Do I Need a Degree to be a Certified Nursing Assistant?

Although obtaining a degree as a CNA is not necessary to qualify for examination, all states require prospective nursing assistants to undergo a specific number of training hours from an accredited institution. If you’re interested in starting a career as a certified nursing assistant, then you may be pleasantly surprised this career path does not require a traditional degree. Instead, the required coursework and training is delivered by completing a state-approved certificate program. Upon successful completion of this program, you may qualify to register for your state’s certification examination.

Finding a State-Approved Program

There’s a disturbing trend growing amongst the online educational world. Instead of highlighting accredited programs, a myriad of non-accredited programs claim to provide necessary coursework to take the certification examination. While this may be true as the program covers all necessary topics, if it’s not accredited by the board of nursing, then all your money and time is wasted on a bogus certificate. Avoid this costly mistake by doing your homework and validating the legitimacy of a CNA training program.

To do this, visit your state board of nursing web site or CNACertificationScoop. Throughout its pages you’ll find information regarding CNA, sometimes referred to as Certified Nurse Aide, training programs. Within this list is a host statewide training programs. Typically, these programs are found in vocational institutions, community colleges, hospitals, Red Cross agencies or in high schools.

Eligibility requirements to enroll in a CNA training program vary, but typically aspiring CNAs must possess a high school diploma, or GED, as well as provide documentation of immunizations, tuberculosis clearance and physical exam results. It’s also possible programs require background checks and passing scores on college-level reading and math assessments.

Certificate Program Coursework

While every state features unique eligibility requirements for CNA certification, the average study commitment is 75-hours of theoretical training. Certain states may require a CNA to undergo a certain number of clinical hours where you work alongside nurses and medical staff. Regardless of these specifics, a CNA training program must cover the basics of working as a CNA as well as teaching skill sets necessary to perform job functions.

Coursework typically consists of all aspects regarding patient care, medical terminology, infection control procedures, patient-specific exercises, vital sign gathering and reporting as well as how to effectively tend to patient spiritual and cultural needs. Upon completion of this coursework, you’ll have a working knowledge of how to interact with medical staff as well as how to properly tend to patients.