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What is cna means?

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Answer # 1 #

definition A CNA (certified nursing assistant) is a healthcare worker that can provide personal care to patients in a variety of settings. CNAs can be employed in nursing homes, hospitals, hospice centers, private homes, and more. CNAs help patients with a variety of tasks, including personal care, feeding, bathing, and administering medications. (CNA job description)

Working as a team member, the CNA provides assistance with essential daily tasks such as dressing, eating, toileting, and personal hygiene. They take vital signs, record intake and output, and help with procedures.

A certified nurse assistant works under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN) to give personal, hands-on care to patients, residents, or clients. Thanks to CNAs, each patient receives individualized care that maintains the best possible quality of life.

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is the backbone of health care. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of patients, clients, or residents of the facility or agency that the CNA works for. Working as a team member, the certified nurse assistant takes vital signs and helps patients bathe, dress, eat, and go to activities. Patients depend on CNAs to help them go to the bathroom and transfer from their beds to chairs. CNAs also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. In short, just about everything that a patient needs, a CNA does.

Note: While we use the term “Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)” here, because it is the most common, and indicates a recognized level of competency, some states or employers may use a different title. Hospitals and clinics may use “Nurse Aide” or “Patient Care Assistant.” States may designate other titles, as well. For example, Ohio uses “State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA)

Just about everything that a patient needs, a CNA does.

Typical duties of a CNA include:

Like all team members, a CNA focuses on patient safety. Every CNA must be certified in CPR and First Aid. The CNA must also be familiar with fire safety, emergency procedures, and the safety policies of the facility where they are employed.

There are plenty of good reasons to consider becoming a CNA. It’s the fastest way to become a professional member of the healthcare team; no college is required. You can complete a CNA training program in 4-12 weeks, and start your new profession immediately.

Training is affordable. The average cost for a state-approved school is about $1,300, plus about $200 for the certification process. It can also be free! Because the demand for CNAs is great, some nursing homes and skilled care facilities offer tuition reimbursement, paid employment during training, or free CNA classes in exchange for a commitment to work after completing the courses.

Another benefit of becoming a CNA is the chance to start a long career in healthcare. An experienced CNA has a wide choice of work settings and can specialize in an area of medicine, such as hospice or home health. Or the CNA may decide to train as an LPN or RN.

One of the best reasons to become a CNA is the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of patients and residents. They rely on compassionate care from well-trained professionals. As a direct-care giver, the CNA spends the most time with patients and residents; no other team member has the opportunity to become familiar with clients and to form trusting relationships. Not every day is easy—anyone in healthcare will tell you that--but it can still be rewarding.

One of the best reasons to become a CNA is the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of patients and residents.

Good news! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job growth for CNAs is expected to be 9% through 2028. Compare that to the normal growth rate of 5% for other occupations. Over 135,000 new CNAs will be needed to fill the job postings!

As the Baby Boomer generation gets older, the need for more medical services, including assistance with daily activities and round-the-clock care, is going to climb steadily. Opportunities in different settings, such as with home health and private duty agencies, will expand.

Across the country, the mean (mid-point) annual salary is about $28,530. As of November, 2019, CNA salaries could be as high as $35,115. Factors that influence salary include where you live, how long you’ve been a CNA, and additional certifications.

For full-time employees, benefits such as paid vacation and holidays, medical insurance, and other expenses paid by the employer increase the total value by 25%. This means a CNA earning $28,000 a year receives an additional $7,000 of benefits. Total salary package: $35,000.

To see specific employment outlook and salary information for your state and location, click here. Place the cursor over the map area you’re interested in to find out how many CNAs are employed in that area and what the average annual salary is.

All successful healthcare professionals have similar traits, including dependability, strong communication skills, attention to details, and physical stamina.

But what else? A great CNA brings other qualities that make the workplace and patient care better. Along with the desire to help others, CNAs know that every day is different. Perhaps a resident isn’t well and needs more attention. Or a co-worker is ill, so assignments must be redistributed. Maybe a favorite patient passes away. Flexibility and a “can-do” attitude are essential. Some days can be challenging and you may wish you worked at Starbucks. But then who would care for these residents as well as you? No one. So you continue to do your best.

Some days can be challenging and you may wish you worked at Starbucks. But then who would care for these residents as well as you? No one. So you continue to do your best.

