How to Become a CNA

Becoming a CNA, or certified nursing assistant, is a great career choice for those who are looking for a satisfying and steady job. With a record number of baby boomers retiring, as well as health reform laws taking place through the decade, careers in health care continue to be solid choices for those who are looking for a new or first job. It’s also helpful that the steps to get there are straightforward and doable for almost anyone.


The most common way for someone to get a CNA education is to take classes at a local college, vocational school, or through a program at a local medical institution – even the Red Class offers classes. Formal programs like these take anywhere from 1-3 months to complete and take place across classrooms and clinics. Classroom instruction involves textbook testing, theory, and lectures, while clinical observation and study involve observing others performing nursing jobs and getting some supervised, hands on instruction.

Subjects covered during classes include things like infection control, medical terminology, patient care, and documentation.


A lot of training for CNAs takes place through the degree program, as well as hands on training through work., CNAs – who find work in nursing homes, assisted living agencies, and hospitals – work under the direction of registered nurses. This side by side training and instruction is invaluable.


To work as a CNA, a graduate has to take a test with the state before being hired anywhere. Just like with a CNA education, there is a written portion and a clinical portion of the exam. These combined elements demonstrate a graduate’s ability to perform any learned CNA skills and earn a job in the nursing field.

After going through the education, training, and certification, CNAs are able to work with other nursing support staff, caring for patients. Their work involves helping patients use the toilet and get dressed, measuring their vital signs, helping transport patients, dispensing medicine, and delivering and serving patients their meals. CNAs can make about $25,000 a year assisting nurses and serving patients.

As the medical field continues to change, the need for help will continue to grow. CNAs will continue to be valuable members of nursing teams, helping to share the responsibilities and work. Additionally, people who choose to become CNAs find that they are happy to find steady employment, but are also personally rewarded through their work.