How to Become a CNA in Georgia
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) should have a passion for helping others, critical thinking skills, and a soothing bedside manner.
If you possess these traits and want to qualify for CNA jobs in Georgia, you’ll need to complete an accredited educational program and pass a competency test.
From there, you can begin a rewarding career as a CNA in GA.
Education and Training
Enrolling in a state-approved training course is the first step for those wondering how to become a CNA in Georgia.
While programs vary across different Georgia trade schools and community colleges, most institutions offer classes on:
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Basic Pharmacology
- Fundamentals of Nursing
- Phlebotomy and Sample Labeling
- EKG Training
- Infection Prevention and Control
- Patient Privacy Protocols
- Healthcare Ethics
Students also learn effective communication techniques that help them develop their bedside manner and comfort patients.
Educational programs for CNAs in GA also have a hands-on component. Students complete internships at local clinics and hospitals, applying the skills and techniques they’ve learned in the classroom to real-world situations.
If you’re hoping to practice a particular area of medicine, you might consider taking an internship in one of the following settings:
- Emergency rooms and urgent care centers
- Intensive care units
- Labor and delivery wards
- Nursing and ambulatory care facilities
- Outpatient clinics
Like most professionals in the healthcare industry, nursing assistants must have Basic Life Support (BLS) training before they can qualify for CNA jobs in Georgia. In these courses, students learn how to render life-saving aid by using an AED and performing first aid, CPR, and the Heimlich maneuver.
Your instructor may have the proper certification to administer this training. If not, you can earn your BLS credential through organizations like the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.
How Long is CNA School in GA?
Courses for aspiring CNAs in GA tend to be fairly short. Students usually complete their programs in about eight weeks, though it might take closer to 10 if they attend classes part-time. You might also find four-week programs that allow you to graduate in one month.
Georgia CNA Training Cost
Tuition rates and study material prices for CNAs in GA vary by institution. Most schools charge between $400 and $800, depending on the course length and curriculum. Qualifying applicants may be able to receive funding from the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program to cover the cost of their education.
If you already work in a non-certified healthcare position, you might be able to complete your CNA training through employer-provided courses at your job site. Some companies lack in-house certification programs for employees, so they offer tuition assistance to help cover the cost of schooling instead.
Georgia CNA Requirements
After completing your training program, you’ll need to pass a certification exam and register your credentials with the state before you start applying for CNA jobs in Georgia. Some vocational schools and community colleges include the licensing exam in the curriculum. However, you can also register for the test yourself after graduation.
CNA Certification Exam
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) proctors the competency exam for CNAs in GA and 16 other jurisdictions.
The NNAAP Examination
Those taking the National Nurse Aid Assessment Program exam (NNAAP) must take the following steps to pass this test and qualify for state registration:
- Create a CNA365 account through the Credentia website
- Fill out and submit an Examination Testing Application form, including details about:
- Training program completion
- Employment Information
- Accommodations you’ll need during testing
- Register for the written, oral, and skills portions of the NNAAP separately by choosing the following details for each one:
- Preference for an online or testing center exam
- Your time zone
- Preferred exam date and time
- Pay the exam fees
Passing the NNAAP Exam
Test-takers get three attempts to pass the NNAAP within a single year. Those who pass will officially become CNAs in Georgia, their names appearing on the Georgia Nurse Aide Registry approximately 10 days after receiving a passing score.
CNA Salaries in GA
While annual earnings for nursing assistants vary across different employers, the average CNA salary in Georgia is roughly $43,680 per year. Your location can influence your wages, as well. Take a look at the list below to discover how much CNAs in GA make, depending on where they live and work:
- Savannah $37,107
- Augusta $42,598
- Brunswick $37,939
- Atlanta $45,323
- Valdosta $30,410
Over time, experienced CNAs may be able to negotiate higher wages or receive performance-based raises that increase their annual earnings. You might also make more if you specialize in a particular area of the medical field, such as:
- Hospice or Palliative Care
- Intensive Care
- Surgical Care
What Do They Do?
As their titles suggest, CNAs in GA assist registered nurses with various patient care tasks in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and other medical facilities. To ensure positive health outcomes and patient comfort, these professionals perform duties like:
- Answering patient call lights
- Helping patients bathe, dress, groom, and feed themselves as needed
- Transferring patients with mobility issues to and from chairs, beds, and examination tables
- Monitoring patients’ vital signs
- Changing bandages on wounds
- Documenting changes in patients’ conditions
- Collecting blood and fluid samples for testing
- Administering oral, optical, nasal, and topical medications
Medical facilities are almost always in need of qualified healthcare professionals. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for nursing assistants in the United States to increase by five percent over the next ten years. This translates to roughly 220,200 CNA employment opportunities becoming available each year between 2021 and 2031.
Much of this growth results from experienced nursing assistants becoming licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and changing career paths. Aspiring CNAs in GA can take advantage of this projected increase in demand by completing their educational courses and obtaining their certification. Those with previous experience in the care field may have an easier time finding CNA jobs in Georgia.