To begin a career as Certified Nursing Asistant or CNA for short, the completion of the CNA course or CNA training is just the beginning. You must be state certified before you can actually apply your skills on the job. Every state requirements for CNA Certification is slightly different. It is only by obtaining this certification that one qualifies as a CNA.
As mentioned before, each state has its own requirements. The basic requirement according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for the CNA certification is that a person MUST have a minimum of 75 hours of state approved classroom and a minimum of 100 hours of practical training in basic health care, medical ethics, health law, etc. Some states may even have further requirements and it is advised that potential students check those before preparing for the certification exam.
Even the CNA Training program for obtaining your certification varies from state to state ranging from 4 weeks to about 18 weeks depending on the background and exposure of the student in the medical field. The first step though should be to find out a CNA school in the desired location and get enrolled. Finish the training program for the required number of days and then apply and appear for the State certification exam. Every CNA is required to clear the state certification examination to obtain a license and certification. This state exam is conducted to test the abilities, knowledge and skills of the CNAs to assist the patients with their daily activities.
Once an individual completes both the theory and practical parts, the Board of Nursing will announce their results. On successful clearance of this exam, the individual’s name is registered by the state. Some of the states even provide a card for the nursing assistants.
If a person who has an experience in this field or has done the regular nursing course and wants to clear this exam for certification without the course, he has to get an approval letter to face the exam without the course. Here, he or she may have only one attempt to pass the exam. In case he or she fails to clear the exam, he will have to take the CNA course.
Once the CNA certification and license is acquired, Federal regulation wants the individual to do an 8-hour-job without a break of 2 years to remain active. The certification is no more valid, or it expires once the individual takes a five-year break in employment. In such case, the person has to show employment proof or take the CNA course again. If the break is for 2 years, the CNA certificate becomes inactive and he or she is required to take the examination once more to reactivate it. With a 5-year break, the CNA certificate expires.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing also conducts the licensing examination, which is accepted by 21 states. Aspiring students may also obtain certification through this council. Similar to the individual state examinations, this examination also has written and oral sections, which test the students knowledge theoretically as well as skills in areas like disease control, hygiene of the patient, mental health nursing, ethics of medicines, vital sign collection and other therapies like rehabilitation etc.
There are additional certifications for CNAs with extraordinary skills. These options allow you to work in specialized areas and improve your value and earnings as a whole. Some of the additional certifications that a CNA can choose to do are the GNA – Geriatric Nursing Assistant certification( which enables CNAs to work in long-term care facilities) and the HHA – Home Health Aide certification. There is also a CMA-certified medicine aide certification for which a CNA must have taken a 60-hour medicine aide course, which is approved and must have at least one-year experience as CNA.
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