The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 21 percent rise in demand for certified nurse aides during the years 2012 and 2022. As a high school student, you can benefit from growing demands for CNAs and start a rewarding career right out of high school. Taking such a bold step is possible, but it is challenging and requires commitment. The following information provides some insight that you can use to make a few adjustments to achieve your goal.
Consult With Your School Counselor
One of the best places to start is with your high school counselor. He may be able to provide resources such as programs for juniors and seniors to begin career training and earn certification. Your counselor will also be in a position to recommend courses of study and show you the best route to success.
Learn Your State’s CNA Requirements
CNA requirements vary by state. For instance, some states allow minors (16 year olds) to train, test, and work with parental consent. For other states, you must be at least 18 years to obtain certification. The contact hours for classroom and clinical training also varies by state; some programs may be a short as 75 hours, while others require 210 hours of training. Your research should cover requirements for the clinical experience, nurse aide testing and eventual certification.
Also see: CNA Requirements by State
Enroll in a CNA Training Program
Find a nurse aide class in your area. State-accredited classes are available at community colleges, nursing homes, hospitals, private institutions or even at your local high school. Verify that the program is approved by your state’s department of health as only graduates from those programs are eligible to take the nurse aide evaluation to obtain certification. Note: Some program facilitators may request a permission form signed by your parent and school counselor as a prerequisite for enrollment.
The course schedule should not collide with your school schedule as you’ll need 95-100% percent attendance to classroom and clinical training in order to graduate. Areas of study include human anatomy, medical terminology, legal issues, nutrition, vital signs, infection control, safety and emergencies, communication skills and residents’ rights. The clinical rotation provides hands-on experience where you’ll work directly with residents at an approved facility under the direction of a Registered Nurse.
Related: CNA Classes by State
Take the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation
Upon successful completion of the training program, you are now eligible to challenge the state nurse aide evaluation. The test evaluates both your theoretical knowledge and your skills in order to determine your work readiness. You’ll need to schedule time to study your notes and practice your skills in preparation for the exam. Once you pass both components of the exam and the accompanying background and drug tests, you’ll obtain certification to work as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
Your Career as a Certified Nurse Assistant
If you’re under 18, your state’s laws may have restrictions on the number of hours you can work. Some hospitals and nursing homes may also have policies as it relates to hiring minors. Therefore, it’s essential that you consult with long term care facilities, hospitals, home health agencies and your state’s board of nursing before you pursue CNA certification; it is one way to increase your chances of employment. Another way to catch employers’ attention is to offer to volunteer at local hospitals and nursing homes.
You can become a CNA while attending high school with a little preparation and a lot of commitment. As a Certified Nurse Aide, you’ll gain valuable experience that will prepare you for a career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN).
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