Welcome to FindCNAClasses, an all-inclusive online resource designed to help students interested in a career as a certified nurses assistant (CNA). We’ve collected a ton of information that will help make things easier for you as you decide on this new career path. With our carefully selected CNA sources and insightful articles about this rewarding career field, we offer insightful information and answer the questions that can help you make the best decisions possible about your formal training and career choices as a CNA.
- What is a certified nursing assistant?
- How do I know this is a good career choice?
- Looks promising, but is this right for me?
- I’m convinced! How do I become a CNA?
- OK, I earned my certification. What kind of jobs can I get?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) attend state-approved programs that train them for an entry-level position in the nursing field. CNAs work under licensed nurses and perform the duties that define basic nursing care within their scope of practice. A CNA program is generally four to twelve weeks in length and graduates are eligible to take the state certification examination. CNAs provide basic nursing care for patients who need help with mobility, eating, dressing, and bathroom activities. You may also assist your patients and their families with emotional support for end-of-life care issues.
Most CNAs work in nursing homes, hospitals and long-term care facilities, while others work in assisted-living facilities. As a provider of basic care, you may perform intensive physical activity that involves lifting patients, positioning them in bed and changing bed linens. CNAs require the ability to deal with body fluids, bedpans and urinary catheters without displaying negative expressions when caring for their patients. CNAs are not expected to perform the duties of licensed nurses, diagnose patients, or work as an independent healthcare provider.
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Entry into a CNA program is usually easy and you may graduate in a few weeks of classroom and hands-on training. Depending on your program, classes may be intensive and require studying and paying close attention to class lectures. Since entry into CNA programs is generally easy, students can prepare for jobs quickly and gain experience in an entry-level position in healthcare.
Your job as a CNA may provide the knowledge and experience you desire to further your education in the nursing field or complete a prerequisite to your particular nursing school. However, your CNA certificate limits you to entry-level healthcare positions and you will have to obtain more formal classroom training, certification, or licensure to advance your health career as a nurse or any other area of the healthcare field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012, nursing assistants, nursing aides, and nursing care attendants are in high demand and continue to be one of the fastest growing jobs in the U.S. With an expected increase of 21 percent faster than all other occupations, nursing assistants who have certifications and work in long-term care and skilled nursing facilities will benefit for the most job prospects for the next ten years.
Are you a compassionate person who enjoys caring for the physical needs and emotional support of those who cannot care for themselves? Successful CNAs are highly social and approach the frequent interactions with physicians, nurses and patients and their families with good communication skills. Overall, CNAs are optimistic about life and strive to support patients and their families with positive, helpful solutions.
Good CNAs have the power of observation and notice the slightest changes in people that may be significant to their health and safety. If your personality demonstrates patience, a desire to improve the quality of patients’ lives and a dedication to lifelong learning, a position as a CNA may be right for you.
Although you don’t require a college degree to be a CNA, you will need to attend a state-approved program that trains you to perform as an entry-level healthcare worker. Although you don’t require a college degree to be a CNA, you will need to attend a state-approved program that trains you to perform as an entry-level healthcare worker. Find and enroll in a CNA training program and pay for the tuition and fees. In six to twelve weeks of classes, your CNA program teaches you to perform basic care for patients and prepares you to pass your state certification examination.
Most cities or towns have technical/vocational CNA schools or adult training centers that offer CNA programs. Brick-and-mortar schools offer traditional classes, practical skills training and the mandatory clinical practice for working with actual patients in a nursing home.
Online programs for nursing assistants are highly popular and offer the flexibility and convenience of learning the identical CNA classes at home. Online accredited programs may cost less and allow you to keep your job and manage family responsibilities while you learn. Although classroom training is studied and completed online, your online CNA program may require that you arrange the clinical practice portion on your own.
After you complete your courses, you take the certification exam that includes a skills performance test and a written test. The skills section tests your ability to perform basic nursing care, such as making beds, taking blood pressure, and recording a temperature. When you pass both parts of your exam, your certification number is placed on the CNA state registry. Healthcare employers are then able to lookup your certificate and know that you’re qualified to be hired as a CNA in a hospital, nursing home or home health agency.
