Certified Nurse Technician Education Requirements and Job Duties

Sep 10, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a certified nurse technician (CNT). Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Certified nurse technicians provide direct patient care under the supervision of a registered nurse. Students typically complete a state-approved CNT program at a community college or vocational school to prepare for the profession. They then must pass the certification exam to be employable since the duties CNTs are allowed to perform are regulated by the state.

Essential Information

Certified nurse technicians, similar to nurse aides or assistants, provide direct patient care with the supervision of a registered nurse. They aid patients with daily grooming chores, assist doctors with exams, and help nurses provide prescribed medications and treatments. Each state requires nurse technicians to earn certification by passing an exam, and national certification is also required to be employed by nursing homes.

Required Education Certified nurse technician program
Other Requirements State certification is required; additional federal certification required for nursing home employment
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 9% for nursing assistants and orderlies
Average Salary (2018)* $29,580 per year for nursing assistants

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Certified Nurse Technicians

Certified nurse technicians are like certified nursing assistants or aides. They can achieve certification by passing the exam issued by the state board of nursing. The requirements and regulations for taking the nursing assistant certification exam are different for each state. Generally, individuals complete a certified nurse technician program at a community college or an accredited technical or vocational school.

Those who wish to work in nursing care facilities also need to be certified by the federal government. This requires 75 hours of approved training and a competency test, after which the candidate's name is put into the state registry. The National Healthcareer Association offers a professional certification exam for certified nurse technicians; this kind of certification is a voluntary way to show job skills, but government certification may still be necessary for getting a job.

Certified nurse technician programs include courses in psychology, anatomy, physiology, infection control, nutrition, medical terminology and advanced patient care. Students learn how to help patients with daily living chores like eating, bathing and grooming. A high school diploma or GED is required to enter these programs. Certified nurse technicians need patience, dependability and a desire to help people. They must be able to communicate clearly and tactfully.

Job Duties

Certified nurse technicians work closely with patients under a registered nurse's guidance. They assist patients with daily tasks, such as bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, cleaning up messes and turning over in bed. Some patients are fairly independent, while others are almost completely dependent on nurses for physical support. Certified nurse technicians must be able to understand the stress and emotional strain of being sick and help patients understand what is happening in a compassionate manner.

Other duties include measuring and recording vital signs as well as the amount of food or beverage a patient eats and drinks. They may even measure and document how much a patient urinates or defecates. Nurse assistants may observe, document and report any reactions to drugs, treatments or other significant events. Each state government determines what tasks certified nursing technicians may perform while working in that state.

Certification requirements for CNTs vary by state, but generally include the completion of an accredited nurse technician program and passing an exam. Federal certification is also required to work as a certified nurse technician in a nursing home. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for certified nurse technicians is significantly higher than the job market as a whole.

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