As each year goes by, more and more baby boomers are reaching retirement age. With recent technological innovations in the medical field, people are living much longer. Because of this combination, the need for quality healthcare has increased, and along with it an increase in the need for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). The US Department of Labor has suggested that the number of CNA jobs will increase 21 percent by the year 2022. Bearing this in mind, there's never been a better time to begin a CNA career in West Virginia.
CNAs are employed in a wide variety of healthcare settings. Common tasks that are performed include taking and recording vitals, bathing, feeding, transferring and grooming patients. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that the mean annual salary of nursing assistants in West Virginia is approximately $23,000.
If you are looking to begin on the path towards a career as a CNA, you should first research the top programs in your area. Taking the following into consideration can be helpful:
The very first step on the road toward becoming a licensed CNA is to enroll in a state-approved program. To be ‘state-approved', a course must be authorized by the West Virginia Office of Health Facility Licensure & Certification. To gain this authorization, programs must be composed of 120 hours at minimum, of which 55 hours must be dedicated to supervised clinical instruction. Typically, these hours are completed over a period of four to six weeks.
Registered Nursing and Licensed Practical Nursing students can challenge the state CNA assessment if they have completed the fundamentals of nursing classwork and have conducted at least 32 hours of hands-on training at a nursing facility in the state.
When students have fulfilled the above requirements, they can then sit for the competency exam. The state of West Virginia contracts Professional Healthcare Development, LCC to administer the exam. This exam is composed of two sections-theory/knowledge and practical skills. The theory/knowledge section of the exam is composed of a series of multiple-choice questions which can be taken in either a written or oral format. These questions test the CNA candidate's knowledge of nursing assistant theory. The practical skills part of the test requires CNA candidates to demonstrate proficiency in a number of skills which are integral to employment as a nursing assistant. Candidates are required to pass this exam within two years of having completed their respective training programs. West Virginia permits students to test up to three times before having to retrain.
Valley College is a private post-secondary educational institution which operates campuses in Beckley, Princeton, and Martinsburg. The college was founded in 1988 and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.
Valley College offers students a CNA program that can be completed in as little as six weeks. This program is offered in an on-campus format and consists of a mixture of in-class lecture and discussion, lab skills practice and a clinical externship. Topics included in the program’s curriculum include nutrition, fundamental nursing skills, infection control, restorative care and more. Valley College offers its students tutoring services as well as job placement assistance. Financial Aid is available for this program for those that qualify.
For current information on Valley College’s CNA program tuition, call VC at (304) 263-0979 or (304) 425-2323.
BridgeValley Community and Technical College is a two-year technical college that primarily serves communities in the Charleston metropolitan area. BVCTC formed in 2014 due to a merger between Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College in South Charleston and Bridgemont Community and Technical College in Montgomery.
BVCTC offers students a three-credit Nursing Assistant certificate program (ALHL 103) which has been designed to equip students with the appropriate knowledge and skills that are required for entry-level employment as a CNA. The course is composed of three main components—lecture and discussion, practical lab skills and a clinical clerkship which is carried out at a local long-term care facility.
BVCTC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program will cost in-state students approximately $540 to attend. Out-of-state students will be required to pay approximately $1,287 to enroll.