Certified Nursing Assistant Training in Florida
When you look at healthcare in Florida, there’s no doubt that nursing assistants are important to the state’s population. Florida has one of the largest elderly populations in the United States, due to the amount of retirees it attracts every year. As these residents move into nursing homes and require occasional or constant assistance, the demand for nursing assistants may continue to grow in this state.
What is a CNA?
You may wonder what a nursing aide does in their daily work if you are completely new to the field of healthcare. CNAs are part of a facility’s support staff. They cannot make care decisions or do healthcare procedures, but they may offer basic personal cares under the indirect supervision of nurses and physicians.
How Can I Become a Nurse Aide (CNA) in Florida?
Becoming a CNA is a great first step to any nursing career, whether you want to work as a nursing aide for your entire career or you eventually want to become a registered nurse. You may become licensed in a matter of weeks, putting you in an excellent position to start getting experience and becoming comfortable with the patients you serve.
Find out how you can get started by getting in contact with CNA programs in Florida.
What Kind of CNA Training Do I Need in Florida?
Today, you ask “What is a CNA?” In a matter of weeks, you could be finished with your nurse assistant training and be on your way to an exciting new career in healthcare. There’s a lot to gain in this field: a meaningful career, the chance to make a difference in people’s lives, and the opportunity to move up in your career. Make your move now and get in touch with CNA schools in Florida to learn more about your options.
Getting Into a Certified Nursing Assistant Program in Florida
The first step to becoming a nurse’s aide is getting accepted to CNA programs in your area.
Luckily, CNA programs have very basic requirements that make it easy for students of varying abilities to explore a nursing career. To become a nurse’s assistant, you must pass a background check and prove that you can meet the physical demands of this career.
Admissions Requirements for CNA Programs
- Must be 17 years of age or older
- Completed background screen without a record of felonies
- Up-to-date immunizations, including hepatitis B, DTaP, and influenza
- Negative TB test
- Negative drug screen
- Physical exam that demonstrates your ability to lift 40 pounds with proper form
Application Documents for Nursing Assistant Classes in Florida
- Application fee, typically between $25 and $50
- High school transcripts
- Accuplacer scores
- Completed background screen authorization form
- Proof of immunizations
- Completed physical form
CNA Training in Florida
Florida CNA training requirements are standard and similar to what you may find in most other states. Licensure requirements are set by the Florida State Board of Nursing.
To graduate from an accredited program and qualify for a CNA license, you need at least 120 hours of training. You earn 80 hours in theory courses and laboratory work. The other 40 hours are completed in clinical rotations at a local nursing home, clinic, or hospital.
Some nurse assistant training programs require more than 120 hours, giving students the chance to get more clinical experience. While other healthcare careers may require a one-year certificate, a two-year Associate’s degree, or four-year Bachelor’s degree, you may be able to finish your CNA education in four weeks or less.
The most important outcome of any CNA program is a strong grasp of clinical skills. Make full use of the time you spend in your clinical rotations, since you should be comfortable working with patients of all ages, medical needs, and personalities by the time you are ready to start your nursing assistant career.
CNA Classes in Florida
- Vital signs
- Safety measures
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical terminology
- Patient transfers
- Charting and documentation
- Bloodborne pathogens
- Patient independence
- Patient rights
- Confidentiality and respect of patients
Some aspiring nursing assistants wonder if they can complete their CNA training online. However, there are no 100% online CNA programs. Clinical experience is mandatory in Florida, so there is no way to qualify for licensure with an online program. In spite of this, you may be able to complete some of your theory coursework online. Your theory courses may include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and Florida healthcare law.
CNA Certification as a Prerequisite for Nursing School in Florida
You may be interested in working as a nursing assistant for a good chunk of your career, or you may just be interested in using a CNA license as a stepping stone to a registered nursing license. Florida’s many nursing schools require that students earn their CNA certification before starting nursing courses.
Why is this?
Getting some experience as a nursing assistant ensures that you have what it takes to work in a fast-paced healthcare setting and gives you the chance to decide whether or not nursing is the right field for you. By spending time on the most basic patient care procedures, you may appreciate what nurses do every day and feel more ready to tackle the challenges of this field once you have your RN license.
Paying for a CNA Program in Florida
Whether you’re going to work as a nurse’s aide full-time or move on to nursing school, you should look into financial aid opportunities in Florida. Since Florida’s need for nursing assistants is growing, you may qualify for scholarships and grants designed to strengthen the healthcare workforce.
The FAFSA, which is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, checks your financial information to decide whether or not you qualify for need-based federal aid. You may also want to compare different nursing programs in Florida with the college scorecard, which looks at average expenses and helps students get the most bang for their buck.
Peterson’s is a popular scholarship website that offers thousands of scholarship listings. With an account, you can keep a list of scholarships you’re interested in, stay up-to-date on deadlines, and submit applications with a click of the mouse.
Florida is also home to many nursing associations, many of which accept CNA students and working CNAs. As a student member of these groups, you may have the chance to apply for grants and scholarships based on financial need and academic performance. The Florida Nurses Foundation is a major financial resource for nursing students.
Working as a Certified Nursing Assistant in Florida
You have your CNA certificate and you are excited to start working with patients in Florida’s healthcare facilities.
