How do I get a Nursing Assistant Certificate?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
A nursing assistant checking the blood pressure of a patient.
A nursing assistant checking the blood pressure of a patient.

Nursing assistants provide nursing care while under the supervision of registered and licensed practical nurses. If you want to earn a nursing assistant certificate, you’ll typically need to enroll in and complete a nursing assistant program, which typically includes both classroom work and clinical practice. Upon completion of this program, you may be awarded either a certificate of completion or a diploma. You may then proceed to take your jurisdiction’s certification exam. Many employers require applicants to be certified, and certification may boost your earning potential as well.

CPR might be part of nursing assistant certification.
CPR might be part of nursing assistant certification.

You may start your journey toward earning a nursing assistant certificate by researching nursing assistant programs in your area. You may find that many of these programs last for about six weeks, but some last for as little as two weeks. Upon completing this type of program, you may be granted either a diploma or certificate for completion of the course.

Before enrolling in a nursing assistant program, you’ll likely have to complete high school. This is a basic prerequisite of most nursing assistant programs. In lieu of that, however, you may choose to earn a general educational development (GED) diploma before you move forward with earning a nursing assistant certificate. It is also worth noting that you may find some nursing assistant certificate programs that do not require high school diplomas or GEDs. Instead, they may have minimum age requirements you’ll have to meet.

After researching the nursing assistant certificate programs in your area and selecting one in which to enroll, you’ll likely complete a nursing certificate program that includes both classroom work and hands-on practice. Many programs include laboratory instruction as well. Among the topics a nursing assistant certificate program may cover are nursing care skills, psychology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid, and human anatomy. You will likely learn how to monitor a patient’s vital signs as well. The hands-on practice component of a nursing assistant certificate program usually involves interaction with patients and may require you to purchase uniforms and supplies in preparation for doing so.

When you graduate from a nursing assistant certificate program, you may receive either a certificate or diploma. To work as a nursing assistant with some employers, however, you may also need to seek certification. This usually involves passing an exam, which may consist of two parts. For example, many jurisdictions require certification applicants to complete both a written and a practical exam section. Once you’ve passed the exam, you may be qualified to work as a certified nursing assistant.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • A nursing assistant checking the blood pressure of a patient.
      A nursing assistant checking the blood pressure of a patient.
    • CPR might be part of nursing assistant certification.
      CPR might be part of nursing assistant certification.