Why You Should Become a CNA Before Applying to Nursing School

You might want to consider taking the time to receive your training to work as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) before applying for nursing school. It might surprise you to know that many nursing schools now want, or even require you to be a CNA to apply for the nursing program.

If you want to become a CNA, you will need to locate an accredited CNA training program in your local area. These programs are often offered through community colleges, healthcare facilities and even some branches of the Red Cross. Training programs will usually last from 3 to 6 weeks, although some programs can last longer.

After completion of a CNA training program, you will be required to take the certification exam. This test will include two sections: written and practical. The written exam will ask you to answer multiple choice questions about the information you learned during your training course. The practical section of your test will be your opportunity to demonstrate some of the CNA procedures you learned during the course.

As a CNA, you will learn many skills that will make you a valuable part of the nursing team. You will check and record vital signs for patients. In most settings, you will help to groom and bathe patients. It will often be your job to show patients ranges of motion exercises. You will also help patients with their activities of daily living. These are just a few of the tasks that you will complete as a nursing assistant.

Nursing assistants can find work at hospitals, continuing care communities, rehabilitation centers and home health agencies. Your exact duties will vary depending on the setting in which you work. When you work as a home health aide, you will often also do some light housekeeping for your clients as well as providing some companionship.

Working as a CNA, before applying to nursing school is a good idea. The CNA salary and pay scale isn’t too bad as well. You will have the opportunity to work in the healthcare setting. It will give you the opportunity to develop a good beside manner. When you are working as a certified nursing assistant, you will learn how to work with other members of the healthcare team. You will be able to observe some of the duties and tasks that are completed by nurses.

If you work as a certified nursing assistant, you will have the opportunity to determine if working in the healthcare field is right for you. After working as a nursing assistant for awhile, you might realize that you want to further your career as a healthcare provider. This is when you should start to consider furthering your education to become an LPN or RN.

Nursing schools can be quite competitive and some are even difficult to receive admissions. You will have an edge over other students who do not have their CNA training. If you have worked for awhile as a CNA, this will provide you with valuable experience that can not only help you to be admitted to nursing school, but can also leave you better prepared for your training.

This article is a guest post written by Sandra Stevens. If you‘re interested in getting more information about Certified Nursing assistant training you might want to visit her blog over at http://cnatraininghelp.com/. Additionally this report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics may also be useful: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos327.htm


  • Martin Headen

    Job responsibilities of certified nursing assistants include providing help to patients in hospitals and nursing health facilities.this is only possible when individual choose perfect CNA programs during CNA training. thank you for valuable post,keep posting

  • sample nursing resume

    I’m in school now to be an RN but where im from you cant choose which part you want to work in. I want to be in L & D but i will take what i get and work my way up to it.(: its a tough program but totally worth it in the end! plus its only 2 years if your full time!

    Nursing Assistant

  • cna.coach

    I agree with Sandra. Being a CNA is both a rewarding career in itself and a great stepping stone to further success in the medical world; x-ray technicians, registered nurses, and even some doctors started their careers as CNAs!

    Become a CNA

  • Shauna

    I agree with you Sandra!!

    I've worked as a nurse for 18 years– before Spinal Stenosis and uncountable Osteophytes growing from my Thoracic and Lumbar vertebrae, into the already shrunken and consistently squeezed cord finally won their battle against my body; forcing me to stop working in my beloved–cut–way–too–short–nursing career.

    I adored Hospice the most of all specialties, and any Home Health Aide I have ever worked with; also every CNA I have worked with and had to play charge nurse with, have been, for the most part, (99%)FANTASTIC, caring, truly empathtic, hard-working people I've known in the world of Medicine.

    The idea of being a CNA first is great, I know not everyone can do that for whatever reason, yet with some school requiring it…may be just the way to go.

    To be able to learn HOW to work WITH, (and DIRECTLY with that is); with patients- is the #1 issue that must be assessed before anyone can imagine working in the world of nursing. How to interact, how to be calm and yet assertive with patients, all of these seemingly simple, but very important qualities to possess when working with the sick and injured, the dying and those just brought into the world…all those souls we care so much for….

    Bless every CNA and CHHA that has ever given me a hand, either with pulling someone up in bed, or with a gentle touch to say silently, "It's okay…I'm crying too at her passing." They are special, hard-working, and highly underrated, and UNDERPAID in my opinion for the actual work they do every day.

    Gentle Hugs <3

    Great blog Kathy!!!

    Thanks for the email Sandra, I'll get back to you tomorrow! Nice job! 🙂

  • susiej

    CNA training is a great value to anyone who will be entering a nursing career. This enables the individual to have hands-on experiences, establish good time management skills, and learn the true value of their colleagues and peers. I also gives oneself a great opportunity to practice skills that will become some much an integral part of what you will be doing as a nurse does on a daily basis. Lastly, many use this experience to find out that this is not really what they thought it would be enabling them to move on to where they should be. Thanks for the opportunity to contribute.

  • Sandra Stevens

    Firstly, Thank you Kathy for letting me contribute.

    @ voices of reality: exactly! CNA's are ahead of the student nurses in so many ways. Not surprising that many schools now have "CNA Training" as a prerequisite requirement.
    btw.. amazing blog!

  • Anonymous

    The reason why I became a CNA was to fund my nursing degree at university.
    Now I precept student nurses and it is always immediately obvious who have worked or still work as CNA's. Their time management skills are well developed and their grasp of what's needed to assist patients with ADL's is comprehensive.