Have a HS diploma or a GED
First and foremost, all accredited CNA programs are going to require prospective candidates to have at least a high school diploma or a GED. Without this, you are more than likely not going to get into an accredited program. Even if you end up enrolling in an accredited program, more than likely it is not sanctioned by the State in which you live. If you end up enrolling in an unaccredited program, you more than likely won’t be allowed to take the state licensing exam. Having a HS diploma or GED is by far the one of the most important nursing assistant requirements.
Have a clean background
Before you start looking for accredited CNA programs, another thing you should do is make sure that you have a clean background. Most, if not all hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities that hire CNAs will not hire those who have major felonies or misdemeanors. By law, most healthcare facilities will have strict regulations on allow convicted felons and others from assisting in providing healthcare services to patients in fear of individuals inflicting harm and pain onto people. If you have any issues with your background, consult with a lawyer to see if there is a possibility you can get your background expunged.
Complete Math & Reading Competency Exams
Some accredited CNA programs will require that prospective applicants also complete pre-program math and reading tests. This is done to ensure that candidates meet a certain level of reading comprehension and math competency. Despite that being a CNA is not as difficult as being a nurse, CNAs still have to interact with doctors, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and other on-site medical professionals who expect a high caliber of comprehension and understanding of medical procedures and instructions. However, don’t be scared. These tests tend to be very basic, but you might consider brushing up on your math and reading skills before taking these tests.
Check for financial aid and tuition assistance
The last thing you want to do before enrolled in an accredited CNA program is to not have a solid way of paying for it. While it may not be as expensive as getting a bachelor’s or master’s degree, it’s always good to check with the school to see if any forms of financial assistance, scholarships or financial aid is offered to students. The less debt you have, the better off you will be.
Get CPR certified
Most accredited programs will require that prospective students be CPR certified before the start of the program. CPR certification will go over the basics of CPR for infants, children and adults. You will also learn other basic life saving techniques such as the Heimlich Maneuver. Again, this shouldn’t be something stress about because CPR courses can be done within a day.