How to Become a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) | Steps to Becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant

Becoming a CNA is a straight-forward process and not to mention almost identical for all US states. The main difference, however, is usually in the amount of training hours required, which averages to about an all inclusive 120 hours for written and skills competencies. In other words, the training is only a few weeks long, and can be shorter depending on where you attend. Private nurse aide training agencies tend to be shorter, while community colleges tend to be longer.

So your first step as you can see is to enroll in a nurse aide training program. Before deciding upon a program, make sure it is approved by your state, because if you decide to enroll in a program that isn’t approved by your state, then it will be a waste of time and money, and you won’t be able to proceed with obtaining your certification.

Also understand that programs are constantly being removed from the list of approved training programs, so be wise, be diligent, be smart, and make sure to stick with programs that are reputable and have been around for a long time. If you are a high school student, then you should consider taking advantage of your school’s program, which most likely has one. There’s also the Red Cross in your area, or private nursing homes that tend to offer free training as long as you agree to work for them for a certain amount of time. Regardless of how you choose to proceed, just know that the first step to a rewarding career as a CNA is to enroll in a state approved program that will adequately train you to succeed in this profession.

After you’ve taken the time out to research the best CNA training program in your area, you will have to attend class and pay close attention to the instructor, and participate in class discussions in order to allow yourself to gain confidence be prepared for the next step, which is the exam.There are a variety of resources online that will assist you in preparing for the CNA exam. You can search for sample exams online, or even visit YouTube where there are thousands of videos of people like you who have already taken the class and can give you an idea of what to expect, or even videos that contain sample practice problems.

Once you feel ready and confident enough to take the test, you should take it as soon as possible, and if you don’t pass it the first time (Most people do, so don’t worry), then you have a chance to retake it. But please be advised that you run the risk of having to be retrained if you repeatedly fail the test, usually a total of three times. Once you pass the exam, your next step is to apply for a CNA license, which you can do by contacting the department in your state that regulates nurse aides.

Your final step is to prepare yourself to engage in a thorough job search. Before you settle upon a position simply based on salary, make sure you consider other factors, such as the facility, location, and the overall vibe you get at the facility. The reason for this is that working as a CNA can be challenging at time, so in order to minimize your chance of becoming disgruntled and unhappy, make sure to exercise very good judgement. You want to love your career as a CNA, and making the decisions is the very first step to a successful path.


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