Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a rewarding and fulfilling career choice for those who are compassionate and dedicated to helping others. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to become a CNA in Georgia, discussing the requirements, training, certification process, and more.
What is a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant, or 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 assist patients with daily living activities like bathing, dressing, and feeding, as well as monitoring vital signs and reporting any changes in a patient’s condition to their supervisors.
Requirements for Becoming a CNA in Georgia
Determine the Minimum Age and Education Requirements
To become a CNA in Georgia, you must be at least 16 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.
Check if There are any Criminal Background Restrictions
Before enrolling in a CNA training program, you must pass a criminal background check. Certain criminal convictions may disqualify you from becoming a CNA in Georgia.
Complete a Training Program before Applying
Before applying for CNA certification, you must complete a state-approved training program. These programs are designed to provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the duties of a CNA.
Complete a State-Approved CNA Training Program
Find an Approved Training Program in Georgia
To find a state-approved CNA training program in Georgia, you can search the Georgia Department of Community Health’s website or contact local community colleges, nursing homes, or vocational schools.
Enroll in the Program and Complete the Required Coursework and Clinical Hours
Once you’ve found an approved CNA training program, enroll and complete the required coursework, which usually takes 4 to 12 weeks. Georgia requires 85 hours of training, including 24 hours of clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed RN or LPN.
Obtain a Certificate of Completion from the Training Program
After completing the required coursework and clinical hours, you’ll receive a certificate of completion from your training program. This certificate is necessary when applying to take the CNA certification exam.
Pass the Georgia CNA Certification Exam
Apply to Take the Georgia CNA Certification Exam
Once you have completed your training program, apply to take the Georgia CNA certification exam through the Georgia Medical Care Foundation (GMCF).
Prepare for the Exam by Studying and Practicing CNA Skills
To pass the CNA certification exam, you’ll need to study and practice the skills you’ve learned during your training. The exam consists of a written portion and a practical skills evaluation.
Take and Pass the Written and Skills Portions of the Exam
After preparing for the exam, take and pass both the written and skills portions. If you fail either part of the exam, you can retake it up to three times within a year.
Apply for CNA Certification in Georgia
Submit Your Application and Certification Exam Results to the Georgia Nurse Aide Registry
Once you’ve passed the CNA certification exam, submit your application and exam results to the Georgia Nurse Aide Registry.
Pay Any Necessary Fees for Certification
There is a fee to apply for CNA certification in Georgia, which varies depending on the testing site. Be prepared to pay this fee when submitting your application.
Wait for Your Certification to be Processed and Issued
After submitting your application and paying the necessary fees, wait for your certification to be processed and issued. This process can take several weeks.
Maintain Your CNA Certification in Georgia
Renew Your Georgia Certification Every Two Years
To maintain your CNA certification in Georgia, you must renew it every two years. This requires submitting a renewal application and providing proof of employment as a CNA during the previous two years.
Complete Any Necessary Continuing Education Requirements
Georgia requires CNAs to complete 12 hours of continuing education every year to maintain their certification.
Notify the Georgia Nurse Aide Registry of Any Changes to Your Personal or Contact Information
If your personal or contact information changes, notify the Georgia Nurse Aide Registry to ensure your certification remains valid and 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 pursuing additional healthcare certifications or degrees to advance your career. Options include becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN).
Look for Job Opportunities in Different Healthcare Settings or Specialties
CNAs can work in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and home health agencies. Explore different settings and specialties to find the best fit for your career goals.
Continuously Learn and Grow as a Healthcare Professional
The healthcare field is constantly evolving, so it’s essential to stay informed about new developments, techniques, and best practices. Continuously learning and growing as a healthcare professional will help you provide the best care possible to your patients and advance your career.