Nurse's Aide Certificate and Certification Programs
A nurse's aide, often called a nursing assistant, provides basic daily care for patients in hospitals, nursing homes or long-term facilities. Although a high school diploma may be sufficient for a job in this field, a certificate program can help prospective nurse aides gain real-world experience and prepare for state certification. Nurse aides may be required to earn certification before finding employment in some professional settings, such as nursing care facilities.
Nurse Aide Certificate
These programs are typically designed to teach students the skills needed to assist with a variety of basic healthcare procedures under the direction of a nursing staff, including patient care, vital-sign measurement and medication administration. Upon completion of the program requirements, students can be prepared to take their state certification examination, which typically consists of both a skills and written test.
Depending on the state or school, a high school diploma or equivalent may be required for admission into the program. Candidates may also be required to submit to criminal background checks, physical examinations and drug screenings.
The curriculum for this program consists of lectures, lab work and supervised clinical rotations. Students develop basic nursing skills, while learning about both the medical and legal aspects of being a nurse aide. Topics of study can include:
- Patient rights
- Infection control
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse aides were expected to see an employment growth of 19% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also stated that nurse aides, along with attendants and orderlies, earned a median annual salary of $24,010 in 2010.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
After completing the certificate program, nurse aides must pass the certification examination before they can work as certified nurse assistants (CNA). The BLS reports that the federal government requires that training programs for these professionals be at least 75 hours. When nurse aides pass the examination, their names are added to the state registry of nurse aides, and they're permitted to work in nursing care facilities.
Certified nurse aides may also advance their education and become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs). Candidates can become LPNs by completing diploma or certificate programs, while becoming an RN requires at least a diploma in nursing. Both must meet their state's licensure requirements before they can practice. Bachelor's degree programs in nursing are also available, which can also prepare students to become RNS, or can prepare them for graduate studies in nursing.
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