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Do You Need to Graduate High School to Be a CNA in PA?

By law, you do not need to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, many programs that train CNAs do require their students to have one or the other. Many employers also want to see that on a resume of any CNA they want to hire. So, while the state does not require it, you may find schools and employers do. Many find that if they do get into a program and find employment, their chances of further advancement are limited. Working towards a high school diploma or a GED is likely the best path for long term success.

In PA, you may know the role of a CNA under the name of being a nurse's aide. It is the same type of work. There are basic requirements for becoming a CNA in PA.

In Pennsylvania, many programs offer training to become a nurse's aide. You can get training through nursing homes or non-profit organizations. These organizations are looking for individuals who are organized, motivated, and ready to help people at a personal level. These positions are popular and therefore have many willing applicants. Another way to get the experience and training to become a CNA is to go to school and get a certificate.

According to PA statutes, those who want to become a CNA must complete 75 hours of training. You can get that training through a certified nursing assistant program. You can find these programs at local community colleges. They take 4 to 16 weeks to complete, depending on the program. Many of these colleges have placement programs that allow students to get jobs after graduating. The training programs look at developing basic nursing skills and learning how to handle patients. Being a CNA or nurse's aide require patience and a great deal of empathy.

A CNA needs to complete an exam. These exams are an offering from the American Red Cross. The written part of the test involves 70 multiple choice questions. The topic this exam covers varies from test to test. They can include activities of daily living, basic nursing skills, emotional health needs, and the role of a nurse aide, client rights, legal topics, infection control, data collection, and spiritual/cultural needs. You also have to take a skills evaluation test. This test involves performing practical skills like hand washing, patient communications, patient ambulation, cleaning patient, taking pulse, counting respiration, and updating documentation, among many others.