Which setting is best for you?
Which work environment makes best use of your skills?
Keep reading to learn more about working as a nurse assistant and what you can expect from your career.
CNA Requirements in Florida
Completing your CNA classes in Florida helps you meet the majority of licensure requirements in Florida. By the time you finish your four to eight weeks of training, you should understand what your role is as a nursing assistant and how you can help doctors and nurses use their time and skills efficiently.
Upon graduating from your chosen program, you must register to take your written test and your skills test. The testing fee in Florida is $140. After you receive your initial license, you may work for up to two years. You have to renew your license every two years and complete 24 hours of inservice training during each renewal cycle to continue working as a nursing assistant.
Where are the Best CNA Jobs in Florida?
One of the benefits of becoming a CNA is the fact that you can use your education in nearly any type of healthcare facility. Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry, and as a result, the country has developed a huge nursing shortage in recent years.
Quite a few facilities have ramped up their hiring of certified nursing assistants to free up registered nurses’ time and allow them to spend their time on tasks that only they can do. You may get the early experience you need at a nursing home or assisted living facility, since these employers are some of the most popular options for CNAs. They do staff nurses and doctors, but the majority of their staff is comprised of nursing assistants.
As a CNA, you should be ready to work night shifts, weekend shifts, and holidays. Residents need care all the time, not just during normal business hours, and it’s up to CNAs to offer that care.
Common Work Settings for Nurse Aides
- Nursing homes
- Assisted living facilities
- Group homes for adults with disabilities
- Occupational therapy centers
- Rehab facilities
- Traumatic brain injury treatment centers
- Memory loss clinics
- Day programs for adults with disabilities
- Pediatric physical therapy clinics
- Hospital departments, including emergency rooms
- Medical-surgical units
- Privately owned clinics
Hiring Requirements and Expectations for CNAs
- Current CNA license and placement on the Florida Nurse Aide Registry
- Experience in a relevant facility
- Training in healthcare ethics and laws
- Training in patient confidentiality
- Availability to work a variety of shifts to include nights, weekends, and holidays
- Ability to lift and transfer patients safely
What Does a Nursing Assistant Do in Florida?
In the course of your CNA certification training, you should be thoroughly briefed on what you can and cannot do as a certified nursing assistant. It’s important to review these laws and regulations on a regular basis, since they aren’t all based on common sense.
In fact, there are some procedures that you feel perfectly safe doing; in spite of this, your scope of practice and Florida law may prohibit you from taking on these duties. Staying updated on your scope of practice and your standard duties may help you avoid citations and expensive fines for you and your facility.
In each job listing you find, you may encounter a list of duties for CNAs. While these tasks may differ slightly between locations, they are often very similar in all healthcare settings. During interviews, you may want to ask about the typical day of a CNA and how much time you spend working with patients in an average shift.
Certified Nursing Aide Duties
- Patient intake with the assistance of a registered nurse
- Medication administration
- Updates on patient status
- Documentation and paperwork
- Communication with patients’ families
- Cleaning and disinfection of patients’ environments
- Patient transfers and ambulation
- Vital signs
- Communication with supervisors and nurses
How Much Does a CNA Make in Florida?
Compensation is important in any career, and when you start working as a certified nursing assistant you may be curious about how much you can earn. CNAs are paid on an hourly basis, rather than earning a salary. This may give you the chance to earn overtime pay and shift differentials for holidays and overnights.
The average salary for a certified nurse aide in Florida is $24,510 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017). Florida is a large state, so salaries vary between metropolitan areas. In Cape Coral, the average salary is $26,470 per year, compared to the average salary of $25,020 per year in Fort Lauderdale (BLS, 2017). In the Homosassa Springs area, the mean income is $26,060 per year (BLS, 2017). CNAs in the Naples area claim an average income of $26,110 annually (BLS, 2017). In North Port, the average salary for a nursing assistant is $27,010 per year (BLS, 2017).
You may earn a higher salary if you work in an underserved part of Florida, which often includes retirement communities and rural areas. Job openings for nursing assistants are expected to increase 17% by the year 2024 (BLS, 2017).
Important CNA Resources in Florida
- National Network of Career Nursing Assistants
- National Association of Health Care Assistants
- Florida Health Care Association
- Florida Nurses Association
As a nurse assistant, you should take advantage of every professional resource you have. These resources help you learn about new job openings, attend affordable continuing education programs, and develop your skills as a nursing assistant. These resources are particularly helpful if you plan on attending nursing school to become a registered nurse.
Building a large professional network may help you benefit from the knowledge of other nurses and shorten the learning curve in your own career.
You know what it takes to become a certified nurse aide and you are ready to help patients in Florida get the high-quality care they deserve. Why not take the next step now? Across the nation, there is a severe shortage of nursing professionals. This shortage is worse than average in Florida, due to the state’s large population of elderly citizens (Wink News, 2017).
Becoming a nursing assistant may help you build a career you love that has a bright future while doing fulfilling, meaningful work. You may become a nursing assistant in a matter of weeks; the sooner you get started, the more quickly you may be ready to start working.
Check out our list of accredited certified nursing programs in Florida, and request information from the programs that catch your eye.