Nurses Aide Training Programs and Requirements

Becoming a nurse's aide or certified nursing assistants (CNA) does not require a college degree, but it does require certification and specific state requirements. Students will learn important information such as taking care of the patient's personal and dietary needs.

Essential Information

Training courses for aspiring nurses' aides may be completed in conjunction with high school classes or following completion of a high school diploma. Certification programs are normally offered through vocational-technical schools, nursing care institutions or community colleges.

If a student would like to be a nurse's aide, they usually must complete a CPR course prior to completion of the program. Individuals who are interested in becoming a nurse's aide typically complete a 6-12 week state-approved nurse's aide training program. On-the-job hours may be required before they are hired, depending upon state requirements. Licensing regulations for nurses' aides vary, but most states require graduates of nurse's aide training programs to pass an exam for certification.

Nurse Aide Certificate

Students enrolled in nurse's aide training programs are taught specific skills include bathing, feeding, assisting with patient movement, medication administration and catheter care. Both didactic and practical training are incorporated into the curriculum. Typical coursework may include the following:

  • anatomy and physiology
  • infection control
  • patient rights
  • nutrition and hygiene
  • medical needs

Licenses and Certifications

Licensing regulations for nurses' aides vary, but most states require graduates of nurse's aide training programs to pass an exam for certification. Those seeking employment in a nursing care facility are required per federal guidelines to complete 75-hours of on-the job training and a performance assessment. Upon successful completion, nurses' aides are placed on a state registry of certified nursing assistants. The federal guidelines require 12 credits of continuing education hours to maintain certification, but each state may vary and require more.

Continuing Education

Often, a nurse's aide program is the first step towards higher nursing education, such as licensed practical nursing (LPN) and then registered nursing (RN). Additional education and training is required to progress further, but credit is often awarded for the initial training course. Nurses' aides may decide to focus in one specific area or job setting.

The National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) sponsors an annual convention and other regional conferences for all types of nursing aides and assistants. Other workshops are provided by state-level associations for nursing assistants. Many training opportunities are provided through individual employers because policies and procedures vary widely between different types of care facilities.

Nurses Aide certification programs are offered at places such as technical schools and community colleges, then upon completion of the program students must complete 75 hours of on-the-job training and assessments. Students must be knowledgeable not only on federal guidelines but state guidelines as well in order to be certified.

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