This Is How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant

In the United States, there are around 1.5 million nursing assistants. Considering we’ll always need help (especially in our old age), it should be no surprise that this career is booming. Maybe you find it satisfying to help out with those with medical needs. Whether you’re seeing a job or want to switch, one thing’s clear: Being a nursing assistant is your calling. In that case, are you wondering how to become a certified nursing assistant? Then read on. We’ll discuss all the details you need to know.

Certified Nursing Assistant

What Does a Certified Nursing Assistant Do?

Before we become certified nursing assistants (CNAs), let’s first explore what they do. That way, you’ll know for certain if this is the right career for you or not. A nursing assistant is a nursing aide, nursing assistant, or patient care assistant (PCA). They’re responsible for several tasks, including:

  • Taking vital signs
  • Gathering supplies
  • Restocking supplies
  • Cleaning rooms
  • Preparing rooms
  • Turning/repositioning patients
  • Bathing patients
  • Feeding patients
  • Helping patients with bathroom tasks

All of these tasks (and more) are done under the supervision of either a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN).

Where Do CNAs Work?

Certified nursing assistants can work in various places because their skill sets are needed in multiple medical settings. They include:

  • Hospitals
  • Home health agencies
  • Assisted living centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospices

Wherever people need medical assistance, you can bet there are CNAs present.

CNA Salary

Wages will vary around the nation. It’ll also differ based on your training and experience. However, as of mid-2019, the median hourly wage is $14.26, and the median annual salary is $29,660. Of course, there will always be chances to move up and get raises in any work setting you’re in. So, you will likely make over $30,000 in one year as a CNA. This job is in high demand, as people will always need medical assistance and care. This means that job security is very high for certified nursing assistants. If you want a career where you don’t have to worry about being unemployed, this is a pretty one to choose.

How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant

To become a certified nursing assistant, you must have a high school diploma. If you’re already past your teenage years and don’t have a high school diploma, you must get your GED. Below, we’ll outline how to get your GED and then move on to becoming a CNA.

How to Get Your GED

Every state has different GED requirements, so you’ll have to look these up. In any case, you’ll have to do prep work to pass the actual exam. There are many study guides and GED tutors, so don’t be afraid to seek them if you need help. The GED itself has four sections: math (90 minutes), science (115 minutes), social studies (70 minutes), and language arts (150 minutes; one 45-minute essay). The entire exam is 425 minutes, a little over 7 hours. This means you need to be prepared to hunker down and test your concentration and endurance. You must score over 145 on every subject to pass the GED exam. Not every state has set the passing score at 145, so you’ll want to double-check.

Get Nursing Assistant Training

If you already have your high school diploma or your GED, the next step is to get nursing assistant training. It would help if you enrolled in schools with state-sanctioned training programs for CNA credentials, like Ultimate Medical. As you may have guessed, requirements will be different for each state. It’s essential to check that the National League also approves the Nursing Accredited Commission program (NLNAC). Otherwise, you might waste time and money determining that you cannot become an official CNA.

Take the CNA Certification Exam

Once you’re done with your program, then you’ll have to pass the CNA exam. This exam consists of a written and a practical part. For the CNA exam’s written piece, you’ll join others in a group setting to take it. It’s a multiple-choice test; you have 90 minutes to complete it. For the practical part, you’ll go in on your own to be tested by a proctor. You’ll be tested on four random clinical skills and get 30 minutes. Afterward, you’ll be given your score immediately. If you don’t pass, you can retake the test up to 3 times. For those who fail all three times, you have to retrain. And if you don’t work in the field for 24 months, your current certification will expire. However, you can retake the exam without going through training again.

Get Listed on the State CNA Registry

You’ll be listed on your state’s CNA registry if you’ve passed the exam. This means you can now apply for CNA jobs and work legally.

Know-How to Become a Nursing Assistant

Now, you know how to become a certified nursing assistant. Being a CNA can be gratifying, especially if you enjoy assisting those with various health degrees. You cannot only do what you’re drawn to but also make a decent living. Not to mention, job security is excellent for CNAs as well. So, if you weren’t sure if being a CNA was right for you, hopefully, this article has solidified your decision to try this career out. If so, the next step is getting started on your GED if you don’t have one. Otherwise, get started on CNA training today! Did you enjoy this article on how to become a CNA? Then, find more helpful tips by reading the rest of our blog!

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