A good CNA has many of the following strengths or skills:

The most important thing to do is to locate a state-approved program. Every state has a list of accredited CNA training programs that meet its standards. These programs meet the state’s requirements for the number of hours in a classroom and in a setting to teach patient care skills. Find an approved CNA training program or learn how many hours of education are required by your state.

Since 1987, as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, all CNA training programs in the United States must include similar course content, to ensure that patients and residents receive consistent, high-quality care. No matter where you live, or if you move to another state, your training will be the same as every other CNA.

No matter where you live, or if you move to another state, your training will be the same as every other CNA.

CNA training programs are offered by hospitals, nursing homes, community colleges, and vocational schools. The American Red Cross provides training in ten states. Online programs can be handy, but often lack necessary clinical time to learn and practice the skills that will be tested during the certification process. Be sure to check that an online program also has a way to provide you with the required hands-on clinical experience.

Before enrolling in a program, make sure that it is approved by your state. If it’s not, you will have wasted both your time and money. You will not be eligible to be listed on the state’s CNA Registry or be able to find work at most facilities.

Before enrolling in a program, make sure that it is approved by your state. If it’s not, you will have wasted both your time and money.

Every program offers extensive training in the essential skills necessary to provide patients with daily care: bathing, dressing, feeding, and toileting. CNAs learn to transfer and position patients, and help residents walk or exercise. Instruction on observing and reporting symptoms is also important.

Besides personal care, training covers a wide variety of topics:

Training programs also teach the legal aspects of healthcare, including data collection, documentation, reporting suspected abuse, and protecting patient confidentiality.

After completing an approved CNA program, you are qualified to take your state’s certification examination. All written exams are multiple choice. Each state determines how many questions are included and how long the test lasts. See your state’s requirements and application process.

The exam is divided into several categories:

To help you study for the written exam, CNA Plus has practice tests that cover all the categories on the exam. Some questions are the same as those on the actual exam. You can take each test as many times as you like. Each time, the questions and four choices are shuffled into a different order. A hint and an explanation are provided for each question.

The most important way to prepare for the written exam is to start right away and to do a little each day. Read this article to get tips on how to pass the multiple choice CNA exam.

Most CNA candidates are nervous about the skills portion of the certification exam. Out of about thirty possible skills that can be demonstrated, only handwashing is certain to be on the list. Handwashing is so important that if you forget to do it, or do it improperly, you will fail.

The evaluator will select the other procedures. Most states will include one of each of these skills:

How can you best prepare for the skills exam? Practice! CNA Plus has an article with tips to help you be confident and thirty videos demonstrating each skill. You can also print out a checklist that describes each step of every skill. Use several resources to study for the skills exam, to reinforce learning and help you remember.

After you complete training, pass your CNA certification exam, and register with your state, you’re ready to find work as a healthcare professional! What’s the best place to get experience? For most CNAs, there are three good options:

Before applying for a job, take time to read this CNA Plus article on how to write a resume. It sets you apart from other CNAs by showing you are a dedicated professional. Even if you don’t have medical experience yet, employers are impressed when you include your resume with an application and bring a copy to an interview. Find examples of resumes for a new CNA at Resume-Now.com and LiveCareer.com.

Congratulations! You got a call to come for an interview! To make a good impression, it’s important to prepare. Read this CNA Plus article to get ready for the big day.

Begin by gathering your professional references; usually you need three people that are not family members and are familiar with your work ethic or talents. Ask them if the employer can contact them. Get each person’s name, phone number and email address and bring the list with you to the interview. The employer will want to communicate with them to find out about your job performance, reliability, skills, and ability to get along with others.

Of course you will dress in a professional manner and arrive a little early for the appointment. Bring extra copies of your resume, and some paper and a pen to take notes. Greet each person with a smile and a firm handshake. Ask for each person’s business card so that you can send a thank you note after the interview.

The hardest part of any interview is answering questions, especially when you’re asked to describe yourself. Fortunately, there are lists of common interview questions and helpful tips that you can study ahead of time. There are three types of questions:

Follow these links to see common CNA interview questions and how to answer them:

CNA Interview Questions and AnswersCNA Interview Questions and How to Answer ThemTop 18 CNA Interview Questions and Answers

What exactly are your job responsibilities? Either at the interview or when you complete your hiring paperwork, you’ll be given a copy of your job description. Read it carefully to learn your duties; what your work performance will be based on; the physical demands of the job; education and experience requirements; and the pay grade.

