One of the ways you can break into the field of nursing is by becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA. In as little as a few months, you can complete the required educational program, take and pass the exam, and be the proud owner of a CNA license. Like anything else, though, there are ways to speed through the process more quickly. Learn about them to jump-start your career.
1. Learn the Requirements
Avoid wasting time by learning all the requirements for becoming a CNA ahead of time. This way, you can map out your path, which will help you arrive at your goal more quickly. Requirements for becoming a CNA vary by state, so the first step is to contact your state's board of nursing or health department. You can also contact local healthcare facilities to gain insights about the process.
While investigating the process of becoming a CNA, pay special attention to the kind of education that's required. For instance, you will need a high school diploma or GED to enroll in a CNA program. Some programs require you to pass a basic proficiency test as well. By knowing about these things in advance, you will fly through the process of finding and completing a program.
Do some research about the exam you will need to take to obtain your CNA certification. This will allow you to get the most out of your CNA program and show you where to focus your energy during your studies. The goal here, of course, is to pass the exam the first time so that you can become a licensed CNA more quickly.
2. Find and Complete a CNA Program
As tempted as you may be to choose your CNA program based on its length alone, remember that it must be in-depth enough to fully prepare you for your exam. Programs typically run anywhere from four to 12 weeks in length. If you need to hold down a full-time job while completing your program, look for pay-to-learn programs. Also, in exchange for working for a healthcare facility, you can receive the education you need to pass your exam and receive your certification.
Regardless of the length or intensity of your program, stay focused the whole time. Try not to miss a single hour of instruction, and devote as much time to studying as possible. By keeping your nose to the grindstone, you'll get through the program quickly and be confident and ready to go when it's time to take your exam.
3. Take the Certification Exam
It may feel like a lot is at stake when sitting for your state's CNA certification exam. Keep in mind, though, that you can always retake it if things don't work out the first time. These exams vary by state, but typically consist of a written section and a clinical skills section. For the latter, you demonstrate your skills to an observer. As long as you've worked hard and focused during your program, you should pass the exam without any trouble.
4. Apply for CNA Jobs
Just four to 12 weeks after starting on the path to become a CNA, you will be eligible to apply for jobs. One way to expedite the process even more is by investigating the job market while you're still in your program. Either way, it won't be long before you've been hired for your first job as a CNA.