Overview of Online Nurse Technician Certification Programs
There is no certification specifically for nurse technicians. However, nurse technicians and nurse assistants can become certified nursing assistants (CNAs) by meeting their state's specific certification requirements. For example, some states, like Florida, may offer their own state certification exam, while other states, such as California, Minnesota, and North Carolina, may accept the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). There are also other medical-related organizations, such as the Red Cross, that may offer CNA training courses and certification. Usually, parts of these certification exams are computer-based, but they need to be completed in-person at an approved testing center. Certification in the field can help students advance their careers in the field and/or become more marketable.
In order to qualify for CNA exams, most states require students to complete an approved CNA training program. These programs may award a technical diploma or certificate upon the completion of the program. Some of these programs can be completed in as little as 79 hours, but it is fairly common for programs to require around 120 hours.
Requirements for Online Nurse Assistant Certification
CNA certification is designed for nursing assistants wishing to enroll in their state's nurse assistant registry and demonstrate they are proficient with skills in the field. Although certification exams usually have to be taken at testing centers, some CNA training programs needed to qualify for the exam are available in a hybrid format.
Completing a CNA training program is usually the first step to earning CNA certification. These programs may offer some online coursework. However, due to the hands-on nature of the field, students typically have to complete some clinical and/or lab experiences. These training programs may require students to meet specific requirements, such as passing a tuberculin skin test and adhering to clinical dress codes.
Students who have earned a GED and successfully completed an approved CNA training can usually sit for one of their state's approved certification exams. State certification exams and requirements vary, but most states include both a written exam and a competency skills exam. For example, the Iowa CNA certification exam consists of a written exam and a skills exam where students must pass each section by 70%. The national-level NNAAP exam also consists of a written exam and skills demonstration portion. Students who pass the exam and are from one of the 20 jurisdictions that utilize the exam can be added to their state's nurse aide registry.
Depending on the state, students may need to recertify or meet specific requirements in order to stay on the state's registry. For example, students in Alabama have to work at least 8 hours every 24 months as a CNA to stay active on the state's registry. The state also requires nursing facilities to provide 12 hours of continuing education for CNAs.
Career Information for Certified Nursing Assistant Programs
After completing their approved education program and/or any required state competency exams, CNAs or nursing assistants can work in a variety of settings to help patients with daily activities. These professionals may work in nursing homes, hospitals, home healthcare services, and more to help patients dress, bathe, move, and eat. Nursing assistants may also check vital signs of patients and/or discuss any health concerns patients or their families may have.
As of 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that nursing assistants made a median annual salary of $29,660. From 2018 to 2028, the job outlook for these assistants was 9%. This job outlook is faster than the national average, per the BLS.
Nurse technicians, or nurse assistants, can earn national and/or state-specific certification to meet their state's requirements. Typically, certification requires students to pass a written and skills exam, which usually needs to be conducted in-person, but students can qualify for the exam by completing a hybrid CNA training program.