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Education

A high school diploma or a GED is a prerequisite for a hospital CNA, as is completion of a CNA certification program. Most community colleges and many hospitals and healthcare facilities offer such programs—typically a twelve-week course that includes both theory and practice. The course covers training in basic nursing skills and safety, and the basic concepts of hygiene, nutrition, infection control and life support. The certification course also reviews some human anatomy and physiology. Through the program, students will gain at least 100 hours of supervised training and at least 50 hours of classroom training, although some states only require 75 total hours. Once students complete the certification program, they take the CNA certification exam.

Training

Most CNAs receive training on the job, even with the certification program.

Licensing and/or Certification

CNA certification applicants must be at least sixteen years old and have completed a CNA certification program (see above) within the last two years. In addition, some states require a criminal background check (conducted by the Department of Education).

CNA certification applicants take the CNA certification exam, which is administered under the auspices of the American Red Cross, over the course of one day. The exam consists of two parts. The first, the theoretical portion, is written and has seventy multiple-choice questions. The second part of the test, the practical portion called “Skill Evaluation,” requires applicants to perform five skills randomly chosen by the testers on a volunteer acting as a patient. Once hospital CNAs pass the written test and perform each of the five skills correctly, they receive the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) certification and are listed in the Nurse Aide Registry

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