Exploring the Red Cross Free CNA Certification Program

If you’re interested in starting a career as a certified nursing assistant, the most important element when it comes to this quest is where you’re trained. While CNA certification training programs are available in community colleges, vocational institutes and in hospitals throughout the United States, there is one option that many aren’t aware of. Did you know that The American Red Cross not only provides essential health care functions within the country, but also provides one of the most comprehensive CNA certification training programs available? Training to become a CNA can cost thousands, even through the training duration is significantly shorter almost any other certified career option. If you’re looking for a way to jumpstart this new found career, but you don’t have the finances to pay for traditional schooling, then the Red Cross is your solution.

Free CNA Certification Training at the Red Cross

The Red Cross is a highly respected organization with offices found throughout the world. Often times, individuals take first aid and CPR classes with this organization; however, if you’re seeking a CNA certification  training program, they should be your first option. In the United States, the Red Cross offers completely FREE CNA training programs.

Known as the Nurse Assistant Training, or NAT, this program offers one of the most complete and comprehensive training modules accredited by your State Board of Nursing. If you’re searching for a way to obtain the required amount of training to qualify for CNA certification, then this is the program that you should choose, if available. As of 2014, the Red Cross Nurst Assistant Training course covers the following:

Theory Based Training – Within this portion of the training program, you’ll learn everything you need to know to be a fully functioning CNA. Topics include:

  • Infection Control Methods
  • Taking Vital Signs
  • Range of Motion Exercises
  • Workplace Communication
  • Caregiving Techniques and Methods
  • Safety in the Workplace
  • Patient Care – In Depth Topics
  • Specialty Care Techniques
  • How to Transition from Student to Working CNA
  • CPR/AED/FA Training

Clinical Based Training – Once you’ve completed the theory based training program, you’ll begin the second component – clinical training. This is when students are able to take their newfound knowledge and begin applying it in real-world settings. Not only is this essential to obtaining a well-rounded CNA certification, but most states require a certain number of hours of clinical training in order to quality for examination. Throughout the clinical training component, students work directly with patients, under the direct supervision of a licensed Nurse Assistant Training Instructor. While topics can slightly vary, you’ll learn how to physically care for patients through hands-on demonstrations. This is the portion of your training where you’ll fully understand what it’s like to work as a CNA.

CRNA Exam Eligibility: Required Academic & Clinical Evidence

Required Academic and Clinical Evidence for CRNA Exam Eligibility

As with any other medical examination, you must be prepared to showcase evidence to the NBCRNA to ensure you meet the minimum eligibility requirements. While your state may feature unique eligibility requirements, the majority of states follow the minimum requirements set forth by the NBCRNA for top CRNA schools in the US. If you’re interested in determining whether or not you meet the minimum eligibility requirements to take the CRNA examination, continue reading. The following information is accurate as of January 2015.

CRNA Academic Eligibility Requirements

Along with graduating from a COA-Accredited Nurse Anesthesia Educational Program, you should be prepared to also showcase evidence of successfully completing the Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support coursework. You should be prepared to demonstrate you’ve completed the following required educational hours:

  • Pharmacology of Anesthetic Agents and Related Courses – 105 Credit Hours (Minimum)
  • Anatomy, Pathophysiology and Physiology – 135 Credit Hours (Minimum)
  • Professional Aspects of Working as a CRNA – 45 Credit Hours (Minimum)
  • Basic and Advanced Anesthesia Principles – 105 Credit Hours (Minimum)
  • CRNA Research – 30 Credit Hours (Minimum)
  • Clinical Correlation Conferences – 45 Credit Hours (Minimum)
  • Three Graduate Level Courses In Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Health Assessment and Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology

CRNA Clinical Experience Requirements

Along with successfully completed your educational (or classroom) requirements for CRNA schools, the NBCRNA also requires all aspiring test takers to complete a set number of clinical practice hours. The following list is only partial. To obtain a full list of clinical experience requirements, you should contact your local State Board of Nursing or refer to the NBCRNA Candidate Handbook, which features complete clinical experience requirements.

  • Anesthesia Cases – 550 Hours
  • Class III and IV Patients – 100 Hours
  • Geriatric Patients – 50 Hours
  • Pediatric Patients – 25 Hours
  • Trauma/Emergency Patients – 30 Hours
  • Ambulatory/Outpatient – 100 Hours
  • Obstetrical Management – 30 Hours

Variations of Minimum Requirements

It’s important to note that the minimum academic and clinical experience requirements vary based upon whether or not you’re being awarded a Doctoral Degree or if you’ve had varied work experience, such as military Registered Nurse experience.

How to Write a CNA Resume

Just like any other professional-level career, in order to be considered for a position as a CNA you must create a compelling and informative resume. While the basic function of a CNA resume is just like any other resume, there are several elements which are unique to this particular position. If you’re starting the job search, or are looking for ways to enhance the viability of your CNA resume, then you will want to follow several of these well-developed tips and resume writing techniques.

Identify Potential Employer Problems

While this may be easier said than done, one of the most effective resume writing techniques for certified nursing assistants is learning about the various problems within a particular facility and altering your resume to highlight how you will correct these problems. Of course, avoid saying, “I saw your facility had X, Y, Z wrong with it and this is how I’ll fix it.” Rather, cultivate your resume so it highlights your strengths according to their weaknesses. Don’t simply state your skills, but briefly describes how your skills will alter the workplace for the better. The most successful CNA resumes are those that delve into the issues of a potential employer and highlight how you can change these issues for the better.

Chronological or Functional Resume Format

Now, let’s move onto the actual resume. The two most commonly accepted resume formats are chronological and functional. The type you choose is based upon your experience and whether or not a particular format highlights your skills and abilities.

