By the time people are juniors or seniors in high school, many have a decent idea about what they'd like to do for a living. If you aspire to become a CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant, you're in luck. There are many things you can do while still in high school to prepare. In fact, if you turn 16 while still in high school, you may even be able to earn your license and start working part-time before graduating. Either way, by taking a few simple steps now, you will be well on your way to a rewarding nursing career the second you graduate from high school.
Steps for Preparing to Be a CNA While Still in High School
Follow these steps now so you can become a CNA as quickly as possible after graduating:
- Learn How - Get up to speed about what you'll need to do to earn your CNA certificate. Although it may vary a little depending on where you live, you typically do so by completing an educational program, taking and passing the state certification exam, and, finally, applying for and receiving your CNA license.
- Take the Right Classes - Your CNA program will teach you everything you need to know. At first, though, the terminology and concepts will seem really foreign to you. Make things easier on yourself by taking courses that introduce you to such subjects. These may include human anatomy and physiology, biology, and chemistry. When you start your program, you'll be ahead of the game.
- Volunteer - You may not be eligible to work in a healthcare setting just yet, but many facilities are always looking for volunteers. From spending time with elderly residents in nursing homes to doing odd jobs around a hospital, these volunteer activities will give you a taste of what it's like to work in such environments and give you experience working with patients and other medical professionals.
- Make Connections - Another benefit of volunteering at healthcare facilities while in high school is it gives you the opportunity to make connections that could help you significantly with your career. You will come into contact with people who actually hire CNAs, and they might be able to help you land jobs down the line. This is also a great way to find a mentor whose advice is sure to make a profound difference.
- Investigate Programs - Don't wait until you have earned your high school diploma to start looking for CNA programs. This step can take a lot of time, so it pays to start early. Keep in mind that many programs are largely conducted online, but in-person, hands-on clinical experience is also required. Therefore, you can expect to complete some of your education at local healthcare facilities. While investigating the available options, try to find out where your clinical practice will take place. Compare and contrast programs based on cost, duration, and other variables to more easily find one that's right for you.
By making the most of your time in high school, you can hit the ground running on your nursing career right after graduating, or even before then. It also gives you the opportunity to try things out to ensure a career in nursing is what you really want. Whether you remain a CNA or progress to becoming an LPN or RN, you'll be glad you took these steps before you graduated.