How to Become a CNA

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Interested in the healthcare field but not sure where to start?  Maybe you want to work in the medical field but aren’t sure if it is going to be the right job for you in the long term.  This could make you hesitant to commit to a long education process.  There is a role that fits both of these situations perfectly.  Consider becoming a CNA. 

CNA stands for certified nursing assistant.  Nursing assistants provide the basic level of care so that a patient’s stay in a hospital or nursing home is as comfortable as possible.  CNAs help with daily tasks like eating, bathing, and mobility.  They also assist registered nurses with things like taking vital signs.

Some people become certified nursing assistants and then remain in the position for their whole career.  Others use being a CNA as a stepping stone to other healthcare jobs, such as LPNs and RNs.  Here are the steps you will need to take if you decide to become a CNA.

Graduate from High School

Still in school?  It’s never too early to start thinking about the future.  The first step in your journey to become a CNA is to graduate.  Earning a GED also qualifies you to study for a certified nursing assistant position.  You don’t have to graduate with honors or anything.  Passing is fine, as long as you have some sort of high school degree or equivalent.  Pay extra close attention in your science classes, especially anatomy or biology, as those are the types of subjects that may become useful in your profession.

Take the CNA Training Course

Once you have graduated, you are ready to learn how to be a certified nursing assistant.  Look for training courses available in your local area.  CNA classes are usually given at community colleges, hospitals, nursing homes, high schools, the Red Cross, and even online.  A typical course takes anywhere from one to four months to complete, depending on how often the class meets and how much information is given each time.

In your classes you will study subjects like anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and pharmacology.  Vocabulary is the most important thing to pay attention to in any of these topics.  As a CNA, you will be conversing with doctors and nurses who use lots of health field jargon in their daily work.  Make sure you are ready to understand and assist them to the best of your ability.

Part of the course will include clinical studies, which is basically an internship under a licensed medical professional.  This is when you will get hands on experience with the day to day tasks of a CNA.  Even if the rest of your class was online, it is required that all CNAs have in person clinical work in order to pass the training course.

Get Certified and Licensed

Before officially becoming a CNA, you will have to take an exam proving your knowledge of topics studied in the course.  The exam has a written portion with multiple-choice questions as well as a manual portion where you show off your skills.  Pass this test, and you are officially certified.  You will be placed in the registry of licensed CNAs in your state.

Find a Job

Once you become certified, the only thing left to do is find a job.  This is where CynaMed can help.  They allow you to create your own schedule and get you connected to some of the best healthcare companies in the Pittsburgh area.  Call (412) 325-3420 to learn more about employment opportunities once you have become a certified nursing assistant. 

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