Chronological CNA Resume – The chronological resume format highlights your actual employment history. If you have a long history working as a CNA with various facilities, then this is the ideal resume for you. Within its format, you are able to detail the skills and accomplishments within each of your previous positions. While this is a powerful format for professional-level CNAs, if you’re relatively new to this career field, then you’ll want to skip this format and move on to the next.

Functional CNA Resume – The functional resume format does not highlight your previous employers, but rather your skills. This format is ideal for those who have little experience working as a CNA, but have the necessary skills this profession requires. This format showcases your capabilities – even if these capabilities aren’t tied to a specific employer. If you’re changing careers to a CNA, then this will be your ideal resume layout.

Stylistic Specifics

While the exact format of your resume is determined by your previous work history and education, there are several universal style tips you should follow to make a resume more attractive to readers.

White Space – A resume with blocks of text are not well-received in the HR world. White space, or space between sentences/paragraphs, breaks up text and is far easier to read.

Limit Font Styles – While you may be a creative person, save this creativity for when you’re actually working. In terms of fonts, use a maximum of two different fonts. Ideally, your name is in one font and the body of your resume is in another.

Keep It Simple – Limit the use of bold, underlined or italicized words. Simplicity is key. You want your experience to shine, not the design of your resume.

Becoming a CNA: What to Look for in a Training Program

If you’re curious about how to become a CNA, or certified nursing assistant, then you’re probably aware of the unique challenges this career provides. While it’s considered a more “entry level” career than becoming a Registered Nurse, the role of the CNA is vital to the entire function of a health care team. Given the importance of this role, it’s essential that you enroll in an accredited and highly respected training program. Much like any other health care career where you must come in close contact with patients, certified nursing assistants must undergo a specific amount of training. While training requirements can vary by state, there are several key factors you should look for in a CNA training program.

How to Become a CNA

The single most important factor to look for when selecting a CNA training program is whether or not it’s accredited by your State Board of Nursing. Due to the complexities that’s involved in working as a CNA, this profession is highly regulated. The first step of regulating an industry is by requiring its workers to obtain a uniform certification built upon uniform training programs.

When you decide you’re ready to find out how to become a CNA, you should contact the State Board of Nursing or the Nursing Aide Registry for your state. Upon contact, ask for a list of currently accredited CNA training programs and institutions. Typically, this information may be found online by pointing your Web browser to the State Licensing Board website.

Performing this check is even more important if you’re considering going to an online training program. While online training options are a viable choice for many aspiring CNAs, the unfortunate reality is many of these training programs aren’t accredited by the state. Therefore, if you were to enroll and “graduate” from these programs, you wouldn’t be able to sit for the certification examination. That being noted, the State Licensing Board will have an up-to-date list of all accredited online CNA training programs.

Another vital element to review is the Candidate Handbook for Certified Nursing Assistants. This valuable resource for those wanting to learn how to become a CNA, and is distributed by the State Licensing Board and includes not only state-specific information regarding work as a CNA, but also information regarding what the training program should consist of. Typically, the Candidate Handbook also includes sample examination questions and other vital information to help prepare you for the next step in this journey. While some curriculum is considered higher quality than others, if the training program is accredited by the State, then you won’t have to worry about outdated or sub-par training information.

We hope this information starts you on your new career path and eventually changes your question from how to become a CNA to how do I find a job as a newly licensed certified nursing assistant. Good luck!

Can I Get a CNA Certification Online?

Did you know that the modern health care industry is one of the fastest growing, and largest, in the country? Due to this massive expansion, that’s projected to continue growing as our population ages, the need for health care professionals is also projected to grow. As the need for nurses blooms, so does the need for certified nursing assistants, or CNAs. In order to begin a career as a CNA, you must obtain state-accredited training to satisfy the certification requirements set forth by your State Board of Licensing. Traditionally, this education was delivered via colleges, vocational institutes or through organizations, such as The American Red Cross. However, due to the expansion of digital technology and communications, aspiring CNAs may obtain their required training online.

Can I Become a CNA Online?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions regarding work as a certified nursing assistant. Many who wish to enter this field are currently working in another industry. Due to the time constraints of their busy lives, attending traditional in-person training programs is not an option. While it is possible to obtain accredited training online, the act of becoming certified cannot be fully satisfied via digital platforms.

In order to become a CNA you must take and pass a state monitored certification examination. This examination cannot be offered online. Therefore, any website claiming to “certify CNAs online” is nothing more than a marketing hoax. While you may indeed receive a “certificate” for completing their coursework, this in no fashion replaces the required state certification that’s required to begin work in this field.

Online CNA Certification Programs

If you’re curious about enrolling in a CNA certification online program, there are several factors you must take into consideration.

Accreditation – While anyone may access training materials that pertain to the education modules for CNAs, if the coursework is not accredited by your State Board of Licensing or the Nursing Aide Registry for your state, you will not be eligible for state CNA certification online. Before signing any contract to attend a specific online training program, double-check the current accreditation for that program by contacting your State Board of Licensing.

Required Training Duration – Even though the primary elements of CNA training are universal throughout the country, each state regulates the actual amount of training aspiring CNAs must go through to qualify for certification. The number of required training hours may range from 100 to over 140 of training and lectures. Before agreeing to any online CNA training program, it’s best to fully understand the training requirements set forth by your state. That being noted, by attending a state accredited training program, you won’t have to worry about insufficient training duration as each program must meet regulations in order to obtain accreditation.

Learning Modules – This factor is more personalized than the aforementioned. Every person learns differently. Due to the complexity of these training programs, it’s best to choose an online program that’s designed around your preferred method of learning. This may be in the form of automatic lessons, forum-based lectures or a combination of text and video training. Only agree to an online CNA certification online program if it’s designed in such a way that boosts your ability to learn and retain information.