Getting a CNA license is usually a 10.5 week program that enables you to take the state certification test to become a certified nursing assistant. Within this 10.5 weeks there is both classroom time and then we also go into clinical. Going into the fourth week, we start going to the convalescent homes in the area. That’s where we do our clinical. We go there four days a week and only one day do we have in the classroom after the fourth week.
This is one of our clinical lab days where we have everyone dress up and act like we are in a hospital. So, they already have scripts more or less. The skills that have step by step of what they are supposed to do and supposed to say. So, it’s a great way to practice with each other, as both the patient and as the nurse, so that you know how it feels to be on the other side of the bed.
The job prospect is very, very good. You can get jobs almost immediately for the most part, especially if you go into long term care, or into the nursing homes or the convalescent homes. The senior population is growing; there is a lot of assisted living care units that would like certified nursing assistants.
You could also get jobs in the hospitals, those are a little bit more difficult, more competitive, getting your CNA license would give you an advantage over other applicants. And if you want to go into the hospital, they prefer you to have some computer experience. You don’t have to be a computer wiz. So, we work with a computer lab right here at Cesar Chaves. To just know the very basics that you would need to know to get in there.
The pay starts at about $9.50 an hour and the long term care, the hospitals seem to pay a little bit more up to about $14 an hour if you have a CNA license. In the hospitals you also have a lot of other benefits like tuition reimbursement, if you want to go on to continue your education.
If you want to go on and continue your education in nursing, this can also be a career ladder step for you. If you plan to go onto your licensed vocational nurse, this is a pre-requisite for all the public institutions in the area. They require you to have a certified nursing assistant. And, that would be: City College has an LVN program, Grossmont Health Occupations has an LVN program, Southwestern, Palomar, and Mira Costa also have it. And then some of the other colleges go on a point system, like San Diego State where you get additional points for having hands on patient care as a certified nursing assistant.
To get into this class we have you call here and then we set up a reading test for you. We have a suggested 9th grade reading level. And, we do have a lot of people that aren’t able to obtain that. But, then we will send you with our counselor and we have adult basic education lab and also English as a second language lab. And they all have nursing materials, in fact you start your reading and learning before you even get into this class with similar materials that we’ll be using.
There are programs on the computer that you can work with yourself to increase your reading level, if you weren’t able to obtain the 9th grade level.
If you want to get into the healthcare field, this is a great entry level class for any healthcare position. When you get your CNA license your pay will increase. This one is the certified nursing assistant, but a lot of my students have decided they don’t want to be nurses and have gone on to dental assisting; they’ve gone onto speech therapy, occupational therapy or other health related careers.