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Within your community and neighboring areas there may be a number of programs available to help you become a nursing assistant. Courses are often offered through community colleges, local health care providers, the Red Cross and sometimes even online. Students willing to commit to working at a particular facility may even be able to find free courses in their area at long term care facilities as well. There are few prerequisites to enroll in these types of courses and often students won’t need any previous experience or in some cases a high school diploma.

Programs can take anywhere from a few weeks to complete to a few months. Longer programs do not necessarily mean students will be better prepared, but each individual will have to decide what kind of program best suits their needs. Students will spend the first part of their training on site in a classroom setting where they will learn the basics of how to bathe, feed and medicate a patient as well as gaining some insight into recognizing problems like depression and dementia, learning how to prevent infections, and body mechanics and positioning patients in classes taught by a registered nurse. This textbook learning will form the foundation for the second part of the course, which is usually done through direct clinical experience. Students will work with an experienced nurse to go through the hospital and administer care to patients, getting helpful insight and assistance in improving their techniques. This clinical portion is essential as students will learn skills that will translate directly to working on the job.

To complete a nursing assistant program, students must take an exam to become certified to work as a CNA. The exam is composed of two parts, written and clinical that will test the skills learned during the program to ensure that students are ready for employment. The written part of the test will cover the material learned in the classroom and should be fairly straightforward. The clinical portion involves performing a variety of nursing duties for an observing RN, who will note the competency and cleanliness with which they are done. At the end of the exam, provided you’ve passed, you’ll be certified and ready to start an exciting career as a nursing assistant.

Featured Online Nursing Programs

Rasmussen College
Rasmussen College - A.S. in Medical Administration. For those who are pursuing a career in medical assisting, Rasmussen College's Associate's degree in Medical Administration will provide students with the education needed to help run a healthcare office. Students will be prepared to face the various situations they will encounter in the workforce.
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Kaplan University
Kaplan University - B.S. in Health Science. Students interested in becoming a nursing assistant will be very pleased with the Bachelor's Degree in Health Science that Kaplan University offers. Kaplan is a respected online institution with a history of providing high quality classes at affordable prices.
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Virginia College
Virginia College - The B.S. in Health Services Management. Virginia College Online is the perfect online university for students on the go. With classes online, students can take them when they have the free time to do so and from any location with internet access.

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