If you're unsatisfied with your current career path, you have options. Sure, switching to an entirely new career can be intimidating, but it's much better than working a job you dislike for the rest of your life. Like many people, you may aspire to become a nurse. You can get your foot in the door quickly by becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA. The requirements are fairly simple, and students earn their certifications in four to 12 weeks. As quick and relatively simple as it is, becoming a CNA is a great way to break out of an unsatisfying career. Learn the basics of doing so below to make the transition as easy as possible.
How to Make a Successful Mid-Career Switch to Become a CNA
Even while holding down a full-time job, you can follow these simple steps to become a CNA in as little as four weeks:
- Find a CNA Program - Keeping your work schedule and other responsibilities in mind, start investigating local CNA programs. Look for programs that cater to working adults. There are many such programs. They can typically be completed almost exclusively online, which gives you a lot more flexibility since you don't have to be on campus at certain times and dates. However, all programs have a clinical, hands-on component too, so look for one where this requirement is completed at nearby facilities.
- Complete Your Program - Assuming you select a CNA program that's mostly conducted online, you will have a lot of freedom in terms of when to "attend" lectures. Most often, they are posted online, and students can view them at their convenience. However, there will be strict deadlines for assignments, and you will have to complete a certain number of clinical hours to pass too.
- Take and Pass the Licensing Exam - Most CNA programs are designed to not only teach students how to be CNAs, but to ensure they pass the all-important licensing exam, which is conducted by the state. Don't rely solely on your schooling to pass the exam. Spend the days leading up to the exam studying as much as you can.
- Apply for and Get Your License - After you pass the CNA licensing exam, you'll have everything you need to receive your license. You must apply for it with your state board of nursing or department of health. Sometimes, you are permitted to apply while still in school. Once you have your test results and can prove you passed, your license will be given to you, and you will be eligible to apply for CNA jobs.
- Find a Job - This step is tricky only because you will also have to quit your current job. Give your current employer the standard two weeks' notice, update your resume, and start applying for CNA jobs. They are available in a lot of areas, and you can find them in nursing homes, clinics, hospitals, and even in companies that visit patients in their homes.
From start to finish, the preceding steps can typically be completed in five to 12 weeks. Indeed, in less than half a year, you could be working a newer, better job in an exciting field. Better still, becoming a CNA can be the first step in a long, increasingly rewarding career as a nurse, so take the first steps today.