If you’ve decided to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), your first step is to enroll for CNA classes. You have made a wise choice since right now the demand for CNAs is at all-time high. This means there should be plenty of job opportunities. This trend is expected to remain for years to come as the average age continues to grow older.
By completing CNA classes, you will find that it is a perfect stepping-stone to other nursing positions. The experiences you will receive while working as a CNA are invaluable to furthering your education and career goals while making a decent salary. Your healthcare career starts right now while attending CNA classes. We have presented some of the most common topics below concerning CNA classes. You can also check our FAQ page for other important questions you may have about becoming a CNA.
What are the Prerequisites for CNA Classes?
If you wonder what it takes to get in to CNA classes, you needn’t worry. Since CNAs are an Allied Health entry-level position there are just a few requirements necessary. Some requirements include age, immunization records, criminal background check and high school or an equivalent diploma. However, some CNA programs might have some requirements such as taking a placement or admission test. It is best to check with the admissions office for any prerequisites they may have before trying to enroll in CNA classes.
What Should I Look For in a Program?
Before you enroll in any CNA classes, you will need to sure that it is an accredited program. Accreditation can come from either by the State’s Board of Nursing or through a national governing body such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This is very important especially if you plan on furthering you education in to other areas of nursing.
Another aspect you may want to check out is the reputation of the CNA program. Look at reviews posted online by former students. Find out any information on the certification exam success rate among graduates. The reputation and success rate of the program is vital to future employment.
Where Can I Find CNA Classes?
One of the tougher decisions you will be making will be where to enroll to take your CNA classes. You have a few choices when deciding on where to take your CNA classes at from vocational schools to online programs. There may even be a number of different CNA programs in your area. As previously mentioned, you should make sure that the CNA classes you are interested in are part of an accredited program.
The curriculum taught at all of these places are basically the same even though the actual presentation of the material might be slightly different. The best advice is to find a CNA program that you feel comfortable with and go from there.
Some of the most common places to find CNA classes as well as the positives and negatives are listed below.
One of the more traditional places to attend CNA classes is at a community college. Some of the positives include:
Most community colleges offering CNA programs have the proper accreditation
A fairly high success rate of graduates passing the certification exam
A community college is probably close to where you live
The tuition fees are generally low
There are some negatives when it comes to taking CNA classes at a community college too, such as:
Student-to-teacher ratio can be high
CNA classes might already be filled, so you may have to wait until next semester
The length of CNA training may be longer than other programs
Vocational schools or career colleges are other popular institutions for looking to take CNA classes. The positives include:
Accelerated CNA program so you can get in to the work force faster
Most vocational schools offer both online and campus CNA classes
Overall, a good success rate of students passing the certification exam
The negatives of a vocational school or a career college include:
Some people may have trouble in an accelerated CNA classes
Quality of the CNA program is dependent more on individual institution
You must make sure it is an accredited CNA program
Online courses have really become popular over the past few years, especially when it comes to CNA programs. Some positives of online education are:
Flexible class schedules
Study at your own pace
Less expensive than most other programs
Some of the negatives of online CNA classes include:
Coordination of lab time or clinical training
Less personal interaction
You will have to check to see if the CNA program is accredited
For more information on online CNA classes, please follow this link.
What About Free Classes?
There are a number of CNA programs that fall under the category of “free CNA classes” but in reality they are not totally free. You may find that there are fees to cover lab costs or study materials. In most instances, you will have to sign an agreement specifying that you will continue to work at the facility after certification for a certain amount of time.
Normally you can find the “free CNA classes” through organizations such as the American Red Cross. Other places include assisted living communities, some hospitals and long term care facilities. You will receive a fine education and gain valuable experience through these “free” CNA programs but it isn’t “free” the way you may be thinking.
How Long are Training Programs?
Unlike a lot of other training programs, the length of the CNA certification training is dependent on which type of program you are enrolled in. Some classes take as short as a few weeks while others might take as long as six months. Still, the amount of time you will spend in CNA classes is much shorter than other health care programs which can take years.
What is Covered?
As previously mentioned, the curriculum is virtually the same no matter which type of CNA program you enroll in. CNA classes are split in to a theoretical (classroom) and practical (laboratory) training. By splitting up the classes in this way, you will have a greater understanding of what a CNA does as well as getting a strong foundation of experience performing the duties.
In the classroom, you will cover a number of medical subjects such as anatomy, infection control, ethics and medical terminology. You will also learn basic patient care and how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). These topics are vital to understanding to not only the basic components of health care but also understanding the best way to care for patients.
In the laboratory or the practical part of the CNA classes, you will gain the experience of actually applying the theoretical class work to real patients in a clinical setting. It is here that you can experience of role and duties of a CNA. You will be learning and performing the basics of the CNA job description including such duties as:
Help keep patient areas sanitary and clean
Bathing of patients
Documentation and record keeping of vital information on patients
Ambulation and aiding patients in movement
Recording and taking of vital signs
Hydrate and feeding of patients
Helping identify and preventing bed sores
Act as a communication conduit for patient, staff and family
Providing comfort and safety for patients
Identifying and reporting symptoms and changes to patient’s condition
How to enroll in a CNA Program
After you have decided which type of CNA program you would like to attend, the next step would be to apply to that program. One of the easiest ways is to use our search feature above. Generally you will need to provide a few things such as your age, high school diploma or the equivalent, proof of immunization, etc. Some programs may require an admissions or placement exam. Then you just have to register, pay for your CNA classes and you are on your way.
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