How to Become A Nursing Assistant

By Jennifer Hench; Updated July 05, 2017
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Career choices within the medical field run the gamut from being a surgeon or doctor to being a medical secretary. If you have the desire to work with and around patients, nursing may be the best choice for you. Being a nursing assistant is one career which will have you working around patients and in the medical profession in a relatively short period of time.

Make sure the position of nursing assistant is what suits your personality, skill set and career goals. Talk to other nursing assistants to get an idea of what the position entails on a daily basis. You can talk to nursing assistants who work at your own doctor's office or contact a hospital or health care center close to you and ask to speak to a nursing assistant. Take notes in a journal so you can later review the information.

Take classes offered in the nursing assistant program while still in high school or vocational school. Though not all undergraduate schools offer such programs, ask the guidance counselor at your school what classes are available for prospective nursing assistants. Ask the counselor if the school offers any shadowing programs to allow you to watch a nursing assistant for a day. Know that nursing assistants help patients with tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating and making sure patients are comfortable.

Decide which of the two certification paths you will use to obtain your designation as a certified nursing assistant; either in-house employee training or attending school independently. The first option is to get a job in a nursing home, hospital or other medical facility as a general aid. You would then enroll through the CNA program offered by and administered directly through the registered facility. You can view a list of accredited medical facilities offering this type of career training, offered in-house to employees, by viewing the list made available through the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants.

Find an accredited college, university or training center offering classes and coursework in CNA programs. Apply to the school directly to gain acceptance. Take all classes outlined in the course overview and talk directly to guidance counselors to get a plan on how to best pursue a career as a nursing assistant. Know that the American Red Cross also offers CNA training programs to help you get the training you need to enter the field of being a nursing assistant.

Obtain state licensing if you will be working in a nursing home or facility. Licensing is not required for other medical facilities, however, you must be a state licensed CNA to work at a nursing home which is why many offer in-house certification program. View the list of state agencies made available through the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants.

Get all immunizations and medical exams required to work as a nursing assistant. Know that you will need to be current on all immunizations prior to being allowed to work around and with patients.

Tip

Consider pursuing a higher degree in nursing after gaining experience as a nursing assistant.

Warning

Do not lie or misrepresent any information in order to get hired.

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