How to Become a CNA in Pennsylvania
Training to become a certified nursing assistant, or CNA, can be a worthwhile career choice for many individuals.
People who enjoy helping others may find a role as a CNA to be both rewarding and profitable.
These workers play an important part of the day-to-day care of patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and more.
CNAs work with nurses to provide help with basic patient needs such as eating, grooming, bathing, and more.
Education and Training
Those looking to become employed as a CNA in Pennsylvania must get their high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. Afterward, individuals must graduate from a state-approved program, logging the necessary classroom and hands-on training hours.
During the course of their studies, students will cover topics like:
- Mental health
- Fluids and diet
- Emergency procedures
- Infection control
- Caring for the elderly
- Dispensing medication
- Social service
Many CNA training programs in Pennsylvania cost less than 2k, with some programs costing under 1k. Students will also likely need to cover the cost of books, classroom materials, and uniforms themselves in most instances, which will increase the final amount.
Earning a Certification
Earning a certification is a requirement to work as a CNA in Pennsylvania.
Once an individual has their CNA, they can choose to continue their education to become an LPN by taking courses at their local community college or vocational school. This will require additional training and education that typically takes around six to twenty-four weeks, with 75 hours of training.
Attending a CNA Program
Attending a PA CNA program can help you get the education you need to become a professional in the field. In-person classes and training give you access to experts in the field as you learn and grow in a helpful, friendly environment.
How Long Does It Take?
The average time it takes to complete a CNA program in the state of PA varies. Typically, individuals can complete a state-certified CNA program in around six to fifteen weeks. Accelerated programs can be finished in as little as four weeks, so long as a person completes the hours required by the state.
Pennsylvania CNA Requirements
The state of Pennsylvania has several requirements before a person can qualify to work as a certified nursing assistant. Individuals must be at least 16 years of age and have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent.
Hopeful CNAs need to take classes from an accredited program, many of which can be found at technical schools, community colleges, or nursing schools throughout the state. You may even be able to take some classes online.
Classroom Instruction and Supervised Training
Students must take a minimum of 80 hours of classroom instruction and supervised training. However, many training programs require 120 hours, which is the recommended amount by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Other state requirements for a CNA are:
- Be in good physical health
- Have up-to-date immunization records
- Pass a criminal background check and register fingerprints
- Pass the state exam
- Become a certified CNA
CNA Salaries in PA
Curious about what a typical CNA salary in Pennsylvania is? The answer can depend on a number of different factors. Things such as location, experience, and type of facility you work at will likely affect how much you make.
Some salaries that you may be able to earn as a certified nursing assistant in Pennsylvania are:
- Pittsburgh $35,570
- Philadelphia $38,322
- Allentown $36,393
- Erie $33,356
- Scranton $33,520
CNAs help patients with their health care needs, oftentimes working under the supervision of a nurse as their assistant. These workers assist with many of the physical tasks needed for patient care such as eating, bathing, and grooming.
Certified nursing assistants can work in places like hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers, adult daycare centers, long-term residential facilities, and sometimes clinical facilities.
What Do They Do?
Responsibilities that a CNA in PA can have are:
- Gathering medical supplies
- Bathing and grooming patients
- Answering patient calls
- Documenting patient information
- Stocking medical supplies
- Turning over or moving patients
- Feeding patients
- Monitoring a patient’s food and liquid intake
- Cleaning rooms and/or bed linens
- Helping with some medical procedures
- Transportation of patients
- Helping to take care of patient wounds
Those interested in becoming a CNA should be aware that job duties may differ depending on the facility.
Other Skills Needed
To become a successful CNA, you will need to have certain qualities and skills necessary for the position. Communication skills are important since CNAs need to listen and respond to the needs and concerns of patients. In this role, you will also have to share information with fellow workers, so getting the information communicated correctly is imperative.
Other skills that a certified nursing assistant should possess are:
- Physical stamina
- Knowledge of medical terminology
- An optimistic attitude
- Be extremely detailed
The need for qualified certified nursing assistants is expected to increase over the next decade. From 2021-2031, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that CNA jobs should increase by five percent across the country. Around 220,200 new jobs per year should become available. This means that there should be plenty of CNA jobs in Pennsylvania for eager, qualified candidates.
The increase in new roles should come available due to a variety of reasons. The healthcare field will need more certified nursing assistants to help take care of an aging baby-boomer generation. New positions will also open up because of retirements in the profession as well as workers leaving the industry to pursue other jobs.