The certified nursing assistants or CNAs have the most direct, hands on job in nursing or health care in general. A registered nurse’s orders are the CNA’s command, and they handle the mundane tasks the LPNs and RNs lack the time for. While CNAs are the lowest rung on the nursing ladder, the small educational requirements make it the most accessible way to get a foothold in nursing.
High School Diploma or GED
If you want to be a CNA, first you need to graduate from high school or acquire a GED. Since this involves education beyond high school and involves being employed, having a high school degree is a very reasonable first step.
In some cases, a CNA candidate can receive their training while they are still in high school. However, this is a special case, and only applies when they are in a vocational training program which is connected to their high school and work at a hospital near them.
Post High-School Education
A CNA has to take a selection of classes for the purpose of picking up the basic techniques of being a nurse. They must then demonstrate these techniques before they finish their program. Some places to take these classes are health care facilities and community colleges, and the length of time such a curriculum takes can vary from six weeks to six months or more depending on where one takes it.
When you have completed the courses needed to be a CNA, you have to become certified by your state through a two part exam. In some cases a person may work for a limited time period as a CNA without having to take the test, but a longer term of employment does require that they pass the exam.
To become a CNA, you need to have a clean criminal background as it relates to violence. You need to pass a background check and drug test, and have no history of theft, neglect or abuse.
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