Thursday, June 01, 2023

Career & Jobs

How to Become a Nursing Assistant: Educational Programs

Nursing Assistant

Are you drawn to helping people?

It’s no surprise that empathetic individuals like yourself go into medicine.

But do you really need to become a doctor or registered nurse to find your purpose?

Doctors and nurses are essential, but they have to undergo years of college and experience before moving to the next step. Furthermore, medical students finish their training with astronomical student debt.

What if there was an easier way to do what you love?

Nursing assistant jobs are growing faster than average, increasing by 8% over the next ten years. Hospital orderlies are also enjoying faster-than-average growth at 5%.

Better yet, you can become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in as little as 12 weeks! You don’t even need a college degree to get certified. All you need is a GED and a passion for helping others.

The right training is essential. Learn more about your educational path in this helpful guide for aspiring CNAs.

High School Requirements for Nursing Assistants

Most nursing assistants are certified nursing assistants, more commonly known as CNAs. You have far more job prospects as a CNA. Your certification ensures employers that you’ve undergone all necessary training.

You don’t need to attend college to go into nursing assistance. However, you must earn a GED if you don’t have a traditional high school diploma.

While not required, college courses are helpful toward your certification. Advanced high school science and math courses help. Community college courses in health, medical assistance, and biology are even better.

Your local community college may have courses that prepare students for nursing assistant careers. This training is excellent for aspiring assistants without a science or health background.

Prior work and volunteering experience can help you land a great job too.

The following experience will make employers’ pay attention:

  • Hospital volunteering
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Working with at-risk youth
  • Babysitting or nannying
  • Medical office reception
  • Summer camp counselor

If you’re a professional babysitter or nanny, you likely have a CPR certification. Don’t forget to include this information on your job resume.

Related College Courses

If you don’t feel ready to take your CNA exam, you can always pursue an associate’s degree first. This is a great way to supplement your education and enhance your resume.

Earlier, you learned that some community colleges have nursing courses. Look for the best junior colleges in your area for nursing, radiology, phlebotomy, and other similar careers.

Here are more associate’s degree majors to consider:

  • General science
  • Health
  • Geriatric care
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Administration and clerical studies
  • Holistic health

You can also attend a vocational school to become a medical office assistant. Career training doesn’t take long. Plus, you can earn your CNA certification while working in a real medical office.

Bachelor’s degrees are not required. However, you’ll need one if you’re planning on becoming a registered nurse at some point. If that’s the case, you must attend a nursing school specifically.

College courses are also available online. You can find thousands of accredited courses from real, accredited universities. They’re also a fraction of the cost of an on-campus course.

Not every course is suitable for online learning. As an aspiring CNA, you’ll need hands-on lab experience. However, you can take all your humanities, math, general science, and critical thinking requirements online.

Attend a Nursing Assistant Program

Do you want a program that will help you prepare for the CNA exam?

Nursing assistants must be as confident as possible on the job.

For example, this program trains students to become professional nursing assistants in just two months. Students also receive enough training to take the CNA exam upon completion.

These programs are ideal if you want a career quickly. You’ll gain enough experience to land a stable non-CNA assistant job too.

Training must be state-approved, as well.

This point is crucial when you’re applying for certification. All applicants need anywhere from 75 to 175 hours of training, depending on the state. Look up your state requirements right now to see how much training you need to become a CNA.

You can find state-approved training through colleges and universities, The Red Cross, community colleges, and hospitals.

CNA Exam

Once you complete your training, you can take your exam immediately. Some graduates work for a while as non-CNA nursing assistants for at-home care and assisted living facilities. However, CNAs have higher earning power.

It’s helpful to take the exam immediately when the training is still fresh in your mind.

You’ll be tested on the following topics and more:

  • Nutrition
  • Mental health
  • Personal care
  • Vital signs
  • Medical and health terms
  • Data collection
  • Patient rights
  • Anatomy
  • Infection control

CNA exams typically cover 18 topics, but exam questions vary from state to state. Shoot for the highest passing grade possible. Some states require an 80% minimum score to pass, while others only require 70%.

Preparing for Your CNA Exam

Enrolling in a nursing assistant training program is the best way to feel confident about your exam. If you wait too long, you’ll need to make up for lost time. You can also hire a tutor or ask a friend to quiz you on exam topics.

Fortunately, there are plenty of CNA exam study guides online. These guides include flashcards, videos, written lessons, and practice quizzes. You can purchase official exam prep books too.

How you feel on the day of your test is just as important as studying.

Choose the closest testing location to avoid being late and stressed on exam day. Remember to bring at least two forms of identification.

Remember to eat in the morning, even if you’re not a breakfast person. A banana is fine. Bring plenty of water and healthy snacks to stay energized too.

Start Your Career Journey Today

Are you ready to become a nursing assistant as soon as possible?

Start with the right educational path. Enroll in state-approved training, and ace your CNA exam. You could embark on a rewarding career in just months.

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