CNA Training

CNA Training - What to Expect

So you’ve decided to become a CNA. Congrats! You are on a great career path and are about to embark on a journey that will change your life. Whether you intend to stay a CNA for the length of your career or climb the nursing ladder, by means of LPN or RN, what you learn as Certified Nursing Assistant will serve as the foundation of your career. What you learn in CNA training will stay with you throughout your career. It is important to understand that CNA training involves a lot of information, mostly new to you, and is taught at a fast pace. Since this is most likely your first look into the medical field there will be times you will feel overwhelmed with all new information to learn, memorize and practice. Keep up on your studies, be a responsible student and your should preform well.

CNA Training Programs

Each state will have different requirements for Certified Nursing Assistant training so it important that you refer to the agency in your state that governs CNA requirements. For a list by state see www.cna-test-coach.com.

Most CNA training programs will be 75 hours long over a 6 week period - there are accelerated programs available. Training can be done in a classroom, online, or as a hybrid of both.

The core duties of a CNA are the same no matter what environment they work. These include: checking and reporting vital signs, helping with patients activities of daily living, patient advocacy and emotional support. CNA training will focus around these core areas of duties. Expect to learn: How to walk with a patient, how to properly feed a patient, patient grooming and bathing needs, toilet responsibilities, basic physical therapy, patient advocacy and theory, how to deal with an emotional patient, how to deal with family members and close friends. As the CNA you will be around the patient far more than the doctors or even the nurses. It is your responsibility to hone your intellect and observation skills to watch for changes in patient behavior and wellness, such changes can signal a medical need to an emotional need that needs attention.

There are many CNA training programs to choose from each varying in benefit, cost and convenience.

In-Class CNA Instruction

CNA training that takes place in a classroom environment with an instructor is beneficial because of the hands-on, real life experience it offers. It is highly recommended that if you are just starting out in the medical field and have no prior experience handling patients in health-related situations that you take your CNA training at an in-class environment.

Cost: Moderate to High $300-$800
Employable: High
Flexability: Low

CNA Training Online

There are many sites currently that are offering CNA training online. Each site goes about training in a different way but generally you will receive a training packet, access to training videos, and live time with an instructor for any questions. This option is great if you need a refresher course but it really isn’t recommended for those just starting out as a CNA. These courses may prepare you to pass the CNA test but when it comes to actually taking care of patients this type of training falls short. Plus, its not the first choice of employer.

Cost: Low $150-$300
Employable: Low
Flexibility: High

Free CNA Training

If you can get on the job training for no cost to you that would be the best option yet! These opportunities do exist, however, it does take some digging. Start with calling your local red cross - they may have free CNA training set up in your area as part of their program or they may know which facilities offer free CNA training. If you don’t have any luck with your red cross office then an online search of hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice centers in your area will be your next step. Ask them if they offer classes, or have a train to be hired program. If they do, great! But know that many of these programs will start you out at a lower hourly rate, weight this fact against how much money your are saving on the training. However, if it ensures you getting hired right out of training or passing your state CNA test then it may just be worth it!

Cost: NONE!
Employable: Very high
Flexability: Low


Please consider all of your options when deciding on which CNA training is right for you. Do your homework, assess your situation and make the decision that is best for you!

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Study Guide and Practice Tests

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Glossary Section + Medical Abbreviations
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