Make sure you understand everything about your position; don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even on the busiest day, never attempt a task that is not in your job description or that you have not been trained to do.

Being a CNA is important work. Healthcare couldn’t function without CNAs. Because you spend the most time with patients and residents, you know them better than other team members. You may be the first to notice a change in condition, so nurses depend on you to report anything new or unusual.

One of the most important duties for all healthcare team members is timely and accurate documentation. Read this CNA Plus article to learn the “rules of charting.” A patient’s record is both a legal document and a communication tool.

As you learn to handle the workload and become comfortable in your job, you’ll discover ways to be more efficient. Read this CNA Plus article with 25 tips from experienced CNAs that can save time and make your day smoother.

You will be caring for all types of clients, patients, and residents. Some will have chronic conditions that last for years; others will become ill and die quickly. Learning to be comfortable around people who are dying is a good skill to develop. Patients will look to you to help them through the final stage of life. One of the most satisfying parts of being a CNA is to know you were able to comfort someone. This CNA Plus article will tell you how you can respond in these situations.

Healthcare is demanding and stressful work. Some days can be difficult, with one crisis or challenge after another. Over time, the stress of caring for others can cause physical, mental, and emotional symptoms known as “burnout.” Every healthcare professional is at risk for burnout; constantly supporting patients or residents can feel overwhelming. Read this CNA Plus article to learn how to recognize burnout and its cousin, compassion fatigue.

Just like flight attendants say during the safety demonstration before takeoff, you must take care of yourself first before helping others. Some ways to stay healthy:

Even with a good home-work balance, sometimes your job can seem too demanding. Take a look at your workplace. Does it support employees? Are co-workers friendly and cooperative? Is the atmosphere generally positive? No job is perfect, but if you find yourself in a constant negative or toxic environment, it may be time to look for a new position, rather than risk your health.

As you gain experience as a CNA, you may discover that you really enjoy being a direct caregiver. Few other professionals have the chance to become close to their patients or residents on a daily basis. Even small tasks that make someone smile or be more comfortable are satisfying. These CNAs maintain their certification by taking the state’s required continuing education classes.

Some CNAs use their job as a stepping stone to get to another level of nursing. Perhaps they have a career plan that allows them to work while returning to school; many employers have tuition reimbursement benefits and promise to promote staff members who earn a higher degree.

For other CNAs, deciding to pursue a nursing degree happens gradually. They watch the LPN or RN, and decide they, too, would like to have more responsibility. Higher degrees also pay more, another good reason to get more education. In November 2018, the median average pay was:

This CNA Plus article will give you more information about the nursing career ladder. You have already demonstrated that you know how to study and provide excellent care. When it comes to your future, the sky’s the limit!

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Pratibha Tolani
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Answer # 2 #

CNA stands for “certified nursing assistant,” an entry-level role that provides vital support to both patients and nurses. From transporting, bathing, and feeding hospital patients, to stocking medical supplies and logging patient information, CNAs are on the ground working to enhance patient outcomes. While a CNA is not classified as a nurse, this position is a fantastic entry point for dozens of different nursing careers.

Read on to learn more about what a CNA does, how to become a CNA, and the qualities that a certified nursing assistant should possess, along with information about CNA salary expectations and job outlook. For additional details about this career field, or to learn more about the nursing programs and certificates we offer at National University, contact our admissions officers for one-on-one support. We also recommend reading about some additional nursing and healthcare careers, such as becoming a Registered Nurse (RN), to help you determine what sort of specialty or focus area is the best fit for your interests and goals.

As a CNA, you’ll provide basic care and support for patients under the supervision of a licensed nurse or other medical professional, which covers a wide range of responsibilities. Here are a few of the job tasks and duties that you may be responsible for in your role as a certified nursing assistant:

Becoming a CNA does not require you to hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree. In fact, as we’ll discuss in more detail shortly, there is no specific degree requirement to become a CNA — all you need is a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, there are rigorous testing requirements for CNAs, who must demonstrate their proficiency in a wide range of areas, such as patient care, hygiene, privacy, ethics, technical clinical skills, and various other competencies.

