Registered nurses assess patients' health and doctors prescribe medicine and therapy accordingly, but certified nursing assistants provide for their patients on an entirely different level. They take care of the day-to-day tasks that we often take for granted but which may be difficult for sick or elderly people, such as brushing hair, opening mail, helping patients to the bathroom and assisting them with eating. The work CNAs do is fundamental and very human. Someone interested in this position should possess a genuine desire to help others and not be afraid of hard work. Earning certification in McDonough, Georgia, means following a few basic steps.
Get Your Prerequisites
Before you can enroll in CNA classes, you must have your high school diploma, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You must be able to pass a physical as well as a background check, as the job involves being entrusted with the well-being and safety of vulnerable people. You may also need to earn a certificate in basic life support (BLS) for health care providers, a short course that covers procedures like cardiopulmonary resuscitation and how to rescue a choking victim. BLS courses are held in training centers and hospitals in towns near McDonough, including Fayetteville, Decatur and Brooks. Check with the American Heart Association website for current classes and fees. The BLS course may also be included in your school's CNA schedule.
Enroll in School
Choose a local community or technical college that offers CNA courses, such as Southern Crescent Technical College, which has campuses in nearby towns Griffin and Thomaston, Georgia. Because the CNA course results in a certificate rather than a degree, it isn't typically offered at traditional four-year colleges or universities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Check with the financial aid department for help with paying for your courses.
Pass Your Exam
Once you've completed your CNA course, you'll be eligible to take your state's competency exam, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Passing this exam allows you to take the title of CNA, plus your name will be added to Georgia's CNA registry. Certification is an ongoing process rather than a one-time thing, says the Georgia CNA Association, in order to ensure quality, up-to-date health care. You must renew your certificate every two years. To do this, you must have worked as a paid CNA for a minimum of eight hours within the last 12 months under the direct supervision of a registered nurse. If you haven't, you'll need to be retested; if you let your certification expire beyond three years, you'll have to complete a new CNA course.
Start looking in general and surgical hospitals, home health care facilities, nursing facilities and retirement communities for work, as these settings are among the top employers of CNAs in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May, 2012, CNAs averaged $10.47 an hour in Georgia, or $21,780 a year. Earnings increase as you gain experience.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Nursing Aides, Orderlies and Attendants Do
- Southern Crescent Technical College: Course Catalog
- Florence-Darlington Technical College: Nursing Assistant -- Certified
- American Heart Association: Find a Course
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Nursing Aide, Orderly or Attendant
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012: Nursing Assistants
- Georgia CNA Association: Georgia Certification Forms and Searches
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images