Choosing a Career as a Certified Nursing Aide

Last updated on March 25th, 2022 at 07:58 pm

Choosing  a Career as a Certified Nursing Aide

Choosing a career as a nurse’s aide can turn out to be quite a great decision, as it not only promises a better pay, but opens up prospects for future growth. Although, it’s not mandatory for an individual to possess any kind of degree to become a nurse’s aide, it is highly recommended to get certified as a nursing assistant for better job prospects. You just have to undergo 75 to 150 training hours and pass a state-sanctioned competency test to get certified. Hence, those prospective candidates who are willing to pursue a career as a nurse’s aide must follow the below mentioned steps for better chances of success.

Requirements for Applying for a Training Program

In order to apply for the nursing assistant course, you must possess a GED or high-school diploma. Those individuals who are still in high-school can take extra biology, chemistry or science classes. Although, such courses aren’t related to what you will be taught in CNA training, they will make you appear as a better candidate for RN in the eyes of the selection panel. Besides this, you must be prepared for drug tests and background check while you apply for the training.
In fact, there are few high-schools that provide courses specially created for those students who want to pursue career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Hence, you can check out further whether your school provides such courses or not.

Skills required for a Nursing Assistant

In order to become a nursing assistant once has to posses strong communication skills because a nurse’s aide acts as a mediator between the RN/LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) and the patient. Moreover, one must believe in team work since this is not a one man show.

How to Become Certified

Those candidates who want to get CNA training from local healthcare facility must first read their contract prior to training. Most of the facilities have made it mandatory for a trainee to work for certain time internal once he/she has become certified. Apart from this, one can even get training from online training programs, Red Cross or college.
Regardless of from where you do your training, nursing assistant training programs by in large range form 2-6 weeks. Bur depending on the school, some of the courses could range from 6-9 months. If we talk about degree programs, there are none that could help you prepare become a CNA. Hence, if you have plans to go for a bachelor’s/master’s degree, then you must either choose nursing as a career or try to join a medical school for becoming a doctor. Since, a majority of CNA training courses involve on-site training at some medical facility, you must make sure to check out whether the program has been accredited by NLNAC (National League of Nursing Accredited Commission) or not. This will help you save your money, time and effort by getting certified from an accredited institution.
After you have completed your training program, you must appear for a competency test that includes practical session and multiple-choice section, where you need to exhibit 3-4 relevant nursing aides’ skills on a real patient or someone that’s acting as one. You can prepare for these tests in advance by practicing sample tests and multiple-choice questions along with performance tips that can be found over the internet.
Once your program is complete, you have 3-4 months to appear for state exam in order to become a fully certified nursing assistant. Although, some of the facilities hire individuals without a certification, the pay is quite low. Hence, we strongly recommend you to get certified in order to get better pay and career growth.
Male And Female Nurse Working At Nurses StationPlease note that every state has different time period for training & testing. Hence, prior to your enrollment for the training, you must contact the State Nurse Aide Registry and/or State Licensing Board in order to get the full idea regarding their requirements. If you are planning to do the training from other state, then make sure to know about their rules and requirements regarding training and work.

Daily Skills required to Work as a CNA

Some of the key skills that you would use on a daily basis while working as CNA are as follows:
• Cleansing & Sterilizing- As a CNA you must take special care in keeping the work area clean, while ensuring that your hands as well as the patient’s hands are washed correctly.
• Maintaining Privacy- It is quite crucial for you to maintain privacy of the patience as per the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Besides, you must have all the knowledge about medical privacy laws and act accordingly.
• Respect & Compassion- Most of the patients you will deal with while working as a CNA would be in quite difficult situation with conditions ranging from memory loss, disabilities, and impaired mobility to name a few, which makes it impossible for them to take care of themselves. Hence, if you take special care of these patients with utmost professionalism and compassion, your career as a CNA will be quite fulfilling and fruitful.
• Communication Skills- Since you act as a mediator between the nurses & patients, your role becomes quite important. You must know how to understand the requirements of patients and correctly convey them to the doctor or nurse. In fact, you need to have great written & oral communication skills on matters related to medication delivery, medical issues and patient histories.

To Search Job as a CNA

After completing the training and passing the CNA competency test you need to find a job. If we talk about recent times, there has been a substantial growth in the demand for CNA’s with better pay, which means that it won’t be that hard to get a job.

However, to make this happen you need to put some effort and prepare well in advance to know where or how you can apply. Below we have mentioned some steps that will help you in your quest for getting a job as a Certified Nursing Aide:
• Do a Proper Research- While doing the training, make it a point to find out about the facilities in your vicinity that employ CNA’s, such as clinics, private doctor’s office, nursing homes or hospitals. This will help you get the overall idea regarding job prospects in your region and make it a lot easier for you to search for a job.
• Flexible Approach- Since most of the patients in the nursing center require round the clock care, a CNA has to work for long odd hours. Besides, you will have to work at night as well as weekends. However, if you will work with full dedication, it will show you potential employers that you are indeed a hard working individual that can handle odd shifts.
• Try to apply everywhere- Usually applying for CNA job would take 2 to 3 hours for you, but in the process you will get adept at filling the forms and writing the cover letters. It really doesn’t matter how skilled you are as a CNA, you need luck too that can help you get your dream job. However, if you will apply to several places, you chances of getting call for an interview will increase.

How much CNA Earn:

According to the latest January 2015 wage data collected from The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the details are as follows:
• Mean Annual Wage: $30,735
• Total Number of Jobs: 1,469,800
• States that have Highest Employment Levels (In Order): California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
From the data shown above, it seems that it won’t be that hard to find a job as a CNA and the current job prospects in the industry look real good. Besides, the graph shown below (as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data from May 2008) reveals the speculated number of CNA jobs in comparison to other similar fields in year 2018.


Hence, those individuals who want to begin career as a CNA or want to go for associate’s bachelor’s/master’s degree program for nursing or any other medical degree can choose from a wide variety of courses available. Besides, one can even choose from an online or on-campus medical/medical support related programs. The nursing assistant is a great stepping stone that allows to you make an income while you learn.

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Anna Curran. RN, BSN, PHN

Anna Curran. RN-BC, BSN, PHN, CMSRN I am a Critical Care ER nurse. I have been in this field for over 30 years. I also began teaching BSN and LVN students and found that by writing additional study guides helped their knowledge base, especially when it was time to take the NCLEX examinations.

2 thoughts on “Choosing a Career as a Certified Nursing Aide”

  1. I like that you point out that respect and compassion are skills needed! Those are some of the most important skills I think anyone in the medical community can have. Building that relationship with your patient helps build trust. It also provides a much better experience for the patient.

  2. Thanks for informing me that nursing training school programs could take around two to six weeks to complete and that you would have to pass a competency test after completing the program. I plan to sponsor a single mom’s online school training costs to become a nursing assistant, so this is excellent information. I’ll share this with the woman I am sponsoring, so she knows what to expect to become a certified nursing aide. Thank you.


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