Chicago is the most populated city in Illinois, as well as the third most populated in the U.S. The number of people living within its limits totals approximately 2.7 million. With nearly 12 percent of the population being aged 65 and over, there are almost 315,385 people in this age group. This creates ample opportunity for anyone wishing to become a CNA. Because CNAs primarily work in senior care, the aging population presents a significant number of job opportunities in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers, and home health agencies. This demand is why there are several state-approved CNA schools and training programs in and around the city.
If you wish to work as a CNA in Chicago, you must complete a state-approved CNA training program. The curriculum demanded by the state will be covered over 120 hours. Eighty of those hours cover theory and 40 hours are reserved for clinicals. Twelve of the instructional hours will cover conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia since CNAs frequently encounter patients suffering from these diseases.
It can take three weeks to four months to complete the required instruction time and be ready to take the state certification exam. However, Illinois accepts military-based training if the candidate has completed training as a hospital corpsman or medical services specialist. Past school enrollment qualifies as well, such as a former student that at least completed Nursing 101 or Fundamentals of Nursing. At least 40 hours of clinical experience must be proven.
If enrolling in a school or other program, you might be required to complete a background check, have all of your vaccinations, and be at least 18 years of age with a high school diploma or GED. Once enrolled, you will learn basic patient care, how to communicate with patients and logging information in the patient’s chart.
There are approximately 20 hospitals, 40 nursing homes, and 10 hospice centers in Chicago. Factor in that there are more than 150 home health centers and the number of job opportunities for CNAs skyrocket. The average salary is nearly $30,000 a year, which is slightly higher than the national average. This is good news because approximately 40,000 CNAs are needed in the area to meet the care demands placed on facilities and care services.
The typical job description of a CNA in Chicago includes helping patients with daily tasks, such as bathing, eating, and going to the bathroom. This can also include skincare and keeping the patient’s environment clean at all times. The CNA must follow the instructions of the registered nurse assigned to the patient. These instructions can involve applying bandages and ice and heat packs, applying restraints when ordered by a physician, helping a patient get to and from scheduled appointments, administering medication, and taking vital signs.
The average CNA salary in Chicago is $29,890 (BLS)
Once you have a job as a CNA, it’s important to look at transportation options. While many people choose to drive their own vehicles, Chicago traffic can become congested. This means that public transit might be a better option. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) oversees the operations of the Pace bus and paratransit service, the Metra rail network that operates 11 commuter rail lines, and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) that handles rapid transit and bus lines. It’s quite possible to get where you need to go at any given time because of the frequency in which public transit runs in the city.
Chicago is also home to a bicycle-sharing system. Divvy, which is overseen by the Chicago Department of Transportation, allows visitors and residents the ability to check out bicycles from many automated stations around the city. The bicycles can be returned to any station in the city. You can take a short ride or a long one, as long as the bicycle is returned to one of the over 500 stations before the end of the day. With thousands of bikes available, it should be easy to obtain one for your ride to and from work.
Since becoming a CNA in Chicago looks to be a great opportunity, either as a long-term career choice or a stepping stone into the world of advanced nursing, you need to find a state-approved CNA training program. City Colleges of Chicago offers courses that teach students how to feed, dress, bathe, groom, and move patients. CNA students also learn how to transport patients from one location to another. It’s important to understand patient signals, know how to communicate with patients that have difficulty communicating, document observations, measure liquid intake and urine output, and much more. All of this is learned at the institutions within this network.
It’s easy to apply, as it can be done online. The standard admissions application is completed, but the course is completed in a matter of weeks and at a lower cost than degree courses. You can choose which college you want to attend. The colleges within the network include Daley, Harold Washington, Kennedy-King, Malcolm X, Olive-Harvey, Truman, and Wright colleges, as well as the Arturo Velasquez Institute.
Class schedules vary, so it is best to check with each institution to see when each offers a class closest to the time you want to start. The cost also varies per college. However, the training topics remain the same so you are fully equipped to take the certification exam.
|Program Name||Address||City||State||Zip||Phone Number|
|Chicago State University||9501 S King Dr||Chicago||IL||60628||312-300-6984|
|East-West University||816 S Michigan Ave #2185||Chicago||IL||60605||312-939-0111|
|Lights Of Zion Ministries||11636 S Halsted St||Chicago||IL||60628||773-785-2996|
|Malcolm X College||1900 W Jackson Blvd||Chicago||IL||60612||312-850-7348|
|Midwestern Career College||100 S. Wacker Dr. LL1-50||Chicago||IL||60606||312-236-9000|
|The Nirvana Institute Inc.||4650 S King Dr Suite 202||Chicago||IL||60653||773-675-4000|
If the cost is something that you find prohibitive, there are ways to pay for your classes. One way is to apply for financial aid. This can be done by completing a FAFSA. It’s possible for you to obtain a grant. If you don’t qualify for a grant, you can also check with the chosen training program to see if there are payment plans available. There are also scholarship programs provided by organizations and foundations. Ask your chosen college about scholarship opportunities that are available. Then again, you can work while you train. There are facilities that will give you your education for free while training you and they are approved by the state. APEX Home Health Services is an example. You will learn everything you need to sit for the certification exam. Keep in mind that if you choose to do on-the-job training, you might be required to work for the facility for a specific amount of time in exchange for getting your education for free.