Certified nursing assistants, typically called CNAsin the nursing profession, offer a great way to make a career in the medical field without having to spend up to a decade and thousands of dollars to go to medical school.
Unlike many other careers in medicine, becoming a CNA does not require earning a specialized degree. Instead, it’s a certification. No matter what degree or which nursing training you have attended, you can take the CNA certification test and become a CNA simply by passing the test.
As the Baby Boomers reach retirement age and there are more and more people coming into the health care system, the demand for CNAs has risen greatly. This has led many hospitals, community colleges and other organizations to develop CNA training programs that are affordable on any budget. Online programs are even available for those with unpredictable or busy schedules.
These classes include book-based work, where students study theories and concepts. They also include practical classes, which are hands-on and give students a chance to practice techniques and learn about equipment.
After the coursework is completed, the student must then pass the certification exam. This exam also has both theoretical and practical parts. The written portion is given first, and then the clinical skills test, called the CST for short, is given. The skills in the CST are demonstrated on a real person. Some testing sites provide these subjects while others require that test takers bring their own “patient.”
Once the student successfully completes both parts of this exam, he or she receives their certification and is officially a certified nursing assistant. Some programs offer job placement while others encourage students to seek employment at medical facilities in the community. Either way, with a career that is so highly in demand, CNAs are almost certain to find a job quickly.