If you have a teenager who’s graduating or is interested in working in the health care industry, then becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) may be a place for them to start.
“This is a quick and inexpensive way of getting training to start working in the health care arena,” said Bernadette Billinger/Program Coordinator of South Denver School of Nursing Arts.
Billinger and Primary Instructor Lindsey Mulder started Centennial’s only CNA school three years ago. Both worked as nurses and CNA instructors before seeing a need for an independent school to serve students in the South Metro area.
“We are teaching students to provide responsible and compassionate care to all of the patients that they will care for, not just the skills to pass their state board certification examination,” Mulder said.
CNA’s provide personal care including bathing, dressing, and feeding for people or patients needing assistance in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, doctor’s offices and private homes. Entry level CNA’s make from $10.50 to $12 per hour.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that health care jobs are projected to grow by 20% between 2010-2020 and CNA’s are in demand.
“Our graduates haven’t reported a problem in finding jobs,” Billinger added.
The South Denver School of Nursing Arts is licensed and approved by the Colorado State Board of Nursing and provides 104 hours of instruction including 24 hours of clinical experience in preparation for students to take the state certification exam. The school’s tuition covers everything a CNA student needs without any extra costs, except for a TB test.
More than 500 students have graduated from the school and in 2012, 95% of students taking the state exam for certification passed it on their first try.
A CNA state certificate is also becoming a prerequisite for acceptance into associate or bachelor degree nursing programs, such as LPN or RN.
“Medical programs often require “patient contact hours” as a prerequisite- some as few as 200 hours and some as high as two thousand hours. Students can do this by volunteering with a doctor or clinic or they can get these hours by working as a CNA and getting paid, “ Billinger said.
The school accepts current students as young as 16 years old, or graduates with a high school diploma or GED certificate, or current college students.
The Arapahoe/Douglas Youth in the Works program also has funds for training available for youth ages 16 through 21 who qualify.
And CNA training is not just for women. A Census Bureau study reported the number of men going into the nursing field has tripled since the 70’s.
“Healthcare is not just a field for females, rather it is a unique opportunity for both genders to bring their own experiences to provide care to all patients, “ said Mulder.
Classes start monthly and are available during the day and night and and take about four weeks to complete.