Understanding CNA Certification 

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Starting a career in healthcare can seem overwhelming. With so many options for specialties, training programs, work environment and more, it’s important to understand the basics so you can invest your time and money wisely. Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant provides a first step into the healthcare industry, with certification being possible within weeks.  

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant? 

A Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, is an entry-level role in healthcare. This professional provides basic care to patients while being supervised by a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). Usually, CNAs are hired over nurse aides, and earn a higher salary, because CNAs have gone through a training program and have passed a certification exam. 

What are the duties of a CNA? 

CNAs focus primarily on activities of daily life (ADLs) such as helping patients with dressing, eating, toileting, bathing, grooming, and mobility. CNAs may also assist with instrumental activities of daily life (IADLs) including cooking & meal preparation, transportation, medication reminders, and managing finances.  

What is required for certification? 

While requirements to become a Certified Nursing Assistant vary by state, all states require that CNA candidates successfully complete a training program and pass an exam, which includes a written part and a clinical skills part.   

Connecticut requires that candidates complete a state-approved CNA training program that includes at least 100 hours of classroom & clinical instruction. Students must have a GED or a high school diploma. 

Renewal of the certification is required every two years in Connecticut. CNAs must work at least one 8-hour shift as a nurse aide. This shift must be paid, and must be worked before the certificate expires. There is no fee for renewal. 

How do I choose a training program? 

Not all CNA training programs are the same! Before investing, make sure you do your homework. All state-approved CNA training programs in Connecticut include classroom and clinical instruction and are at least 100 hours in length. CompassCare Institute of Caregiving (CCIC) goes beyond state requirements to set graduates up for success.  CCIC includes CompassCare Works, a proprietary training program focused on care, hospitality, and service, to ensure that graduates are fully prepared to provide top care. In addition, CCIC has developed a hybrid classroom to provide students with the flexibility of attending class remotely or of watching recorded sessions if a class is missed. CCIC provides individualized attention for students to support graduates in passing the state CNA exam. 

Where can I find a job after becoming certified? 

Assisted living facilities, Skilled Nursing Facilities, Hospitals, Home Healthcare & Home Care Agencies, Physicians’ offices, clinics, extended care facilities, surgical centers, and community agencies and are just some of the organizations in which Certified Nursing Assistants are in high demand. CompassCare Institute of Caregiving’s parent company, Compass Care, offers all graduates of CCIC the opportunity to interview for a role as a caregiver upon successful certification.  

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