Becoming a part of the healthcare field offers many exciting prospects for those who choose to enter the field. Many dream of becoming nurses, but they are not exactly sure what to expect from the profession. Before becoming Registered Nurses (RNs), many choose to become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) so that they know what to expect from the nursing profession. Becoming a CNA before an RN allows professionals to experience what the nursing profession has to offer.
How to Become a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)
Before beginning a CNA program, students must have either a high school diploma or a GED. This is the only prerequisite to begin a program. A few of the education options that Nursing Assistants have are community colleges and technical colleges. The American Red Cross is one of the other options that students have to earn their education. Many choose between on campus and online classes to become Certified Nursing Assistants.
The programs that students have to choose from range from 75 to 120 hours of training. In addition, many programs also require that students receive a minimum of 16 hours of practice in medical facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes. The courses can consist of topics that include controlling infection, diets, and communication activities.
The final step in the process to become a Certified Nursing Assistants is taking the certification examination. The examination consists of passing a written examination and skill test. After Nursing Assistants fulfill the requirements for their respective states, they become Certified Nursing Assistants. If they choose to move to another state to practice as CNAs, they must fulfill the requirements of that state before they can practice.
Benefits of Being a CNA
- No Prerequisites – This is one of the only careers that do not require certain courses or degrees to enter the program. Students only need a GED or high school diploma to begin a CNA program. More students have an opportunity to enter this exciting career since there are no prerequisites to prevent their progress.
- Competitive Salaries – The average annual salary for a CNA is $29,000. Some CNAs can make as much as $40,000 to $50,000 annually in some states. The more experience they have, the more money they make. CNAs are highly skilled individuals who can make substantial salaries for their knowledge and skills.
- Stepping Stone Job – No other career can prepare individuals to become nurses like a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant. CNAs learn the basic skills that are the foundation of any nursing career. Becoming a CNA makes it easy for Nursing Assistants to transition to positions as Registered Nurses if they choose to do so.
- Short Training – This training program is one of the only nursing programs that students can complete in just a few weeks. Students can have a degree and begin working in as little as 4 to 6 weeks. Other nursing programs require students to attend school for 1 year to 4 years before they can earn a degree and begin working. Students can begin working much sooner by studying to become CNAs.
- Fast Growing Career – The field of healthcare is growing very rapidly. Nursing careers are expected to see an increase between 19% and 22%, depending of the type of nurse that students want to become. Positions as CNAs are one of the only positions that are expected to see an increase in demand through the year 2018. Much opportunity is available to those who choose to become CNAs.
How First Being a CNA Helps You be a Better Nurse (RN)
Becoming a CNA prior to becoming an RN can help these professionals transition smoothly from one career path to another. Many people enter careers without knowing exactly what to expect but not when choosing to become a CNA. These professionals work in the same environments and receive training from Registered Nurses, doctors, and other nursing professionals.
Working as a CNA also makes it easy to find employment opportunities since CNAs work in the same environment as Registered Nurses do. Employers may likely hire those who are currently working as CNAs for positions as Registered Nurses once they receive the proper credentials.