Life of a Nurse: How Long Does it Take to Become a CNA

Life of a Nurse: How Long Does it Take to Become a CNA

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Are you passionate about becoming a CNA? Have you ever dreamed of entering the medical world or has watching Grey’s Anatomy inspired you to become a certified nurse? But, when you think about it, all you can think about is the question, “How Long Does it Take to Become a CNA”?

Choosing a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant is a very noble and rewarding career, but a career in the medical realm requires proper practical and theoretical knowledge. The 4 to 12 weeks that you invest to become a CNA will greatly help in shaping your career path.

Keep reading to find out…

What is a CNA?

Before diving in to see how long it takes to become a CNA, let us understand what a CNA is. A CNA, or certified nursing assistant, is someone who has various levels in the medical arena. Being a CNA is thought to be the lowest level in the medical field. You can prepare for becoming a CNA while studying in your high school, but you have to get the proper training to receive your certificate from a state-accredited training program.

Being a CNA comes with many responsibilities and perks. One of the biggest perks is that you can work under expert nurses. This will help you to gain more experience for your career. The duration of the major training courses varies from 1 month to 4 months from start to completion. The number of training hours will be different for each state.

According to the reports by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary of a CNA is $35,760 per year. The median pay per hour, as stated by BLS, is $17.19.

Wondering how long does it take to become a CNA? Not sure what are the educational qualifications required to become a CNA? Let’s now discuss how long does it take to become a CNA in the U.S.

How Long Does it Take to Become a CNA: Education Qualifications

Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant can be your stepping stone to starting your career in the medical field. But first, you must know the educational qualifications requirements you must have to receive your certification:

  • You must have your high school diploma or Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED) certificate.
  • You must complete your CNA training from a state-approved training program. These training programs are available at the Red Cross, Community colleges, and hospitals.
  • You must complete the in-person clinical requirements.

The duration of the training program varies greatly between different organizations and states. The average time spent in the training programs is between four and 12 weeks. The training will include both theoretical and clinical practice hours. The program syllabus depends on the requirements, and guidelines given by respective states.

Some of the top organizations providing CNA training stated by the Lantern are:

  • Central Coast College
  • Charlotte Technical College
  • Cuyahoga Valley Career Center
  • Emily Griffith Technical College
  • Green Country Technology Center

There are also plenty of schools and colleges that offer online CNA training programs. The online programs are more flexible for students who are involved in other responsibilities. Apart from completing an online program, there are a few organizations that offer hybrid CNA training as well.

Now that you know how long does it take to become a CNA, let’s now discuss why you should become a CNA and the benefits of it.

Why You Should Become a CNA Nurse

Why you should become a CNA nurse
Why you should become a CNA nurse

The best way to enter the healthcare industry is to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. Starting a career in the medical industry is a promising and secure job opportunity. The career will offer you growth, both from a personal and professional front.

Let’s explore some of the top reasons you should think about becoming a CNA nurse:

A Rich Work Experience

A career as a CNA would open many career paths for you. As a part of your duty, you would meet new people every day and train to change the lives of the people you meet. You would be working with different doctors and nurses in a work culture that would provide you with life lessons and experiences that can be helpful for your career progression.

A Good Salary

A career as a CNA will give you attractive benefits with a good salary, but your salary will also depend greatly on where you are working. According to reports by BLS, the average salary of a CNA is $35,760 per year. This excludes the other perks, which come with being a CNA.

Your salary will increase as your experience level grows in the organization.

Affordable Training Program

Unlike other degrees and training programs in the medical field, CNA training is very pocket-friendly. The average cost of a CNA program is somewhere between $300 to $1,500 and the training fees depend on the organization and other facilities.

Most training programs have tuition assistance programs, and other fee-assistance programs to help anyone in need.

The Flexibility of Your Job

Since becoming a CNA doesn’t always require full-time work in a hospital or clinic, the timetables are flexible. When you start, you have the option of choosing either a part-time or full-time schedule. The addition of online classes also helps to schedule your classes in sync with your college classes. Most classes are scheduled three times a day. You can opt for the day or evening shift (weekend too!). 

What You Will Do as a CNA

Now that you know why you should become a CNA, let us explore the work responsibilities you would have.

The work and responsibilities vary greatly depending on the place you work. But a typical CNA normally has this range of responsibilities:

  • You would be responsible for helping to move, and lift patients.
  • For recording and measuring the vital signs of patients.
  • For maintaining a sanitized and clean environment.
  • You would be responsible for maintaining the communication between the healthcare organization and family members.
  • Documentation of each patient’s information.
  • Grooming patients’ hair, shaving patients, and brushing patients’ hair.
  • You would also be responsible for stocking and restocking clinical supplies.

Career Progression of a CNA

Once you become a CNA, the career path before you will be vast and you will have good opportunities to advance in your career. As a CNA, you have a whole wide world in front of you. There are many career opportunities you can choose from. This includes diverging paths that could lead you to niche departments and roles.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

With enough experience under your belt, this is the most popular choice of career progression to aim for as a Certified Nursing Assistant. The role offers extra responsibilities, which you would learn in a 6-to-18month course. Should you wish to choose his path, you should expect to get a generous raise in your current compensation plan.

Registered Nurse (RN)

This is another popular career progression for CNAs, which enables you to work in a hospital as a Registered Nurse. You would be dealing with patients, assisting doctors, and managing shifts all while following the hospital management guidelines. This path requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing before you can take up this role.

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA or MA)

This role is more of an administrative one, where you would assist doctors in counseling and assessing patients. You would note the medicines prescribed by the doctor. Also, you would be conducting diagnostic tests, checking patient history, and booking appointments. Follow this path if you feel that you can grow in the administrative department.

Geriatric Care Manager

A Geriatric Care Manager is essentially a social worker with nursing experience who provides care and medical advice to families with old people who need care. This role requires a Master’s in Social Work and demands a high level of dedication and sincerity. A Geriatric Manager can either work short-term with families by providing counsel and planning, or long-term with full-fledged planning schedules for the elderly.

Assisted Living Administrator

This is a very interesting role in which you would have to use your skills as a CNA to assess and conduct processes as smoothly as possible. This includes staffing, inventory management, logistics, and regular maintenance of the assisted living premises. The job can be challenging if you are not an organized person. However, as an Assisted Living Administrator, you earn around $58,000 which is pretty decent considering the role and technicalities it requires.

Patient Care Technician

For this role, you need a PCT (Patient Care Technician) certification and CNA training as well. You would have added responsibilities in this role, which would require a certain level of practical knowledge and training. Also, you would handle high-level nursing tasks, which would enhance your level and position in the organization.

Physical Therapy Assistant

As a Physical Therapy Assistant, your job role would evolve into a milder role, but with added perks of getting to work in a new environment. You would be assisting doctors in treating patients who are recovering from medium to serious injuries. This would usually be helping them walk and resume their usual activities. This role is one of the fastest-growing job roles compared to the others.

Wrapping up 

If you are passionate about entering the healthcare industry, then the easiest way is to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. If you have been wondering about how long does it take to become a CNA, this article should have given you the answer. Deciding on whether to enter the medical arena requires a lot more than just theoretical knowledge. Becoming a CNA paves the way to greater career opportunities in the medical industry.

As a CNA, you would be setting your foot in the medical field and positioning yourself for a greater career path. To prepare for the training and certification exam, you must practice and focus by taking advantage of the CNA practice papers. You can make use of our free CNA practice test to help you efficiently prepare for the CNA exam.

With both knowledge and good skills, you can soar higher in the medical field. 

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