What are the best professional certifications?
Becoming a certified nursing assistant does not require a college degree, but you must complete a state approved CNA certification program and pass a CNA certification exam. Your CNA certificate number will be very important when applying for a job or relocating to another state. Many professional secondary organizations, such as professional nursing support groups, require a CNA certification number as well.
With additional training, those already holding CNA certifications can become certified nursing assistants-advanced (CNA-A), patient care technicians, technical nurse assistants and more. You can also specialize and become a geriatric technician, for example. Expanding your skills makes your resume more attractive to potential employers and entitles you to a higher salary. You may also choose to continue your education for an advanced career in healthcare by going on to become a registered nurse.
Most states require CNAs to hold a current CPR certification, often before beginning CNA training. Depending on the state in which you reside, CNAs may also obtain a Home Health Aide (HHA) certification. Some states allow only 1 certification or the other, so be sure to check your state’s requirements if you decide on certification as a home health aide.
What organizations offer certification?
Nearly every technical or vocational school offers CNA certification programs that will prepare you to sit for the state exam. Organizations like the American Red Cross offer CNA programs as well. The Red Cross has provided state approved CNA training for over 20 years, and their reputation for high quality training is an attribute that employers look for.
University of Pittsburgh conducts CNA training through their medical center’s Senior Living long term care facilities. Unlike most certified nursing assistant certification programs, the university pays for the training prior to employment in 1 of their care facilities. Students must also complete a Red Cross program after training and before beginning work.
Tulsa Community College offers an online blended certified nursing assistant program, which consist of a 5-week class comprised of one-third online coursework and one class meeting each week for lecture and lab, plus 1 off-campus clinical practicum each week.
There are programs through which you can earn your CNA certification online without spending time in a traditional classroom. However, only a few of these programs are accredited, and you will be required to schedule the necessary clinical hours on your own.
Can I earn a certification online?
With the increasing popularity of online education, many people are choosing to earn their certified nursing assistant certification online, as it is more flexible and often less expensive. If you choose to pursue an online CNA certificate, make sure that you thoroughly research accredited programs before enrolling in any school. If your online CNA certification program is not accredited, it will be extremely difficult to find employment, join professional organizations or advance your education.
Online programs feature lectures on theory and practical skills as well as textbook work. These courses utilize interactive technology, such as discussion boards, chat rooms and video lectures to teach the basics of patient care. Though you must adhere to the class schedule and deadlines, you can work on your own time and submit tests and assignments online.
One of the major drawbacks of CNA online certification is the lack of interaction with other students and professionals working in the industry. Online CNA certification also requires that you arrange your own clinical hours, which would be arranged by your instructor in a traditional or even a blended program.