What can I do with a certificate from a nursing program?

This is a great time to begin a nursing career and the need for more qualified Certified Nursing Assistants is prevalent now, more than ever. If you are seeking a rewarding career to embark upon, a Certified Nursing Assistant is a good place to start and you will have potential for growth into other nursing careers, such as a Registered Nurse, if you so desire, at a later date.

Under the supervision of a Registered Nurse, Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for helping patients with their daily activities. While most of us take these actions for granted, there are some that are temporarily or permanently unable to do basic activities. A CNA is responsible for bedside care, such as dressing, toileting, bathing and eating. CNA’s are also called upon to take a patient’s blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs. A nursing assistant requires a certificate or diploma to practice.

To begin, you must have graduated with a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). If you had the forethought of a career in nursing while in high school, recommended science classes such as biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, in addition to, social studies classes are beneficial. Two years of foreign languages are recommended, but not required. Before entering a nursing program, you must be at least 18 years old and you may also expect to need proof of a recent physical examination, proof of immunization, TB test results, a valid driver’s license and a background check, as well as, CPR and First Aid Certification.

Next, you should search for an accredited nursing assistant training program, however, you must check with your state’s nursing board to make sure it is on their list of approved schools. If you are enrolled in a program that is not approved by your state, you may not be allowed to sit for the certification test. Normally, certified nursing assistant programs are offered in most community colleges, vocational schools or medical facilities. Nurse aid education must be done on-campus and is not available through an online program.

The length of a CNA class varies by state and ranges from between 75 hours to 180 hours, including supervised clinical hours ranging from between 16 to 100 hours. Classwork will include an emphasis on daily living activities, body mechanics, nutrition, infection control, personal care, safety, vital signs and testing, client rights and ethical rights, as well as, cultural and spiritual needs.

Upon graduation, a certification test will be given per your state’s requirements. With a passing grade, you will be able to go to work immediately as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a hospital, nursing home, or perhaps, as an in-home caregiver.

So, what would be your next step, if you decide to take one? That would be to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). With additional education, such as earning your online associate degree in nursing, you may wish to pursue this career. Some nursing schools will allow you to transfer your CNA training credits to your LPN training program. If you are interested in nursing, check out our Top Online Nursing Degree Programs to help you get started in a fulfilling new career.