Students in CNA programs study wound care, vital sign monitoring, specimen collection and personal care assistance. These programs last anywhere from 6-15 weeks and are typically offered at vocational schools, community colleges and medical facilities. Graduates must register with their respective states in order to earn the CNA title.
In addition to having a high school diploma or equivalent, CNA program applicants must show proof of up-to-date immunizations and physical exams. Tuberculosis clearances are generally required as well as background checks. College assessments in math and reading may also be necessary.
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Certified Nursing Assistant Program
Students enrolled in certified nursing assistant programs participate in lectures, labs and clinical experiences. Topics of study may include the following:
- Patient care ethics and legalities
- Medical vocabulary
- Anatomy and physiology
- Infection control techniques
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Automated external defibrillator (AED) practices
Salary and Employment Outlook Information
Between 2014 and 2024, employment of nursing assistants is predicted to rise 18%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also noted that in May 2015, nursing assistants earned a median annual salary of $25,710.
Professional Certification and Continuing Education
Before certified nursing assistants can register with the state, they must generally pass a two-part competency examination composed of written and clinical components. The practical portion of the exam usually requires applicants to demonstrate nursing assistant skills, such as re-positioning a patient in bed or taking a patient's vital signs.
Continuing education requirements and proof of employment as a CNA are required to maintain certification. Nursing assistants who works in private residences, also known as home health aides, can undertake voluntary certification through the National Association for Home Care and Hospice.
CNA programs include clinical nursing experiences and instruction in medical terminology, medical ethics and more. Graduates may look forward to good job prospects, with faster-than-average growth in employment openings expected for nursing assistants between 2014 and 2024.