How to Become a CNA
The job of a certified nurse assistant is in high demand at the moment as health care facilities strive to save money in whatever way possible. CNAs do not cost as much to employ as registered nurses and other workers, so they are more desirable in the long run. If you want to be a part of this high-demand career in the near future, you will need to get an appropriate education. Learning how to become a CNA could lead to a rewarding career, but only if you are willing to go the distance. If you think you are ready for this kind of work, the guide below should help you understand the steps you will have to take to find work in the future.
Step 0 – Determine If This Is the Right Career for You
Before you can learn how to become a CNA, you need to figure out if this is the right career for you. Qualities of a good CNA include:
- The ability to learn about new tasks quickly
- The initiative to help others without being asked
- A genuine interest in the health of others
- The ability to work with a team of people
- A naturally nurturing personality
CNAs make up some of the most basic positions in the medical field, but they are highly sought after in the modern world. Your job duties and overall responsibilities as a nursing assistant will depend on the sector of the industry that you work in, so you will need to adjust to whatever your job throws at you. Pediatric nursing assistants handle much different tasks than oncology nurse assistants, but they are all needed to keep a hospital functioning properly. If this sounds like a good career for you, you can continue reading to learn how to become a CNA.
Step 1 – Get an Education
The first step to becoming a CNA is getting an education. You should not need more than one to two years of training to find work in this position, but you can pursue higher education if you want to. Possible degree options include:
- Diploma in Nursing (DN)
- Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
If you simply want to work as a certified nursing assistant, you will only need to get a DN or an ADN. If, however, you plan to work as an RN or similar, you will need to get a BSN. An MSN is mostly designed for nurses who plan to work in management positions, but you could also get a master’s degree if you planned to specialize in a certain field of nursing. That all depends on what your plans are for the future. For CNA work alone though, you don’t need much education at all.
Step 2 – Pass a Licensure Exam
You will need to take an exam to become certified as nursing assistant. The specific exam that you need to take will depend on the state you live in. In some cases, you can work four to six months without a certification, but eventually you will need to take the test. That way you can officially call yourself a CNA and find the jobs you want most in this field.
Step 3 – Gain Work Experience
You might be able to jump directly into a job, but you may also need to go through an internship program before becoming a full-fledged CNA. That will give you the real world experience you need to fully understand the tasks related to your work. Most training programs do not last long, and they will provide you with a better chance of securing work later on. You just have to find a health care facility willing to work with you.
Step 4 – Find a Job
The last step in the journey to become a CNA involves finding a job. You can do this just about anywhere, from hospitals to doctor’s offices and beyond. CNAs are incredibly versatile employees, so all you need to do is make sure that you have the right certifications in place to be able to apply for work. You might be surprised by just how many opportunities lie in your community. As long as you showcase your personality and your nursing credentials, you will be able to find a position that is perfect for you.