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CNA Classes and Requirements

Updated on July 25, 2012

What is a CNA?

Certified nursing assistants are also called CNAs and are medical professionals who provide direct patient care. There are many different ways to refer to CNAs, but whether they're called nurse aides, patient care technicians or home health aides, they all do similar work.

Daily tasks that CNAs help patients perform include eating, bathing, getting dressed, moving around the living space and other basic activities.

CNAs are also frequently responsible for keeping track of the patient's physical condition and any concerns that a patient may have.

All of this information must be reported to a nurse supervisor. Incidentally, a large percentage of CNAs go into the nursing field eventually.

To become a CNA, you need some basic training and on the job experience, plus registration with a state organization.

Finding CNA Programs

Attending the wide range of CNA classes available in most states can be difficult for people with other jobs. Fortunately, direct training and partnerships with local schools allow people who already work for healthcare facilities to receive training.

However, not everyone is eligible for CNA programs through an employer, making evening and online coursework a good secondary choice.

If you don't have a local school available, you'll have to spend more time researching your online or long-distance CNA classes. This is because accreditation and certification standards vary by state.

Take some time to make certain that your state's CNA registry accepts the CNA training program you choose. All United States CNA training programs have to offer at least 75 hours of coursework, including about 16 hours of hands-on experience.

CNA Registration Requirements

Registering as a certified nursing assistant requires the prospective employee to go through specific CNA classes. The basic academic coursework is just part of CNA training, however.

A potential nursing assistant must receive hands-on training under the supervision of a registered nurse, physician, or a more experienced CNA in addition to taking the CNA classes.

Different states require different types of experience that must take place in a hospital, nursing home or other medical institution.

Job Options

The CNA position itself doesn't necessarily offer a lot of opportunities for advancement. As of 2012, an average CNA salary runs from about $21,000 to $29,000 a year but in certain circumstances can go as high as $40,000.

However, additional training may help CNAs move on to higher-paying jobs like RN or PA.

The CNA field continues to rapidly expand as medical costs grow and hospitals direct their RNs to perform more specialized duties.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CNA job market is expected to increase up to an additional 20 percent by the year 2020, since nursing home care is in demand.

This increase in demand means that CNA training is an important choice for anyone who is interested in a caregiving career.

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    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Interesting Article!!