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!

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