Accelerated CNA Program Information and Requirements

Individuals with experience working as nursing assistants, but who still need to complete additional training in order to gain licensure, can enroll in an accelerated CNA certificate program offered through a community college or vocational school.

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Essential Information

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) work under the direct supervision of registered nurses or other medical professionals to provide care to patients in healthcare facilities. Traditional CNA training programs are composed of traditional classroom and clinical courses and take about six weeks to complete. An accelerated CNA certificate program covers the same basic courses and practical training elements, but takes an average of two weeks to complete and is typically designed to prepare students to sit for a licensure examination. Certification requirements vary according to state laws. In addition to fulfilling federal requirements, candidates must pass an examination.

Prior to enrollment, students need to attend an information session, possess a valid driver's license, be proficient in English, pass a background check and demonstrate proof of immunization.

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Accelerated CNA Program

Students can learn how to provide first aid and CPR to patients, communicate with medical personnel, check patient vital signs, administer medication, insert catheters, feed and bathe patients and more. Many of the courses included within an accelerated CNA program are practical in nature and are designed to provide specific preparation for state CNA examinations. Some specific examples of courses are listed below:

  • Patient care basics
  • Medical terminology
  • CPR and first aid
  • Medications
  • Medical disorders
  • Infection control

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Nursing care facilities, hospitals, and long-term care facilities employed more than 1.4 million nursing assistants in the United States in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment in this field was predicted to grow by 18% from 2014-2024, says the BLS, which is faster than the growth rate expected for occupations in general (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, nursing assistants earned a median salary of $25,710 annually as of May 2015.

Continued Education

The BLS reports that there are federal standards for CNA licensure, including 75 hours of relevant training. Though national standards exist, nursing assistant certification examinations are administered by individual states. Other than the national requirements and an exam, certification requirements will vary by state, according to the BLS. The BLS says that nursing aides who work in nursing care facilities are generally required to be licensed CNAs.

Accelerated CNA programs cover the same basic material as a six week traditional program but only take about two weeks to complete.

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