Working Towards a CNA License Online
Certified Nursing Assistants work directly with LPNs and RNs to provide safe and professional medical care. CNAs often work in nursing homes or assisted living facilities, and thus work mostly with elderly or disabled patients. Because nursing assistants work with vulnerable patients and are relied upon to provide important medical care, many employers require that the nursing assistants they hire be licensed or certified. The certification process and requirements for CNAs are not regulated by any federal or national testing, but are instead determined on a state-by-state basis. If you are interested in working as a nursing assistant, it will be very beneficial to your career if you follow your state’s procedure and become certified, registered, or licensed (depending upon your state) as a nursing assistant.
CNA Certification and Licensure
In order to work as a certified nursing assistant in most states, you will need to pass a certification exam. In several states, however, you will also need to be officially licensed after passing the certification exam. This is usually obtained by completing a licensure application and paying applicable fees. The list below includes the general requirements and steps for obtaining CNA certification or licensure:
- Submit a proper testing application
- Pay testing fee
- Pass a criminal background check and drug screening
- Provide proof of completion of an approved CNA training program
- Possess CPR certification
- Meet your state’s age minimum for CNAs
Online CNA License Training
Before you can begin to think about applying for a CNA license, you must first consider how you will get the appropriate training. One of the most convenient ways to get CNA training is by completing an online CNA training program. Most CNA training consists of classroom work and clinical work. For many courses, you can complete the classroom work online, from the comfort of your own home. This enables you to complete the majority of the work to become a CNA without ever having to set foot in a classroom. This will save you time and money on travel costs. If you complete your CNA training by attending online CNA classes, you will be more able to continue working your current job as well as fulfilling any family responsibilities you may have. Since CNA training can take as little as two months to complete, you need only invest a small amount of your time for the reward of a new career.
Once you complete an online training program, you are one step closer to obtaining your CNA license or certification. Most CNA programs also require that each student work a required number of clinical hours before he or she can be considered as having passed the training course. There will be fewer clinical hours than classroom hours. It is important to take the clinical training seriously because most states have a clinical portion to the certification exam. Making sure that you can accurately perform the duties of a CNA in a real-world setting will help you pass the certification exam.
If you complete your online training course as well as your clinical course, you may then be ready to take your state’s nursing assistant competency exam. The exam varies by state, but it will generally consist of a section of multiple choice questions and a clinical skills portion. During the clinical portion, a student will be asked to demonstrate his or her nursing skills before an examiner. In order to pass the exam you must successfully complete both portions.
CNA Licensure and Renewal
In most states, once you successfully pass the competency exam, you will be considered a certified nursing assistant. Some states will require that you complete additional paperwork in order to be listed on a CNA registry. Others require CNAs to be licensed as well as certified, so CNAs in those states will need to submit a licensing application and licensing fee in order to work as a licensed CNA. If you live in a state where you need to maintain registration status or licensure, be sure to contact your department of health or state board of nursing to determine how to renew your certification. Most certifications are valid for two years. After two years, you will likely have to submit an application for renewal which shows proof of your continuing work as a CNA. Each state has individual requirements for renewal so be sure to follow your state’s guidelines
In some cases, you may be able to find a job as a nursing assistant without being certified, but for the most part, any jobs in nursing homes or other medical facilities will likely require state certification or licensure before they consider you for employment.
Becoming a Licensed CNA
While going through online CNA training can seem like a lot of work, once you complete your training and receive your certification or licensure, you will be able to pursue an exciting career as a CNA. CNAs are an integral part of the medical team for many sick and elderly patients. They provide important services and do so with a sense of pride and responsibility that comes from being able to care for others.