Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Training

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant? (CNA)

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) assists patients with their healthcare needs under the supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN). A CNA is also referred to as a Patient Care Assistant (PCA), a State Tested Nurse Aid (STNA), or a Nursing Assistant (NA) depending on where you work.

A CNA has a high level of experience and ability, but due to legal issues prevent a CNA from performing certain procedures.

A CNA can work in a wide variety of locations. They can work in hospitals, nursing homes, adult day care centers, assisted living facilities, and personal homes. CNAs often work as a liaison between the nurse and the patient, observing the patient’s condition and reporting the information to the nurse. Since the nurse cannot spend as much time with the patient as a CNA can, a CNA will also serve as the “eyes and ears” of the nurse.

A CNA plays an important role in the health care team. They provide routine care so that nurses are free to provide needed care that only they can perform. CNAs formulate care plans, administering medications, nursing assessments, and assisting in surgery room preparation.

Common basic tasks of the CNA include:

  • Observing patients’ conditions, measuring and recording food and liquid intake and output, recording vital signs, and reporting any changes to professional staff.
  • Turing and repositioning bedridden patients to prevent bedsores.
  • Answering patients’ call signals.
  • Providing patient care by applying dressings and supervising exercise routines.
  • Providing patients with help exercising, walking, and getting in and out of bed.
  • Preparing patients for examination, treatment, or surgery.
  • Transporting patients to treatment units using a stretcher or wheelchair.
  • Cleaning rooms and changing linens.

A CNA must have a strong grasp of emergency procedures and be able to stay calm in stressful situations. If you are thinking about becoming a CNA, a desire to help others and compassion for patients will help you during difficult days.

Good interpersonal skills and being a team player are both valuable traits for CNAs.

CNAs who have a nursing assistant certificate have competitive salaries to match their level of experience and education. CNAs are usually paid per hour and can obtain raises based on their years in the field and if they obtain more education. Generally, CNAs make an average of $9.00 – $13.00 an hour.

What are the educational requirements?

A Certified Nursing Assistant job usually requires at least a high school diploma or GED and some form of post-secondary nursing instruction. The instruction can be obtained from a variety of institutions including the programs offered through the Red Cross, community colleges, trade school, and online schools. Instruction is also offered though medical facilities which provides on-the-job training which is very valuable for anyone wishing to work as a CNA. All CNAs must pass an exam before they become a qualified nursing assistant.

It is important to remember that every state has different requirements for nursing assistants in regards to the required training. Before beginning any training, contact your State Licensing Board to learn about their requirements.

State-approved training programs must be a minimum of 100 hours of supervised clinical training and 50 hours of theory. Those who complete the program are placed on the State registry of nursing aides. To maintain certification, CNAs must complete 48 hours of continuing education every 24 months.

What are the different types of degrees in this field?

  • AA in Healthcare Administration: An excellent way to jump start a CNA career is a degree in health administration. CNAs are often in charge of administrative duties, with the responsibility of keeping medical offices running smoothly. This 2-year degree can help keep medical offices run smoothly.
  • BA in Healthcare Administration: While a bachelor’s degree is not required for most nursing assistant positions, it can still be a tremendous help for employment. And will lead to a high paying job. As with an AA in Healthcare Administration, this degree can help a CNA keep medical offices run smoothly.
  • Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting: This degree program typically takes less than two years to complete.
  • Nursing Assistant Programs: These types of programs are geared towards students who are interested in becoming certified nursing assistants. Admission is dependant on a high school degree or equivalent.
  • MS in Health Communications: As new technologies continue to emerge this degree will have increased value. Prospective students interested in learning about marketing and communications with a focus on healthcare should consider this 2-year degree program.
  • AS in Clinical Medical Assisting: This degree program teaches students the best methods for supporting physicians. Students also receive training that will enable them to assist with direct patient care. This degree is a good fit for a prospective CNA.

What is the average salary for a CNA?

Typically, a Certified Nursing Assistant position is seen as an entry-level position. However, many CNAs will stay in the position for years.

A CNA’s job becomes a career when they decide to obtain further education. The only other option for higher wages is to stay on the job for more than four years. Further education allows the CNA to advance to a Register Nurse (RN).

Hourly Rate Report (United States)

A CNA’s usually works about 7.5 hours a day with a one-hour break. To earn additional income, many CNAs will work double shifts. No previous healthcare experience is required to become a CNA, so the pay is about $9.50 to $12.00 per hour for the first four years. A CNA who has been at the same job for twenty years or more currently makes about $12.00 to $15.00 per hour. The actual hourly rates will vary depending on the state and the type of facility. In addition, the more certifications a CNA has, the higher the pay.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Jobs