This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in Florida. We will walk through the various steps involved, from understanding what a CNA is to pursuing additional education and training opportunities to grow in this fulfilling career.
What is a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a healthcare professional who provides direct care to patients under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). CNAs often work in nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare settings, assisting patients with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, and moving around.
Requirements for Becoming a CNA in Florida
Determine the Minimum Age and Education Requirements
To become a CNA in Florida, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. There are no specific prerequisites for the CNA training program, but having a background in health, biology, or related subjects can be helpful.
Check if There Are Any Criminal Background Restrictions
Florida requires all CNA candidates to undergo a Level 2 criminal background check, which includes fingerprinting. Individuals with certain criminal convictions may be ineligible for CNA certification in Florida.
Complete a Training Program Before Applying
Before you can apply for the Florida CNA certification exam, you must complete a state-approved CNA training program.
Complete a State-Approved CNA Training Program
Find an Approved Training Program in Florida
To find a state-approved CNA training program in Florida, visit the Florida Board of Nursing’s website and search for approved training providers.
Enroll in the Program and Complete the Required Coursework and Clinical Hours
Once you have chosen an approved training program, enroll and complete the required coursework and clinical hours. CNA training programs in Florida typically require a minimum of 120 hours of training, including both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience.
Obtain a Certificate of Completion from the Training Program
Upon completing the CNA training program, you will receive a certificate of completion. This is a crucial document that you will need when applying for the Florida CNA certification exam.
Pass the Florida CNA Certification Exam
Apply to Take the Florida CNA Certification Exam
To apply for the Florida CNA certification exam, visit the Prometric website, which administers the exam on behalf of the Florida Board of Nursing. Complete the application form and submit the required documentation, including proof of your training program completion.
Prepare for the Exam by Studying and Practicing CNA Skills
The Florida CNA certification exam consists of both a written portion and a skills evaluation. To prepare, study the materials provided by your training program and practice your CNA skills, focusing on the specific tasks you may be asked to perform during the exam.
Take and Pass the Written and Skills Portions of the Exam
Once you are prepared, take and pass both the written and skills portions of the Florida CNA certification exam. You must pass both parts to become a certified CNA in Florida.
Apply for CNA Certification in Florida
Submit Your Application and Certification Exam Results to the Florida Nurse Aide Registry
After passing the Florida CNA certification exam, submit your application for certification and exam results to the Florida Nurse Aide Registry.
Pay Any Necessary Fees for Certification
There may be fees associated with applying for your Florida CNA certification. Be prepared to pay these fees when submitting your application.
Wait for Your Certification to Be Processed and Issued
Once your application and fees have been received, the Florida Nurse Aide Registry will process your application and issue your CNA certification.
Maintain Your CNA Certification in Florida
Renew Your Florida Certification Every Two Years
Florida CNA certifications must be renewed every two years. To be eligible for renewal, you must have worked as a paid CNA for at least 24 hours in the two years prior to your certification expiration date.
Complete Any Necessary Continuing Education Requirements
In addition to maintaining work experience, Florida CNAs must complete 24 hours of in-service training each biennium to maintain their certification.
Notify the Florida Nurse Aide Registry of Any Changes to Your Personal or Contact Information
Remember to notify the Florida Nurse Aide Registry of any changes to your personal or contact information to ensure your records are up-to-date.
Pursue Additional Education and Training Opportunities
Consider Advancing Your Career by Pursuing Additional Healthcare Certifications or Degrees
As a CNA, you may want to consider advancing your career by pursuing additional healthcare certifications or degrees, such as becoming an LPN or RN. This can lead to increased responsibility, higher pay, and more job opportunities.
Look for Job Opportunities in Different Healthcare Settings or Specialties
Consider seeking job opportunities in various healthcare settings or specialties as a CNA, such as home health care, hospices, or rehabilitation facilities. This can help you gain valuable experience and broaden your skillset.
Continuously Learn and Grow as a Healthcare Professional
Lastly, always strive to learn and grow as a healthcare professional by staying up-to-date on industry trends, attending workshops and conferences, and networking with other professionals in the field. This will ensure that you remain a valuable and sought-after CNA in Florida.