health and personal care for patients.

Students are also made aware of patients' rights and how to properly respond to medical emergencies. Each class may include a laboratory or work experience component that tests a student's ability to perform the tasks required of a certified nurse assistant|. These work experiences are usually conducted under the supervision of a health care professional.

Certification Requirements

The requirements for certification include a period of training; however, many nurse assisting training programs take this hourly requirement into consideration. Additionally, a graduate of a certificate program in nurse assisting must pass an evaluation that addresses competency in core nurse aide skills and knowledge.

Aspiring aides must complete an accredited nurse aide program and pass an exam to earn certification. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for certified nursing aides is significantly higher than the job market as a whole.

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