Congratulations! You got your CNA certification and it’s time to find a job. Here are some examples of jobs that are available for certified nurses assistants: Home Health Aides (HHAs) are CNAs that attend additional training by a home health agency and are qualified to work with patients in their homes. HHAs provide the specialized one-on-one care to assist patients with dressing, personal care and recreational activities. You may also prepare simple meals, perform light housekeeping or go shopping and run errands. As a HHA, your assignments may include working regular shifts, daily visits or overnight stays. Medical Assistants (MAs) are usually CNAs who are computer savvy and have a talent for organization. As the most diversified job in healthcare, you may assist the physician with a patient examination, draw their blood for labs and help schedule their next appointment. MAs keep the physician’s office or hospital department running smoothly with meticulous patient record keeping, taking vital signs and performing injections under the supervision of a physician. Physician offices, doctors groups and medical walk-in clinics welcome the expertise of the versatile MA. Psychiatric Aides (PAs) work exclusively with emotionally or mentally challenged children, teenagers and adult patients in a psychiatric facility or hospital. PAs help psychiatric patients organize their daily schedule, attend meals at the appropriate time and assist them with their personal care. PAs are usually CNAs who have received additional training from the psychiatric facility in caring for patients with mental health conditions. PAs perform extensive documentation on the patient’s health and mental status throughout their shift.
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Home Health Aides (HHAs) are CNAs that attend additional training by a home health agency and are qualified to work with patients in their homes. HHAs provide the specialized one-on-one care to assist patients with dressing, personal care and recreational activities. You may also prepare simple meals, perform light housekeeping or go shopping and run errands. As a HHA, your assignments may include working regular shifts, daily visits or overnight stays.
Medical Assistants (MAs) are usually CNAs who are computer savvy and have a talent for organization. As the most diversified job in healthcare, you may assist the physician with a patient examination, draw their blood for labs and help schedule their next appointment. MAs keep the physician’s office or hospital department running smoothly with meticulous patient record keeping, taking vital signs and performing injections under the supervision of a physician. Physician offices, doctors groups and medical walk-in clinics welcome the expertise of the versatile MA.
Psychiatric Aides (PAs) work exclusively with emotionally or mentally challenged children, teenagers and adult patients in a psychiatric facility or hospital. PAs help psychiatric patients organize their daily schedule, attend meals at the appropriate time and assist them with their personal care. PAs are usually CNAs who have received additional training from the psychiatric facility in caring for patients with mental health conditions. PAs perform extensive documentation on the patient’s health and mental status throughout their shift.
- Where can I find CNA courses?
- What are CNA classes like?
- What can I expect to learn?
- Can I find classes outside of traditional educational school?
- How much do CNA classes cost?
- What are the requirements for nursing assistant classes?
- How long are CNA classes?
- How difficult are these courses?
- What happens after I complete the CNA program?
- Are there free CNA Classes?
You can find CNA courses right here! Whether you’re looking for a formal classroom program or an online class, we have a full directory of accredited schools that will fit your every need.
In a typical class, you learn how to perform various patient-related duties that are necessary for the care and diagnosis of people in need of medical assistance. Both classroom work and online courses provide basic knowledge and skills to perform:
- vital sign checks
- assessment of patient’s condition
- common diagnostic test and laboratory sample collection
- learn the signs and symptoms of stroke, heart failure, etc.
While taking CNA courses to become a nursing assistant, you can expect to learn how to care for patients with specific medical conditions. A skilled and knowledgeable nursing assistant promotes safety, demonstrates patience and knows what problems need to be documented and reported to the physician. State-required classes usually include a supervised clinical rotation in addition to formal classroom training and exams. Students may learn the following:
Learning how the human body works is vital to developing your medical knowledge as a CNA. Anatomy and physiology include the important functions of the body such as:
- Muscles and bones
- Digestive system
- Immune system
- Respiratory tract
- Skin, fingernails and hair
- Bowel and bladder
Understanding and writing medical terminology allows you to converse professionally with other members of the healthcare team and perform duties that include:
- Document notes in your patient’s chart
- Understand a written physician’s order
- Follow the nurse’s instructions
- Further your medical knowledge
As a CNA, your work may be physical and using proper body mechanics is important to protect your back and keep your joints safe from stress while performing tasks such as:
- Lifting or sliding patients up in bed
- Transfers from bed to chair
- Assisting patients to stand or walk
- Carrying heavy objects
Patients in nursing homes and hospitals have unconditional rights that must be observed by caregivers at all times. Part of your role as a CNA is to protect these rights while performing care such as:
- Right to privacy during care
- Right to refuse treatment and medication
- Right to confidentiality of medical and personal information
- Right to respectful and considerate care
Evaluating your patients’ nutritional status is an important part of caring for their health. Nutrition courses provide the information you need to assure your patient’s special or appropriate dietary needs such as:
- Special diets for certain diseases
- Adequate intake of water
- Good calorie consumption
- Poor or extreme appetite
- Changes in eating habits
