The most common form of education for hospital aides, also known as patient care assistants, nursing assistants or nursing aides, is a nursing assisting certificate program. This program may also be called a patient care assistant certificate program, but both curricula provide the same skills and training. Students learn how to monitor and care for critically ill patients while under the supervision of a higher-level medical professional. After completing the curricula, students seek certification as a nurse's assistant.
Admission to these certificate programs requires a high school diploma or GED, current immunization records, and a background check. It takes about one to two years to complete these programs, which typically include the federally mandated 75 hours of practical training.
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Certificate in Nursing Assisting
Students in a nursing assisting program learn about patient rights, basic first aid, sanitation and infection control. They also learn how to monitor a patients' health status and administer medication. Other courses may include:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- CPR and other life saving techniques
- Medical ethics
- Principles of patient care
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for nursing assistants is expected to rise 18% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than average compared to other occupations. The majority of these professionals work at nursing care facilities and general hospitals. In May 2015, the BLS also reported that nursing assistants made a median salary of $25,170 per year.
Continuing Education Information
Upon completion of a certificate program, students may apply for certification by completing a state examination. The Certified Nursing Assistant examination covers practical skills and includes a written portion, which tests basic health and medical knowledge. Following a passing score on the exam, students may apply for state licensure. Not only is certification required to work as a hospital aide, but it also offers credibility and opportunities for job advancement.
Nursing assistants and other medical support professionals also have a wealth of continuing education opportunities through in-service training sessions, workshops and lectures. State nursing associations often have chapter events to offer training, networking opportunities and peer development. The National Association of Health Care Assistants and the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants typically have courses and conferences suitable for hospital aides.
Certified nursing assistants also have the opportunity to advance to a career as a registered nurse with additional training through an associate's or bachelor's degree program in nursing at a community college, university or vocational school.
Students who are interested in becoming hospital aides can get a certificate in nursing assisting, where they will learn how to support physicians and other nursing staff in the care of patients. Upon graduation, students will have to pass a state examination to become a certified nurse's assistant.