How Do I Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

There is a growing demand for CNAs or Certified Nursing Assistant in the country. The ageing population in North America has prompted various health care institutions and facilities to offer free CNA training courses to those who are interested in entering the medical field.

Free CNA Training

Working as a certified nursing assistant is truly a rewarding profession. The level of satisfaction from helping the sick and the needy and the monetary benefits are enough motivation for people to enter the nursing field. In addition, becoming a nursing assistant is a stepping stone for brighter career opportunities like becoming a Licensed Nurse Practitioner (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN) in the future.

Certified nursing assistants have lots of room for professional growth and advancement. Statistics reveal that the demand for CNAs across all health care service facilities will steadily rise up to 40% for the next 20 years. For individuals who are currently searching for a stable career with great career opportunities, undergoing a CNA training program will prove to be a worthwhile investment of time and effort.

Before becoming a certified nursing assistant, you need to undergo training and certification. Community colleges and teaching hospitals offer courses for those aspiring individuals who want to gain access into the medical industry. Tuition fee for nursing assistant courses range from $300 to $2000 and largely depends on the institution providing the courses. In addition, there are other miscellaneous expenses that need to be covered such as uniforms, books, and training fees. Overall, studying to become a nursing assistant can be a costly endeavor as well.  However this is the case, the cost-benefit ratio is very attractive as nursing assistants get paid $10 to $16 per hour once they enter the workforce. The investment is indeed worthwhile as the career opportunities for certified nursing assistants look very promising in the next couple of decades.

There are free CNA training courses for those who are seriously looking into entering the nursing profession. Although it is quite true that nothing in this world is for free, here are a couple of training programs that enable students to undergo CNA training for less. The American Red Cross is one of the best providers in the country of Nurse Assistant Training (NAT). There are instances when free education and training can be obtained through government agencies as well. In addition, there are websites that also offer free training to interested individuals who do not have the luxury of time and insufficient funding to complete a nursing assistant course.

Here are a couple of options where you can find free CNA training courses or low cost training to become a certified nursing assistant:

  • Hospitals, nursing care facilities, and rehabilitation centers are always on the lookout for new nursing aids and health care assistants. They organize training programs for interested individuals who want to work as nursing assistants in the future. The training program usually takes 3 months to one year to complete. Students are then required to take the nurse assistant being given by a state’s board of nursing.  Examinees who successfully pass the cna exam are then deemed to work for the health care facility where they trained for a stipulated period of time. A health care facility may or may not provide salary and compensation to its graduates within this period. CNAs are then given extensive experience during an intern-ship. This is also a great benefit since they can utilize this training experience as a plus when applying in other health care institutions.
  • It is also highly recommended to inquire about the educational funding programs in your state. Budget is allocated by the federal government and the states for education. You can apply to various government agencies as they have the sufficient funding to cover for education and training for qualified individuals. Make sure to comply with the requirements and submit all the necessary documentations so they can screen if you are eligible for government funding.

The basic requirements for most government agencies and non-profit organizations are the following:

  • Applicant must be 18 years old or older
  • Clean and flawless criminal record
  • High school diploma
  • Fluency in writing and speaking the English language
  • Applicant must be able to pass drug test

Once these basic requirements are met, applicants will then have to complete 150 hours of nursing assistant coursework that includes classroom lectures and clinical setting practice. Community colleges are the usual settings for students who were granted funds and scholarship for CNA training. Students obtain further education by training in affiliated hospitals and nursing care facilities.

The mandatory lessons that is given to nursing assistant trainees are as follows:
    • Assisting patients in the performance of activities of daily living
    • Charting patient vital signs
    • Measuring of patient intake and output
    • Ensure patient comfort and well being
    • Assist the nurse in taking care of the patient
    • Basic CPR and resuscitation skills

Once the technical and practical requirements are completed by students within the 150-hour training period, they usually take up the certification exam afterwards.

    • The Red Cross also holds free training programs for nursing assistants. The organization is very popular making it a desirable training ground for nursing students as they provide extensive coursework. Students are also taught advanced lessons when it comes to the delivery of care to patients. There are also prerequisites that applicants need to submit before being accepted as a nurse assistant trainee for the Red Cross. Once these requirements are met, they then undergo 140 hours of training from competent and highly-skilled Red Cross instructors.
  • Unemployment agencies extend their helping hand to those who are currently unemployed. Those who were recently laid off from work or let go from their jobs can apply to these agencies to undergo training as well. Not only do applicants obtain free training, they are also referred to health care facilities after certification too. The Displaced Homemakers program is a perfect example of an initiative by unemployment agencies in some states as it gives career opportunities to women and even men who are displaced in society due to a complete absence of high-paying jobs. Free training is offered to these individuals. They are often given allowance aside from the free education that is provided through CNA training.

There is no shortage in low-cost or free training for nursing assistants. You just have to look through various sources in order to find a free program that will help you realize your goal to become a highly-skilled certified nursing assistant in the future. If you are looking to find more information about CNA classes near you, try putting in your zip code on our free cna classes page.