Reader question: I want to be a nurse, but I need to get a job while Im taking classes in school. Being a certified nursing assistant looks like a good idea. On average, how long is a CNA course?
Certified nursing assistant programs generally take a short 6-week period to complete, give or take a couple of weeks in length. These are offered by some high schools, but mostly by vocational schools, community colleges, nursing facilities, or hospitals.
How do you get into a certified nursing assistant program?
Most CNA programs require completion of high school education, CPR certification, physical examination that show a clean bill of health, a background check which must not show any history of felonies or drug-related issues, and a favorable drug test result.
Some schools may require that you take and pass a math and reading assessment test prior to admission.
These are the general requirements, but states may impose their respective policies.
For instance, the requirement on background check and drug test may be required upon admission in some states; other states may require these upon application for CNA certification.
Students spend the first part of the program participating in lectures and laboratory exercises on various medical and nursing topics for at least two weeks.
The topics may include medical terminologies, anatomy and physiology, emergency procedures, infectious diseases and control techniques, patient care ethics, patient vital signs, hygiene and nutrition.
This will be followed by at least a month of intensive clinical training.
During this practical aspect of the certified nursing assistant classes, the students get the opportunity to work in the clinical setting under close supervision of RNs or other medical practitioners.
Programs as short as this must be taken full-time by the aspirant.
Most schools in California require a minimum of 150 hours. Community colleges in Connecticut cover from 100 to 120 hours of combined classroom, laboratory and clinical training.
How long do you go to school to be a CNA?
Overall, a CNA course may take as short as 6 weeks or as long as 12 weeks, depending on whether you’re taking it part-time or full time, what school or learning institution is offering the program, or the number of hours required by the state.
Verify whether the CNA program you’re getting into is state-approved. This is important because many cheap CNA classes may not be approved. You will later find that this is vital when you will be seeking certification as a CNA.
Before you can work as a Certified Nursing Assistant (also called Certified Nursing Aide in some states), you will need to be licensed by your state as such.
Requirements and standards vary by state, but not less than 75 hours of CNA training, written and practical tests, a drug check, and a criminal background check are just some of the basic preconditions for obtaining a license.
A written test of around 70 questions will have to be passed as part of evaluation. A practical demonstration of nursing skills learned will form the second part of evaluation.
Some states, such as the state of Oregon, implement a two-tier licensing system for CNAs – CNA 1 and CNA 2.
The two levels are distinguished by different requirements in training, licensing tests, competency evaluation, and scope of duties authorized.
A CNA 2 necessarily holds a previously-issued CNA 1 license plus additional training requirements.
Find a program that works best for you
Scout for the ideal program given your situation.
If you have a present job that you need to keep to support your schooling needs, a longer program with a more flexible schedule will be the better option.
Don’t forget to request credit for courses earned in previous programs or other curriculum – welcome any opportunity to cut the program shorter and save on school fees.
Hope this answers the question. How long is a CNA course?