Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are patient care specialists who have been trained to care for the basic needs of a patient, and who also provide critical assistance to registered nurses in hospital and long-term care settings. Many CNAs work outside of these traditional care facilities by providing home health care to patients who require assistance within their own homes. If you are considering a career as a certified nursing assistant, choosing from among the many available CNA training programs can be a difficult task.
Understanding the requirements for becoming a certified nursing assistant is an important factor in determining which of the numerous CNA training programs will meet your personal and professional needs. Certified nursing assistants require certification from the relevant state to affirm that the CNA has received the necessary training and has met all other qualifications to work as a nursing assistant in that state. Each state has its own regulations regarding CNA training. In addition, there are federal regulations for those who work in hospitals or long term care facilities that are funded by Medicare. Among these federal standards are training requirements that entail a full 91 hours of certified nursing assistant training, as well as 16 hours of hands-on training in a clinical environment.
Because of those requirements, deciding where to get your CNA education is a critical part of your journey to becoming a nursing assistant. CNA training programs vary in type and method, with some programs providing all of the relevant training in as little as six weeks, while others can last as long as nine months to a year. You should examine your state regulations carefully to ensure that each of the CNA training programs you consider provides the education you need to meet your state’s requirements.
There are a number of things that you can do to help you choose from among the available CNA training programs. Speaking with an admissions representative is an important first step, whether you are pursuing your education in a community college setting or taking advantage of a free training opportunity from a local hospital or nursing home. In most cases, the admissions representatives will be only too happy to provide you with a tour of the school’s campus. They may even allow you to visit a classroom to get a better feel for how they conduct their training.
Online courses can be a little more difficult to evaluate, but there are some things you can do to help determine the quality of the online education. Begin by searching for comments that past or current students have made about the school’s program on various websites and forums. If you have doubts about the program you can always call your state’s public health officials to ask them about whether the online courses meet your state’s guidelines for certification.
Keep in mind that not all CNA training programs are created equal. Some will b reputable and others less so – and since the quality of the education you receive will affect your future employability, it is important that you differentiate between the two. Fortunately, finding the right CNA training program for you is a simple matter of due diligence and careful research.