If there is no educational requirement, but you are still tested on your knowledge, how do you acquire the skills and expertise you need? The answer is that most states offer a wide range of CNA training programs, which can typically be completed in as little as four to eight weeks. Of course, if your goal is to transition from being a CNA into another healthcare role, such as becoming a registered nurse (RN), you should start planning on pursuing your bachelor’s degree or master’s degree to prepare you for more complex job responsibilities in the future.

Read on to learn more about the educational requirements for CNAs, the examination you’ll be required to pass, and what sort of content it covers.

You may be surprised to learn that there is no degree requirement to become a CNA. In fact, some states allow CNAs to enter professional training programs If they have a high school diploma or are in a high school CNA program.

Because the educational requirements are minimal compared to those for many other healthcare professions, CNA is an attractive entry-level career for individuals who are studying or have an interest in nursing. However, just because there are different education requirements, that doesn’t mean aspiring CNAs aren’t held to high standards or rigorously tested on their knowledge. On the contrary, CNA hopefuls must pass a challenging written and hands-on exam in order to demonstrate competence — and apply to become certified.

CNA certification exams are administered at the state level, which means that different rules and regulations apply depending on your location. For example, California CNA testing vendors are listed here by the California Department of Public Health, which also provides detailed information about CNA training programs, CNA applications and renewals, and various state and federal requirements.

Most states require CNAs to pass a specific exam known as the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) examination, which is administered in 17 jurisdictions nationwide — all listed here by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, or NCSBN. The NNAAP features two key components: a written exam component and a clinical skills exam. Continue reading to learn more about these components of the NNAAP, along with whether CNAs can provide care for a wide variety of patients including those on specialty units.

According to the test preparation company Prometric, the written exam portion of the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) examination features a total of “70 multiple-choice items, 10 of which are non-scored items that will only collect statistical information.” Credentia, which administers the exam in California, offers a practice NNAAP written exam for California test-takers.

Along with the clinical portion of the exam, which is discussed in the next section, the written component tests students on three core areas of knowledge: Physical Care Skills (such as dressing patients or collecting data), Psychosocial Care Skills (like attending to patients’ emotional needs), and the Role of the Nurse Aide (which touches on areas like ethics and client rights). This portion is also available as an oral exam and is offered in English and Spanish.

The clinical skills (hands on) exam portion of the CNA exam is composed of five basic skills, such as measuring and recording vital signs, handwashing, and mobility assistance. “is composed of 60 multiple-choice items and 10 reading comprehension (word recognition) items,” according to Mometrix. You can view a practice NNAAP exam here, or explore the California CNA test prep resources offered by Credentia, which administers the test.

Although CNA is an entry-level position, there may be opportunities for certified nursing assistants to obtain valuable experience in various specialty areas. According to CNALicense.org, the top five areas where CNAs work in 2022 are cardiology, pediatrics, geriatrics, psychiatry, and home care. However, as CNALicense also points out, it may be necessary to formally earn an entry level BSN degree before you can specialize in your chosen field — for example, earning your bachelor’s degree and becoming an RNso that you can pursue more job openings within this field.

Being a CNA is a physically and sometimes emotionally demanding job that can place you into high-pressure situations, requiring a level-headed demeanor and the ability to maintain your professionalism even when the environment around you feels chaotic. You’ll also need the ability to help a diverse population of patients feel more at ease with procedures and environments that, for many people, can be stressful or intimidating.

These types of tasks call for a caring individual who possesses a high degree of empathy, exceptional communication skills, and great interpersonal skills. Here are some of the other skills and characteristics that a CNA should have in order to optimize their success in this career field:

We’ve covered what a CNA is, the sorts of traits and qualifications they need to possess, and what sorts of tasks they typically perform. Now that you understand what a CNA does, it’s important to differentiate this role from the position of medical assistant, or MA.

According to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), “Medical assistants are cross-trained to perform administrative and clinical duties.” Examples of an MA’s typical administrative duties include coding insurance documents, making arrangements for patients to be admitted to hospitals, answering phones, and assisting with billing and bookkeeping. Examples of clinical duties, by comparison, may include preparing patients for various exams, caring for wounds and changing dressings, conducting certain lab tests, and helping physicians conduct patient examinations.