CNAs often encounter medical emergencies and may save a patient’s life if they have the learned knowledge to act quickly. Reporting the impending signs and symptoms of a stroke or heart attack may include:
- Complaint of an extremely painful headache
- Crushing pain or pressure in the chest or left arm
- Profuse sweating, although skin is cool to the touch
- Unintelligible or slurred speech
- Unable to raise an arm or arms
- Drooping on either side of the face
Your understanding of common diseases and conditions is vital to caring for patients that suffer from illness and require specific care. Your educational classes provide the knowledge you need to practice the specialized attention for patient conditions such as:
- Special skin care for diabetics
- Careful transfer for osteoporosis
- Memory care for dementia
- Care of the blind or deaf
- Containment of infectious disease
Patients who are rehabilitating from a stroke, heart attack or surgical procedure may require a long-term stay at a nursing home or hospital. Your classes prepare you to perform therapeutic assistance as a part of daily care such as:
- Range of motion of arms and legs
- Walking with a walker or assistance
- Using a wheelchair or cane
- Mental status observations
Manual skills training provides you with the skills and the hands-on practice for performing physical nursing care that includes:
- Changing an occupied bed
- Taking blood pressure, counting pulse and respirations
- Performing CPR in an emergency
- Provide a bed bath or personal care
Protecting you and your patients from the spread of disease is vital to the health of every person who enters your medical facility. Infection control instructs you on the precautions and essential steps to containing infectious bacteria and viruses such as:
- Changing gloves between patients
- Handwashing techniques
- Using red bags for infected materials
- Universal precautions for body fluids
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If you’re looking for a CNA training program outside of traditional educational institutions, you’re in luck because there are other options to get the training you need. You can find CNA programs in:
- Nursing Homes
- Check with the skilled nursing facilities in your area. Some of these institutions sponsor programs and may even offer you employment at the completion of the course.
- Government Sponsored Programs
- You may live in an area that have programs that satisfy the state-required courses. Check with the Department of Health, the Board of Nursing or the community colleges in your area.
- Vocational or Technical Schools
- Check local vocational or technical schools for state sponsored programs. Your state may sponsor these programs in order to meet the demand of the local population. Call your state board of nursing or visit their website and search for the list of accredited CNA programs offered by local schools.
- Check with your local hospitals, they may offer accredited CNA classes. Nursing assistants frequently move on to higher education and other healthcare positions, leaving openings to be filled by newer CNAs. Hospitals may offer classes for certification when they experience a shortage of assistants.
- The Red Cross
- Call your local Red Cross as they may offer courses in your location. A certified instructor or registered nurse usually presents the class material and conducts the skills lab. The advantage of becoming certified by the Red Cross is that the documentation is recognized all over the country rather than only the state of origin.
Depending on your location, local colleges may charge the cost of a typical semester and may add a fee for the clinical rotation. State sponsored vocational and technical schools may charge tuition that is based on a flat fee or similar costs of tuition. Online courses provide affordable and convenient ways to satisfy the course requirements. Private institutions may charge higher costs and fees for the convenience of their program. Be sure to check all your resources before choosing a program.
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In most states, students are required to have a high school diploma or an equivalent before enrolling in a state approved program. Although most classes are designed by each individual state, they are typically divided into formal classroom training and clinical practicum (hands-on) to provide a graduate with basic nursing knowledge and patient care experience. Many programs require that the student maintain a flawless attendance record.
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Typically, a class will last four to twelve weeks, but you will have to check with your particular state to be sure of the length of time/hours they require. Depending on your location, there may also be part-time programs available that meet a few times a week. There is also the option of online courses as it may also help reduce the amount of time in a classroom due to the convenience of being able to work through online courses at your own pace.
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The educational material is generally equivalent to a 12th grade level of high school. Some people have more difficulty learning the hands-on skills, such as working a blood pressure cuff, rather than learning the classroom portion. CNA courses are not easy, but universally, the majority of students do pass the course.
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State-required education is designed to prepare the graduate for the nursing assistant certification exam. A candidate must pass the clinical portion (given by your instructor) and the written state exam. Once passed, the nursing assistant holds a state recognized certification. In addition, most states allow the graduate to work as a nursing assistant while waiting to take the certification exam. CNAs are in high demand and positions are often easy to secure.
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Most classes advertised as “free” are actually not classes. They are typically training resources that provide information for people pursuing a career as a certified nurses assistant. If you’re thinking about taking classes and it’s advertised as free, make sure you check to see if it’s been approved by your State board of nursing and that it meets the requirements for you to become a CNA.
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