How Long Does it Take to Become a CNA?

In most cases, it takes approximately four to twelve weeks to become a CNA.

However, some institutions require certified nurse assistants to complete sixteen weeks of training to obtain certification.

The length of time to obtain certification varies depending on numerous factors.

It includes the program’s course material, the student’s part-time/full-time status, state requirements, and the institute.

CNA students spend 75 to 150 hours receiving educational training in terms of minimal hours.

They also spend 15 to 180 hours receiving clinical training to prepare them for CNA positions.

The following article explores the steps necessary to become a CNA and the time required to complete each phase.

CNA Program Requirements

Throughout the CNA program, students develop numerous skills to provide essential bedside assistance.

It includes taking vitals and learning to bathe, feed, groom, and assist patients with different bedside care needs.

CNA students also learn to correctly position patients in beds or chairs and transfer them from place to place.

CNA coursework typically includes introductory concepts that inform students of their roles and responsibilities.

In addition, the coursework overviews legal issues, ethics, anatomy and physiology, and patient communications.

That said, certified nurse assistants are not licensed, practical nurses or registered nurses.

As a result, their duties and scope of practice are relatively limited.

They cannot perform advanced tasks that a licensed registered nurse must complete.

Some tasks include completing patient assessments, developing care plans, prioritizing patient care, or delegating tasks.

The total length of the CNA course is generally 4 – 16 weeks, depending on the institution and state laws.

It breaks down to approximately 75 to 180 hours of academic training.

CNA Program Length:

  • 75 – 180 hours (depending on the state/program)

Clinical Hour Requirments

In addition to academic training, CNA students must also complete a set number of clinical hours.

Depending on the state, CNAs must satisfy anywhere from 15 to 180 hours of clinical experience.

CNAs receive hands-on experience and oversight from qualified healthcare professionals during clinical training.

They learn to perform various tasks like cleaning, bathing, and feeding patients.

They also become familiar with routine vital checks, sanitization, and completing tasks from registered nurses and supervisors.

Clinical training ensures CNAs receive adequate training to support healthcare workers and provide exemplary patient care.

CNA Minimal Clinical Hours:

15 – 180 hours (depending on the state)

The Certification Examination

At the end of the program, students must pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP).

Completing the NNAAP enables nurse assistants to become certified and obtain employment.

The examination comprises written and oral components to ensure students receive adequate education and training.

The written part of the exam comprises 70 multiple-choice questions that test students on various topics.

It confirms that students understand their responsibilities, duties, and roles well.

The oral portion comes in English or Spanish formats.

It requires students to answer various questions and respond to challenges adequately.

After passing the exam, students may receive their certification and apply for various CNA positions.

Advanced Training

A common complaint among certified nurse assistants is a lack of career advancement opportunities due to limited training.

CNAs play a vital role in managing the well-being of patients and enabling professionals to manage more complex tasks.

However, their limited training prevents them from pursuing advanced career positions.

CNAs interested in applying for better positions typically return to school to become registered nurses or LPNs.

LPNs earn substantially more than CNAs and can conduct more advanced tasks.

However, becoming a registered nurse opens up over one hundred unique career disciplines and specializations.

Registered nurses also earn exceptional incomes, with some specialists making over six figures annually!

It takes approximately six months to one year to become an LPN.

On the other hand, it takes roughly two to four years to become a registered nurse.

Pursuing these professions is an excellent way to move into advanced positions as a healthcare worker.

Becoming a CNA is a great way to gain entry into healthcare and obtain work experience.

It’s also less expensive than pursuing an LPN or registered nursing degree.

Those unsure whether to become registered nurses benefit from starting as CNAs.

It enables them to determine whether healthcare is the right profession without spending years in school and lots of money on education.

Many LPNs and registered nurses started as CNAs to learn the ins and outs of healthcare before pursuing further education.

However, it’s necessary to understand the limits of this profession for those who desire specific roles in healthcare.

How to Acquire CNA Certification

Those interested in becoming CNAs must participate in a state-approved program.

State-approved programs benefit from allowing students to receive funding more easily.

State-approved programs also ensure students receive adequate training and won’t have problems completing the NNAAP.

CNA classes cost approximately $500 to $3000, depending on the state and institution.

As a result, most individuals can pay for the courses out of pocket, with a credit card, or take a small loan.

Qualifying participants must possess a high school diploma or GED to qualify for CNA training.

Those who do not have the necessary education will need to complete their GED before applying for CNA courses.

Qualifying participants may find CNA classes at a university, training institute, technical school, or healthcare facility.

As previously mentioned, it’s essential to ensure the classes are state-approved to avoid training or certification issues.

CNA Career Overview

The goal of a certified nurse assistant is to support specialists like registered nurses and physicians.

These healthcare workers assist with essential, low-level tasks so that other health professionals can focus on advanced duties.

CNAs provide primary bedside care by monitoring patient vitals and assisting with bathing, feeding, dressing, and mobility.

As a result, registered nurses and physicians can focus on helping patients who require more substantial care and treatments.

CNAs fill a vital gap by ensuring patients and medical professionals obtain adequate support in managing various daily tasks.

Without them, patient waiting times, employee stress, and level of care would significantly suffer.

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