Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are integral members of our healthcare system. CNAs work under the supervision and direction of registered nurses (RNs) and have often been referred to as the ‘eyes, ears and hands' of the RN since they are typically the first to observe and report changes experienced by the patient.
CNAs provide nursing care to individuals who are dealing with chronic and/or terminal illnesses, mental/physical infirmity and various illness associated with aging. Employment as a certified nursing assistant can act as a stepping stone toward becoming a Patient Care Technician or Registered Nurse.
As far as the employment outlook goes for this career, it couldn't be much better. The US Department of Labor has stated that nursing assistant jobs are expected to grow by 21% from 2014 to 2022.
Those mulling over a CNA career should attempt to find the best educational programs available in the state. In your search to find the top programs, take the following into consideration:
The first step a prospective CNA student needs to complete is to enroll in a state-approved training program. Requirements set forth by state legislators require 100 total contact hours of training-slightly above the minimum national standard.
Alternative pathways do exist. RN and LPN students can be eligible if during their respective course they earned grades of ‘C' or higher. To be eligible, these students are required to apply within two years completing the qualifying course work.
When students have fulfilled the requirements mentioned above, they then become eligible to take the state certification exam. South Carolina is one of 25 states that use the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). Pearson VUE and the NACES Plus Foundation administer the exam. The assessment is composed of two parts-both must be passed to gain certification. The first part consists of a series of written or oral multiple-choice questions which have been designed to test a student's knowledge. The second part of the test is the skills assessment. Here students are tested on a variety of nursing assistant skills.
CNA candidates have three attempts to pass both sections. After three attempts, if the candidate still hasn't passed, they will be required to retrain.
The Technical College of the Low Country (TCL) traces its origins back to the Mather School, which was founded back in 1868 when it was created to provide education to recently freed slaves in the area. TCL’s main campus is situated in the city of Beaufort, but it also maintains a number of learning facilities in the New River area. Over 75 programs of study are offered at the school.
Students who enroll in TCL’s Certified Nursing Assistant program can finish in just six to eight weeks. In total, the course is composed of 110 contact hours, which can be completed at the Beaufort or Hampton campuses. Class sizes are limited to just 8 students. The CNA program consists of lecture, lab and a clinical experience. Throughout the course’s duration, students will learn how to take vitals, transfer patients, and a wide variety of other basic nursing skills.
To attend TCL’s CNA program, students can expect pay around $930.
Midlands Technical College is a two-year college which serves Lexington, Fairfield and Richland counties. MTC represents one of the state’s largest community colleges and maintains campuses in Columbia, Winnsboro, Irmo, West Columbia and Batesburg-Leeville.
Midlands Technical College offers students a CNA program that can be completed in just one to two months. In total, the program is comprised of 112 contact hours. These hours are split up into in-class lecture, simulated lab practice and a hands-on clinical externship at a local long-term care nursing facility. Classes meet Monday through Thursday from 8:00am to 1:00pm. The course has been approved by the DHHS.
Midland Technical College charges students approximately $999 to enroll in their CNA program.
Situated in the small town of Kingstree, along the Atlantic Coast region of the state, Williamsburg Technical College is a 2-year community college which first opened its doors in 1969. WTC is a member of the South Carolina Technical College system.
WTC’s nursing assistant program is composed of 16 credit hours. The program takes one semester to complete. Covered throughout the duration of the course are topics like cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques, general care of patients and concepts of geriatric health care. The program is composed of the following courses: Medical Terminology, The Care of Patients, Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, College Skills, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Special Topics in Geriatric Care. To successfully complete the course students must have a final grade of at least 77%.
Students who are coming from inside Williamsburg county can expect to pay around $2,912 to enroll in WTC’s CNA program. Students who are either out-of-county or out-of-state residents can expect to pay around $2,992 and $5,520, respectively, to take the course.
Located in Greenville County, Greenville Technical College represents one of the largest publicly funded 2-year colleges in the state. The college was first founded in 1960. Today, it operates six campuses which are spread throughout the county. GTC offers students over 100 academic programs.
The CNA course at GTC is made up of 60 hours of lecture, interactive learning and lab time, and 40 hours of clinical skills practice at a local healthcare facility. Program instructors seek to provide a basic foundation of various nursing care topics to students. Throughout the course, students learn how to carry out various CNA duties like bathing, feeding and grooming patients, taking and recording vitals, communication skills and how exactly to observe and report on a patient’s state. Students can complete the course in a little over one month. Classes meet Monday through Thursday from 5:00pm to 9:00pm.
Students who are considering enrolling in Greenville Technical College’s CNA course can expect to pay a fee of approximately $874.
What’s now known as Forrest College was first established in 1946 under the name The Carolina School of Commerce. The institution was renamed in 1963 and is located in the city of Anderson. Popular programs offered by the school include Phlebotomy, Medical Assisting and Nursing Assisting. FC has a graduation rate of 78%.
FC’s six-week CNA certificate program seeks to ready students to become future members of the interdisciplinary health team whose main goal is to provide support and assistance to the patient. It aims to give students the necessary skills and knowledge for quick entry into the field of nursing assisting. Courses that are completed during this program can be transferred to other Allied Health programs. Included in the program are 60 hours of classroom and lab training, which cover topics like mental health, personal care, infection control, and more. After a student has completed this section of the course, they can move on to the 40-hour clinical training portion. Once a student has successfully demonstrated the necessary competencies and passes the final test, they can sit for the state certification exam.
In addition to the CNA certification course, FC also offers a more extensive, six-month nursing assistant program. For more information on this program, contact the course coordinator at (864) 225-7653.
For information on tuition and fees for Forrest College’s CNA program, call them at (864) 225-7653.
First opened in 1968, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (OCtech) is a technical college which serves the communities of Orangeburg and Calhoun. OCtech is a member of the South Carolina Technical College system and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It’s considered one of the top community colleges in the entire state.
OCtech offers a 9-credit hour, 1 semester CNA program. The program is made up of three courses: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, Long-Term Care, and Technical Communications. Included in the curriculum are topics on body mechanics, personal care, infection control, anatomy, physiology and more. To successfully complete this program, students must earn a grade of at least 80% in all courses. OCtech’s CNA program boasts an impressive 93% first-time NACEP pass rate.
Students who are coming from inside Orangeburg or Calhoun counties can expect to pay around $1,656 to enroll in OCtech’s CNA program. Those who are either out-of-county or out-of-state residents can expect to pay around $2,025 and $2,691, respectively.