Like other industries, the nursing field not only needs qualified personnel to fulfill nursing positions, it also needs people with a passion for passing along nursing knowledge through teaching. Certified Nursing Assistant instructors teach nursing students the skills necessary to fulfill basic nursing duties in hospitals, assisted living facilities and long-term care centers. Similar to other nursing positions, women make up a vast majority of CNA and CNA instructors, nearly 88 percent of all nursing aides in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Education and Experience
The road to becoming a CNA instructor starts with earning an associate's or bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing school or program. After completing schooling, she must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Passing the NCLEX-RN qualifies the nurse to gain a license to practice in her state. Along with a solid nursing education, CNA instructors should have some professional experience, since many employers require at least one year of experience. Numerous employers mandate that a CNA instructor’s professional experience come from a nursing home, long-term or elderly care setting. Some employers also ask for previous teaching experience.
Most states mandate that CNA instructors take and pass an instructor training course or train-the-trainer course. These courses come from vocational schools, community colleges and medical facilities. In Missouri, for example, potential CNA instructors can choose between the train-the-trainer courses from the Long-Term Care Association or the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The length of training varies from provider to provider, but typically training takes one week to several months to complete. Most training programs ask a student to submit an application for training that proves she meets the requirements for that state.
Once she fulfills all education, experience and training qualifications, the CNA instructor can apply for a license through the state where she will practice. Each state sets its own license requirements, but generally they include submitting an application, pay the licensing fee and turning in documentation proving education and experience. Some states require certification of CNA instructors, rather than licensure. Certification comes with the same requirements as licensure; holding an RN license, completing a train-the-trainer course and fulfilling professional experience requirements.
Because she is fulfilling a teaching role, as well as nursing role, the CNA instructor should have a good understanding of CNA basics and excellent written and oral communication skills to pass along that knowledge. Working with students, the CNA instructor must be patient, diligent and willing to put in the extra time with students who need additional help in and beyond class. A CNA instructor must be able to coach students on how to take vital signs and perform clinical duties like feeding, toileting, hygiene and mobility, ultimately preparing each student to take the CNA certification exam.
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