How to Become a CNA

The medical field is ever expanding, and along with it comes the increased need for qualified medical workers. One such position that is growing fast is that of a CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant.

Though this career pays very well, and is expected to continue in growth, it is not the right job choice for everyone. Because this career is very similar to nursing, the work environment is often physically and emotionally stressful, and can be very draining, especially to those who are new to the job.

As a CNA, you can expect a lot of hands on time with patients in hospitals, hospices and nursing homes. Because this job functions to help regular nurses in their job duties, you will perform a variety of patient care tasks, including taking vital signs and assisting patients with walking around and completing their daily personal care tasks, such as grooming and getting bathed and dressed.

A CNA job does not necessarily require a 4 year college degree, but you must have a high school diploma, as well as some specialized training and certification. If you're still in high school, focus on doing well in math, science and biology related courses.


Gail Esparan

Because CNAs have a lot of direct contact with patients, it is also a good idea to get some volunteer experience at either a hospital, nursing home or similar medical care setting (it will also help filling your CNA nurse resume). Here you will be able to get a hands on feel for the day to duties involved with being a CNA, in order to determine if this is the right career course for you.

There are varying state regulations that govern the amount of of training hours and practicum hours a certified CNA must serve before being qualified to work in a particular state. Your state's nursing registry board will be able to provide you with complete details concerning the CNA educational obligations you will need to fulfill in order to legally work as a CNA.

Once you have graduated from high school, you will need to attend a CNA training course.
This training which usually lasts between 1 to 3 months, will consist of professional coursework which equips you draw blood and collect samples, while taking basic anatomy and physiology courses.

Often, places that train you to do CNA work will also hire you to work for them while they train you in the duties of a CNA. In exchange for taking their classes, they will usually expect you to work for them as an employee once you pass your state certification classes.

When searching for a job as a CNA, it is often easiest to get hired working in a nursing home or an assisted living facility. After spending time in the CNA, many people working in this field often continue their education in order to earn full nursing degrees. Having work experience as a CNA will likely make the nursing school less difficult, while also providing you with an edge when it is time to start looking for nursing jobs.