While this job description shares some overlap with that of a CNA, the critical difference is that CNAs exclusively perform clinical tasks, such as moving and bathing patients. Additionally, there are differences in terms of salary expectations. For example, Salary.com reports that MAs earn an average salary of approximately $39,100 in the United States. Like CNAs, MAs do not need to possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree but must have a high school diploma or the equivalent, in addition to meeting state-specific certification requirements.

Certified nursing assistants are needed in all types of healthcare settings, from nursing homes and memory care facilities for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, to the pediatric wards of hospitals. As such, CNAs have opportunities to work in a wide range of settings and environments, interacting directly with injured or ill patients — as well as the nurses and healthcare professionals who are treating them.

Examples of the types of facilities and organizations where CNAs typically work include, but are not limited to, the following:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides detailed data about earning potential, job growth, and other important metrics for a wide range of careers and occupations. According to the BLS, nursing assistants (and orderlies, with whom CNAs are categorized) earned a median salary of $30,290 as of 2021, the most recent data available. The median salary was higher in the top-paying industries and employers for CNAs, which the BLS ranked as follows:

The earning potential may be higher for some CNAs. According to the BLS, the top 10% of earners had a salary of over $44,200. It’s also important to reiterate that many individuals transition from being a CNA into other nursing and healthcare career paths, such as radiation therapy, which has a median salary of approximately $82,800 annually according to BLS data. We’ll discuss how CNAs transition to other nursing positions, such as becoming a radiation therapist, in the section below.

In terms of career outlook for the future, the BLS projects the CNA field to grow at a rate of 5% through 2031. This is the same pace as the national average, which is also 5%.

As we’ve mentioned throughout this guide, CNA positions are excellent entry-level positions that provide essential experience and preparation for more specialized nursing roles. But how do you actually transition from being a CNA to being a nurse?

First, you should identify the type of nurse you want to become, since this will impact your degree requirements and the amount of time you’ll need to invest in your education. For example, a registered nurse must generally possess a bachelor’s degree or higher, while a nurse anesthetist is typically required to hold, at minimum, a master’s degree.

Whether you’re pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in nursing, National University’s four-week course structure and online learning options enable you to earn credits and complete programs efficiently, so that you can hit the ground running in your specialty area of choice. For example, start by exploring our Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.

In addition to earning the appropriate degree, it’s also essential to earn any licenses or certifications that are required by your state, which may require you to pass one or more professional exams. For instance, to become a licensed RN in the state of California, you will need to pass the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) exam. This requirement is upheld by the California Board of Registered Nursing (CBRN), whose steps and criteria for becoming an RN are listed here.

Finally, you’ll need to maintain your skills and keep your expertise up-to-date by completing continuing education requirements for nurses, which vary across states. For example, according to the CBRN, “In the State of California, Registered nurses are required by law (California Code of Regulations, Section 1451, Article 5) to complete 30 contact hours of continuing education every two years… to maintain an active license.”

Not only is continuing education for nurses a professional requirement in California and many other U.S. states — it will also enhance your marketability and expand your employment opportunities, regardless of which specialty or subfield of nursing you decide to pursue. Whether you are passionate about pediatrics, immunology, public health, cardiology, mental health, rehabilitation, or other focus areas, you should begin planning now for how you will fulfill the continuing education and professional development requirements that apply in your state.

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S.R.K. Rajpriya
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However, you must fulfill a few CNA certification requirements before you can begin. This article will explore what certified nursing assistants do, how much they earn, and how to become a CNA. Keep reading to prepare for your nursing assistant career today.

Certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, work under registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). They assist with daily patient care tasks like dressing, bathing, and checking patient vital signs. You may also refer to CNAs as:

Some CNAs use the position as a springboard to further their nursing careers. They will build upon their certifications and education to become LPNs or RNs.

Others use the CNA certification to test the waters, so to speak. They become CNAs to determine whether they want to continue to the next step in their healthcare journey.

While certified nursing assistants and medical assistants (MAs) have some similarities, they are not the same job. Both careers assist doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers with treatments, procedures, and tests. However, MAs primarily conduct patient assessments and evaluations as they assist doctors with patient care and treatment.

On the other hand, certified nursing assistants focus on direct patient care. Nursing assistants also have specific job-related duties that are dictated by the state of employment.

