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Nurse's Aide Certificate and Certification Programs

A nurse's aide, often called a nursing assistant, provides basic daily care for patients in short-term and long-term medical facilities. Learn about the educational requirements for the job and details about the training program.

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Essential Information

Although a high school diploma may be sufficient for a job in this field, a certificate program can help prospective nurse aides gain real-world experience and prepare for state certification. These training programs are typically designed to teach students the skills needed to assist with a variety of basic healthcare procedures under the direction of a nursing staff, including patient care, vital-sign measurement, and medication administration. Admission to a program often requires a criminal background check, drug screening, and physical examination.

Upon completion of the program requirements, students are prepared to take their state certification exam, which usually consists of both practical and written tests.


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Certificate in Nurse Assisting

The curriculum for this program consists of lectures, lab work and supervised clinical rotations. Students develop basic nursing skills, while learning about both the medical and legal aspects of being a nurse aide. Topics of study can include:

  • Patient rights
  • Anatomy
  • Infection control
  • Physiology
  • Phlebotomy
  • Electrocardiography

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nursing assistants and orderlies were expected to see a faster-than-average employment growth of 17% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also stated that nursing assistants earned a median annual salary of $25,710 in May 2015.

Certification and Continuing Education Information

After completing the certificate program, nurse's aides must pass the certification exam before they can work as certified nurse assistants (CNA). The BLS reports that the federal government requires that training programs for these professionals be at least 75 hours. When nurse's aides pass the examination, their names are added to the state registry of nurse's aides, and they're permitted to work in nursing care facilities.

Certified nurse's aides may also advance their education and become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs). Candidates can become LPNs by completing diploma or certificate programs, while becoming an RN requires at least a diploma in nursing. Both must meet their state's licensure requirements before they can practice. Bachelor's degree programs in nursing are also available. These prepare students to become RNS, as well as making them eligible for graduate studies in nursing.

The most common form of education for nurse's aides is a certificate program. Through labs, clinical rotations, and lectures, these programs can teach you the skills you need to do the job and gain other nursing credentials.

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