How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant [Step-by-Step Guide]

Rohan Mathew

Nursing has never been a more important profession than it is now. With the global pandemic still raging around the world, nursing and other medical fields are vital.

Nursing, beyond its importance, is also a skilled and rewarding job. But it’s not the easiest job in the world, and it can be daunting sometimes. Becoming a nurse’s assistant is a great opportunity, both to advance your skillset and your career.

It may seem difficult to know how to become a certified nursing assistant. But it doesn’t have to be. Let’s take a look at some ways to get a nursing assistant’s certification.

What Qualifications Do You Need?

In order to obtain a nurse’s assistant certification, all you need is a high school diploma or equivalent G.E.D.. Then you need to complete the certification course. The courses vary depending on where you’re learning. But on average, a certification course lasts between 6 and 12 weeks.

Aside from that, no specific qualifications are required to earn a nurse’s assistant certification. You don’t need a college degree, only a high school diploma/G.E.D., and your certification. This makes nursing assistant a great entry job into the field or a great alternative to college.

And if you do decide to go back to school and get a degree, your nursing license will look great on your resume, both for work and for school.

What Does the Certification Do?

During your certification course, you will learn the basics of work as a nurse’s assistant. You’ll learn basic nursing skills, such as monitoring vitals. You will also learn basic anatomy and physiology. A large portion of your job will involve these basic skills.

You’ll also learn the basics of nutrition and infection control. These skills can be more difficult, but they are vital to the job. These skills will help you spot problems that may be hiding under the surface. Issues with diet, weight loss, skin coloration, and other things can be signs of issues with nourishment, or even infection.

In most states, once you have taken your course, you will most likely have to pass a state competency exam. This is kind of like getting your driver’s license; first, you go to driver’s ed, then you get your license. The same principle applies here.

In most states, you will have to go through 48 hours of training every two years to maintain your licensure. Similar to the way you are required to retake a CPR course to maintain that certification, this is designed to keep you up to date on any new information or advancements relative to the career field.

Becoming a Nurse’s Assistant

Becoming a nurse’s assistant isn’t as intimidating as it may initially appear to be. You can find a nurse aide course to get your certification are readily available through colleges, trade schools, and medical facilities.

After you take your state competency exam, you are qualified to start applying for jobs as a nursing assistant. The job market is rough right now, but nursing is one of the few fields that is still in good shape right now.

Nursing, and nursing assistants in particular, have been seeing a good amount of job growth over the past few years. Employment has been increasing in the field, with an average of 7% job growth in recent years.

Once you’ve become a nurse’s assistant, the job has good prospects for a career. From there, it is easy to advance into a full nursing position. Or you can use your experience as a nurse’s assistant as a springboard into a more advanced career in medicine.

What Does a Nurse’s Assistant Do?

Nursing assistants perform the more menial tasks of patient care while the nurse and/or doctor are busy. Among your tasks, you will be required to help feed, dress, and bathe patients who are unable to do so themselves.

It is often your job to check vitals, clean bedding, and provide for patient needs. It is usually the nurse’s assistant who answers a patient’s call button, for example. Your roles can vary further based on your shift. Day shift and night shift positions will often have completely different roles.

As a nurse’s assistant, you will have a vital role in helping the nurses and doctors do their jobs. You will be responsible for checking vitals, maintaining charts, admitting patients, and providing updates to the nurses and doctors.

A nurse’s assistant can find work in a hospital or a nursing home. Here, too, the tasks can vary. Though they are often the same, or at least similar, nurse’s assistants in nursing homes often take on a more specialized role. Hospital work tends to be more generalized for all patients.

In a nursing home, it is likely that you will be assigned to a specific wing, and need to perform specific tasks tailored to the needs of the patients in that wing. Your work will also tend to lean further towards housekeeping. Things like providing food and helping with daily routines such as walking, dressing, and bathing are more common in nursing homes than in hospitals.

Nurse’s assistants are an entry level job in the medical industry, and as such the pay is lower than that of many other jobs in the industry. The average pay for nurse’s assistants tends to hover at around $30,000 a year.

However, nurse’s assistants are not typically salaried. Rather, they are paid by the hour. Because of this, precise yearly wages can vary from job to job and person to person.

Become a Certified Nursing Assistant

The decision to become a certified nursing assistant can be a great one. As an entry level job, it is a great alternative to college or trade school. It’s also a great foot in the door for further work in the industry.

So consider becoming a nurse’s assistant today. And if you have any more questions about careers or anything else, be sure to check out the rest of our website for more great articles.