To become an LPN, you must pass a state-mandated exam and obtain a nursing license. On the other hand, CNAs only need to obtain a certification to practice.

Though both career paths don't require a college degree to practice, LPNs have higher education requirements than CNAs. For example, LPNs gain a deeper knowledge about healthcare and the human body during their year-long training programs. Such additional knowledge allows them to perform more complex procedures that CNAs cannot, like inserting a peripheral intravenous catheter.

CNAs can help a unit run smoothly, especially for nurses with multiple medically complex patients. Common CNA responsibilities include:

Direct responsibilities will vary based on the location of employment and the nurse's level of need. Different states have individual CNA requirements and duties. You can check your state guidelines for specific details about approved CNA duties and tasks in the state where you plan to practice.

The most common CNA workplaces include:

Certified nursing assistants rarely work in outpatient, office, or clinic settings. These facilities all require nursing assistants to act as a liaison between the nurse and the patient.

As patient care liaisons, CNAs must enjoy interacting with people and have good bedside manners. But other skills or attributes that can help your nursing assistant career include:

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for nursing assistants in 2021 was $30,290 per year or $14.56 per hour.

However, CNA salary expectations will vary depending on the setting and area. CNAs working at junior colleges earn the most, with an average mean salary of  $69,150. On the other hand, home healthcare services have the lowest median pay at $32,160.

According to the BLS, the following states have the highest pay scale for certified nursing assistants.

Metropolitan areas tend to pay higher for nursing assistants. Some of the highest-paying cities include:

Nonmetropolitan areas that pay CNAs the most in the US include:

Certified nursing assistants must complete a state-approved training program. CNA programs are generally found at local community colleges, high schools, vocational or technical schools, or local hospitals.

Most programs have similar requirements that must be completed prior to application and acceptance. The American Red Cross runs a popular CNA training program throughout the country which runs for 4-8 weeks depending on class size and location. Prerequisites include:

We consulted nursing experts to curate the top 10 CNA programs in the nation. To determine which programs made this list, we used the following methods and panel:

Methodology

Our nurses ranked these programs based on numerous factors, including:

Nurse Panel

3 Registered Nurses with years of experience and multiple degrees comprise our selection panel:

Because individual nursing pathways take various forms, our panel ranked these CNA programs in no particular order.

Total Program Cost: $1,250

Online: Hybrid

Program Length: 4-8 weeks

The American Red Cross, well known for its education and certifications, also teaches students to become CNAs. The hybrid program lets students complete courses online while earning experience in person.

As a nationwide organization, the American Red Cross reaches numerous cities and states, so individuals across the country can enroll. Depending on how quickly the student completes courses, the program takes 4-8 weeks to complete. Also, program costs can vary from location to location.

Program Tuition: Up to $2,000

Online: No

Program Length: 12 weeks

Based in Cochise County, Arizona, Cochise College offers multiple allied health programs, including a nursing assistant certificate. Cochise College's two-course CNA program teaches skills to become a nurse assistant as well as basic CPR and First Aid skills. Graduates also become CPR and First Aid certified. Arizona residents get an in-state discount, though Cochise also extends discounts to senior citizens and charges a per-credit rate.

In-State Program Tuition: $927 Out-of-State Program Tuition: $1,066

Online: No

Program Length: 12 weeks

Created to educate nurses to work with elderly patients in long-term healthcare settings, Hutchinson Community College's CNA program requires just 4.5 credits to graduates, making it among the shortest and most affordable CNA programs available.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, students must study on-site in Hutchinson, Kansas. While the Kansas Board of Nursing doesn't disclose outcomes for CNA programs, this short program quickly prepares nurses to gain a CNA certification.

Program Tuition: $985

Online: Hybrid

Program Length: 12 weeks

Pratt Community College, another college located in Kansas, offers its CNA program in a hybrid format, allowing students to complete coursework and theory online. The program requires five credits, though students who choose to study online do not receive an in-state tuition discount. Regardless, Pratt CC's CNA program costs far less than other programs. Graduates can find positions in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and various hospitals.

Program Tuition: $781

Online: No

Program Length: 12 weeks

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College offers the best CNA program in Kentucky and perhaps in the region. The low-cost CNA program requires the completion of just 96 hours of practice, 16 of which must be supervised clinical skills training.

