A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a crucial member of the healthcare system. CNAs work closely with and under the direct supervision of registered nurses (RNs). Many refer to Certified Nursing Assistants/Aides as the ‘eyes, ears, and hands' of the RN, since typically they are the first to observe and report changes of the patient's vital signs.
CNAs provide caring and compassionate direct medical care for individuals suffering from chronic and/or terminal illnesses, mental/physical issues or illnesses associated with old age. Many RNs first begin their healthcare careers as CNAs. Kentucky is home to a number of programs to prepare aspiring CNAs.
The United States Department of Labor has stated that the number of jobs in the field of nursing assistance are predicted to grow by 21% until the year 2022.
Choosing to pursue a career in healthcare is not always easy. Before applying to a CNA program, it's important to take the following criteria into account:
The very first step in obtaining one's CNA certification in Kentucky is successfully completing a state-approved CNA training program. The Kentucky Board of Nursing requires candidates to complete a minimum of 75 contact hours of course instruction. Generally included within these contact hours are approximately 60 hours of classroom instruction and around 15 hours of clinical practice.
Students who successfully complete their program are then eligible to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant exam. This exam is administered by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). The exam consists of two sections: written or oral and a skills test. Exams must be taken within a two-year period after finishing the training program. The written or oral portion of the exam consists of 75 multiple choice questions, while the skills section of the exam tests a candidate's performance on 5 randomly selected nursing aide skills. In order to pass the exam, candidates must achieve at least 70% in both the written and skills section. Those listed on the Kentucky Nurse Aide Registry officially have the title State Registered Nurse Aide (SRNA).
The average pass rate for the CNA exam in the state is 84%, while the 5-year job placement averages around 82%.
Jefferson Community & Technical College is a public community college, centrally located in the state’s largest city—Louisville. The college is licensed by the State Board for Proprietary Education and approved by the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services to offer students nursing aide training.
JCTC is currently offering a 6.5 credit hour CNA program which is comprised of two courses: HST 104 and NAA 100. The program consists of a total of 75 contact hours of nurse aide training.
The approximate cost of the CNA certification program at JCTC is $590. JCTC also offers many financial aid and scholarships.
Bluegrass Community and Technical College is a 2-year community college located just a few miles from downtown Lexington—the state’s second most-populous city.
The CNA program offered by BCTC is available on-campus, in a six-week format which provides students with both clinical experience and classroom instruction. This program allows students to access all of their didactic materials, assignments, and announcements via an online Blackboard account.
The tuition fee is $677 for the CNA program.
West Kentucky Community and Technical College is a state-funded community college located in the small city of Paducah. WKCTC represents one of the 16 educational institutions that are a part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The college recently established itself as WKCTC in just 2003; however, the school’s original roots date back all the way to 1932 as Paducah Junior College. WKCTC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
WKCTC offers student two distinct CNA courses: NAA100 (3 units) Nursing Assistant Course and NAA15 (6 units) Advanced Nursing Assistant Course, which both take students a single semester (18 weeks) to complete.
According to the college’s website, during the school year of 2014-15, the combined completion rate of the program was reported to be 95%. Furthermore, the State Licensure Pass Rate during the school year of 2014-15 was 86%.
The approximate cost of the basic CNA certification program at WKCTC is $507 for in-state students and $1,014 for out-of-state students. In-state students who enroll in the advanced nursing assistant course can expect to pay $1,014, while out-of-state students can expect to pay around $2,028.
Hopkinsville Community College is a public, 2-year community college in Hopkinsville, a small city located in the very southwest corner of the state. The college was first chartered in 1965. It also maintains a subsidiary campus on the Fort Campbell Army base.
HCC’s 3-credit hour Certified Nursing Assistant program seeks to provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to adequately care for patients in a long-term care setting. The program’s primary focuses are infection control, basic nursing skills, and communication. Courses are offered during both fall and spring semesters in either a 16-week format at the campus in Hopkinsville or an 8-week course at the campus in Fort Campbell.
Students coming from inside of Kentucky can expect to pay around $507 to attend the CNA program at HCC. Out-of-state students can expect to pay around $1,014.