How to Become a CNA in Ohio
As the focus on healthcare increases and the standard of care in long term facilities are elevated certified nursing assistants (CNA) will be in greater demand. CNA candidates are required to complete a CNA training program mandated by the state that provides the necessary level of training to ensure CNAs have the proper knowledge and skill sets to perform the tasks that meet a certain level of quality care.
CNA training and licensing are governed by the Ohio Department of Health. CNAs must complete an approved training program and pass the state mandated exam to test competency and become licensed before being employed as a CNA.
The prerequisite to enroll in a CNA training program is to be at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants must also undergo a complete physical and a criminal background and fingerprint check.
An approved CNA program must include at least 75 hours of combined class work and clinical training. Programs can be found at healthcare facilities that provide training in exchange for employment, two and four year colleges and universities and vocational training centers. Class work undertaken includes understanding patient’s rights, dealing with emergencies, communication with supervisors and other healthcare staff and patients, basic nursing care and identifying abuse or neglect.
Clinical care tasks undertaken are patient hygiene and sanitation, bathing, feeding, transfer from bed to chair and back again, dressing, preparation for diagnostic testing and providing comfort.
Once the CNA program is successfully completed, the candidate must take the state mandated CNA licensing exam. Applicants for the exam must register with D&S Diversified Technologies, the exam administrators, and receive a date to test. The exam includes two parts. The written portion of the exam includes the completion of at least70 multiple choice questions and the second part of the exam is to complete five clinical tasks chosen at random by the exam evaluator. Both parts of the exam must be completed successfully to become licensed.
All licensed CNAs are added to the Ohio Nurse’s Aide Registry. Potential employers have the ability to check the status of licensing by checking out the registry. CNAs are also granted 120 days from the date of application to test to pass the test. Applicants who do not pass the exam within that 120 day time frame must terminate employment. CNAs have three chances to pass the exam and become licensed. CNAs are required to renew their license every twenty four months. CNAs cannot perform the work of a CNA without being properly licensed. A requirement of renewal is to be actively employed for at least seven and a half hours in a 48 hour period. CNAs will be notified three months prior to the expiration of the license that it is time to renew.
Job growth for CNAs is increasing at the rate of about 14% per year and will continue to grow for the next 10 to 12 years. There is a higher than normal turnover among CNAs as the CNA positions are used as a stepping stone to nursing and other medical and health staff careers. Employment opportunities can be found in nursing homes and hospitals, adult day care centers, private duty and home care and assisted care centers.
The average CNA salary is $28,000 annually. Larger facilities and those located in metropolitan areas may offer above the average salary. Slight salary adjustments are sometimes offered to those who work the night shift and holiday shifts are sometimes paid at time and a half. Other benefits included in the salary package may be health insurance, life insurance, retirement contribution, long term health care and tuition reimbursement.
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