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A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is an entry-level nursing occupation that provides basic care and help with basic living activities to patients in hospitals, private residences, or long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. Most CNAs do not provide any type of medical treatment. That’s what makes CNA certification classes a very quick process. Some CNA certification classes can help you get certified in a month! For many the CNA occupation is a stepping stone to higher level nursing jobs.
CNA Certification Classes Overview
CNA certification classes teach students how to provide basic care to patients. Many patients who need CNA assistance have difficulties managing daily activities. Typically these patients are elderly adults, but may include individuals with disabilities. CNA classes give students the knowledge and skills they will need when dealing with difficult situations, how to help a patient not feel embarrassed or impotent, and how to comfort those in need. These classes will also help you complete your job duties with professionalism and effectiveness. Typical job duties of a CNA include:
- Transfer, turn, and reposition patients between beds and wheelchairs.
- Assist with bathing.
- Record patient information and communicate it to other nursing staff.
- Serve meals and help patients eat.
Certification and the CNA Registry
Once you have completed the CNA certification classes, you will be ready to take the certification exam. In most states passing the exam gets you placed into the nursing registry. Many states require CNAs to be listed in the CNA registry before they can obtain work. Some states have further requirements before being qualified to work, such as criminal background checks.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks nursing occupation salaries through the census process. Certified nursing assistants are grouped into the “Nursing aides, orderlies, and assistants” occupation category. According to the BLS, the average CNA salary is $24,010 per year, or about $11 per hour. While this may not seem like much, most nursing professionals begin their career as a CNA and move up to higher nursing positions, such as a Licensed Vocational Nurse or Registered Nurse.