This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in Arkansas. We will go through the entire process step by step, from understanding what a CNA is, to meeting the requirements, completing a state-approved training program, passing the Arkansas CNA certification exam, applying for CNA certification, maintaining your certification, and pursuing additional education and career opportunities.
What is a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a healthcare professional who provides basic care to patients under the supervision of registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. CNAs assist patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding, and mobility. They also help with transferring patients, taking and recording vital signs, and maintaining a clean and safe environment for patients.
Requirements for Becoming a CNA in Arkansas
Determine the Minimum Age and Education Requirements
To become a CNA in Arkansas, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Some training programs may accept students who are younger or have not yet completed their high school education, but these individuals may face additional requirements for certification.
Check if There Are Any Criminal Background Restrictions
Most CNA training programs and the Arkansas Nurse Aide Registry require a criminal background check to ensure the safety of patients and fellow healthcare workers. Individuals with certain criminal convictions may be ineligible for CNA certification in Arkansas.
Complete a Training Program Before Applying
Before you can apply for CNA certification, you must complete a state-approved training program that meets the necessary educational and clinical requirements.
Complete a State-Approved CNA Training Program
Find an Approved Training Program in Arkansas
To become a CNA in Arkansas, you must complete a training program that has been approved by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS). These programs can be found at community colleges, vocational schools, high schools, nursing homes, and hospitals throughout the state.
Enroll in the Program and Complete the Required Coursework and Clinical Hours
Once you have chosen an approved training program, you will need to enroll and complete the required coursework and clinical hours. Arkansas requires a minimum of 90 hours of training, which includes both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience.
Obtain a Certificate of Completion from the Training Program
Upon successful completion of your CNA training program, you will receive a certificate of completion. This certificate is required when applying for the Arkansas CNA certification exam and for CNA certification in Arkansas.
Pass the Arkansas CNA Certification Exam
Apply to Take the Arkansas CNA Certification Exam
After completing your training program, you must apply to take the Arkansas CNA certification exam. The exam is administered by Prometric and consists of two parts: a written test and a skills evaluation.
Prepare for the Exam by Studying and Practicing CNA Skills
To prepare for the certification exam, you should review the material covered in your training program and practice the CNA skills you learned during your clinical hours. There are also study guides, sample tests, and online resources available to help you prepare for the exam.
Take and Pass the Written and Skills Portions of the Exam
The Arkansas CNA certification exam includes a written test and a skills evaluation. You must pass both parts to become certified. The written test consists of multiple-choice questions, while the skills evaluation requires you to demonstrate various CNA tasks in a simulated patient-care setting.
Apply for CNA Certification in Arkansas
Submit Your Application and Certification Exam Results to the Arkansas Nurse Aide Registry
After passing the Arkansas CNA certification exam, you must submit your application and exam results to the Arkansas Nurse Aide Registry. The Registry is maintained by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) and keeps a record of all certified nursing assistants in the state.
Pay Any Necessary Fees for Certification
There may be fees associated with obtaining your CNA certification in Arkansas. These fees can include costs for your training program, exam, and certification application.
Wait for Your Certification to Be Processed and Issued
After submitting your application and paying any necessary fees, you will need to wait for your certification to be processed and issued. This can take several weeks, so be patient and ensure that all required documentation has been submitted.
Maintain Your CNA Certification in Arkansas
Renew Your Arkansas Certification Every Two Years
CNA certification in Arkansas must be renewed every two years. To maintain your certification, you must complete the required continuing education and work a certain number of hours as a CNA during your certification period.
Complete Any Necessary Continuing Education Requirements
Arkansas requires CNAs to complete 12 hours of continuing education each year to maintain their certification. This can include attending workshops, conferences, or taking courses related to nursing and patient care.
Notify the Arkansas Nurse Aide Registry of Any Changes to Your Personal or Contact Information
It is important to keep your personal and contact information up to date with the Arkansas Nurse Aide Registry. If you move or change your phone number or email address, be sure to notify the Registry to ensure that you receive important information and updates regarding your CNA certification.
Pursue Additional Education and Training Opportunities
Consider Advancing Your Career by Pursuing Additional Healthcare Certifications or Degrees
As a CNA, you may be interested in advancing your career by pursuing additional healthcare certifications or degrees. This can include becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), or obtaining a degree in a specialized area of healthcare, such as radiology or respiratory therapy.
Look for Job Opportunities in Different Healthcare Settings or Specialties
CNAs can work in a variety of healthcare settings and specialties, including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health agencies, and hospice care. By gaining experience in different settings and specialties, you can broaden your skills and increase your employability as a healthcare professional.
Continuously Learn and Grow as a Healthcare Professional
The field of healthcare is constantly evolving, and as a CNA, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest advancements, techniques, and best practices. By committing to ongoing education and professional development, you can ensure that you are providing the highest level of care to your patients and contributing to the overall success of your healthcare team.