Students can also complete a Medicaid Nurse Aide Certificate to boost their job prospects and potential earnings. Graduates must attend 100% of courses to graduates. Elizabethtown offers courses on weekdays, Saturdays, and in the evening.

Program Tuition: $507.55

Online: No

Program Length: Up to 12 weeks

Located in Appleton, Wisconsin, Fox Valley Technical College's CNA program is among the cheapest routes for becoming a CNA, though the school's estimated costs do not include exam fees. The full-time program consists of daytime and evening courses, and FVTC also offers an accelerated format that takes less than 12 weeks to complete.

Students cannot take courses online but can complete courses at six different locations in Wisconsin. Graduates can also transfer their CNA credits into an associate's or bachelor's degree.

In-State Program Tuition: $1,019 Out-of-State Program Tuition: $2,772

Online: No

Program Length: 12 weeks

Elgin Community College offers one of the most comprehensive nurse assistant programs. The training program requires the completion of seven credit hours (double what other programs require) to increase graduates' job prospects by increasing their potential scope of practice. By the end of the program, graduates can take the nurse assistant certification exam in Illinois, though the program might also meet requirements for other states.

Annual Tuition: $800

Online: No

Program Length: 12 weeks

Century College, based in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, offers its four-credit nurse assistant certificate program in both part-time and full-time formats. Available year-round, the CNA program allows students to complete courses either for credit or not for credit.

Both options lead to program completion, though for-credit courses can be transferred into an associate's or bachelor's degree. Regardless of which option students choose, Century College is among the most affordable institutions in the region.

In-State Program Tuition: $181 Out-of-State Program Tuition: $1,004

Online: No

Program Length: 6-10 weeks

With several CNA options available, the City College of San Francisco is one of California's most versatile CNA programs. Nurse assistant students choose to specialize in acute care or convalescent care, which take 6 and 10 weeks to complete, respectively.

The convalescent care route also requires twice as many credits, meaning double the tuition cost. The City College of San Francisco is definitely more affordable for California residents who pay a fraction of what out-of-state students pay.

In-State Program Tuition: $716.00 Out-of-State Program Tuition: $924.00

Online: Hybrid

Program Length: 10 weeks

Miles City, Montana-based Miles Community College offers one of the region's best (and most affordable) CNA programs. Students complete 45 of the required credit hours online and 30 hours of clinical practice in person. The 75-hour program counts as four credits that students can transfer into another nursing program.

Note that while Miles CC's CNA program prepares nurses for Montana certification, the costs associated with the exam are not included in the total tuition.

While the Red Cross offers in-person classes, some vocational schools and community colleges offer online CNA programs. Many programs operate clinics at local hospitals.

There are pros and cons to the online programs. While individuals may be able to obtain their CNA certification quicker there is concern that individuals graduating from these programs are not gaining the same core knowledge and skills as their in-classroom counterparts.

>> Related: Top CNA Programs

Becoming a certified nursing assistant will not immediately prepare you for other nursing occupations.

However, the base of knowledge and experience earned as a CNA can help you gain entry into LPN or RN programs. But earning these nursing certifications will require completing separate continuing education programs.

Remember that your CNA experience and education won't likely translate to shortened LPN or RN training. But it could translate to less stress and confusion as you navigate nursing school courses. It can also help your career outlook because you'll already have a professional network when you graduate.

Professional organizations such as the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants and the Nursing Association of Health Care Assistants are great resources for information about becoming a CNA. These resources offer:

These associations are more than just a great resource for new CNAs. They also provide vital information for those who are already established in their career. By joining these professional organizations, you can make vital connections with industry experts and managers, leading to future career growth opportunities.

Certified nursing assistants are currently in high demand, and the need is projected to continue through the next decade. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts CNA career growth to grow by 5% between 2021 and 2031.

This number will only increase as the baby boomer generation ages, and there is an increased demand for additional long-term nursing care facilities. Nursing assistants will be needed to care for this population which is more likely to suffer from dementia and other neurologic changes.

If you're interested in becoming a CNA, you might also want to check out these other healthcare careers you can start working in quickly!

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Sheila Radhika
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A CNA or certified nursing assistant is an important position in any hospital setting.

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Yograj McGarvey
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