CNA courses can be completed in less than five months, at which point students need to complete the state registry examinations to become CNAs. These programs focus on basic nursing principles, including the role of a CNA on the healthcare team. Prerequisites include general education coursework, CPR certification, and a physical examination, prior to full admission into the CNA program.
Certified Nursing Assistant Certification Program
CNA programs are typically led by registered nurses or individuals with nursing experience and cover the day-to-day tasks of CNAs, including patient assistance, checking vital signs, feeding and physical therapy exercises. Students will develop the communication, care giving, and assessment skills necessary to provide personal care for patients. Typical coursework in a CNA program includes:
- Introduction to nursing care
- Basic life support for healthcare providers
- Long-term care
- Certified nursing assistant care aide
- Clinical assignment
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Certified nursing assistants work in a variety of health care environments, including hospitals, retirement homes, hospice care, patient's home and private practice. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), jobs for nursing assistant and orderlies will increase 17% from 2014 through 2024. The BLS indicates that the average hourly wage for nursing assistants was $12.89 in May 2015.
Graduates of a certified nursing assistant program may consider developing further training through nursing programs at a variety of degree levels. CNAs may consider the registered nursing (RN), licensed vocational nursing (LVN) or licensed practical nursing (LPN) degrees through an associate's degree program. Students who hold the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) may also consider a master's or doctorate degree in nursing.
Certified nursing assistant programs allow students to earn a certificate in five months. That credential, coupled with state examinations, allow graduates to find work as nursing assistants and orderlies.