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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is an entry-level health professional who works under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to provide a wide variety of basic hands-on patient care.

What type of work is performed by CNAs?

Some of the typical tasks provide by CNAs include taking a patient’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration rate; keeping patient records in terms of food/fluid intake and output; assisting patients with grooming and personal hygiene; obtaining food trays and assisting residents with feeding; and working with residents on range-of-motion exercises and movements.

What types of skills does a person require to be a competent CNA?

A person interested in this type of career should be very interested and willing to provide hands-on patient care. In addition, a CNA must be able to react quickly and effectively in emergency situations and be able to communicate well with patients, their families and medical staff.

Where do CNAs work? What is the starting salary for an entry-level CNA?

In general, most CNAs are employed in long-term patient care facilities. CNAs also provide home health care, and work in hospitals and other medical facilities. An entry-level CNA is usually paid about $9 to $11 per hour.

What is the current job outlook for this profession?

The CNA is one of the ten fastest-growing careers in health care, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This type of work is expected to maintain its momentum of fast growth through at least the year 2012.

Is there a certification process that must be completed to work as a CNA?

Yes. While requirements vary from state to state, in Illinois, once a student has successfully completed an approved CNA course (such as the program offered at C.O.D.), he or she must then pass the Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) written nursing competency test for certification.

What type of CNA program does C.O.D. offer?

College of DuPage offers an 11-week CNA course (Health Sciences 1105) that provides in-class and clinical training. This course is offered at several different times and locations, with start times offered three times per academic year.

Is there a separate application process for the CNA program at C.O.D.? Are there any program prerequisites?

Yes, details are available in the CNA Handbook. Students must have a 5th grade education and are required to have a physical exam, updated immunizations, drug test and a criminal background check to participate in the program. In addition, students are required to satisfy both the reading and writing competency requirements as stated in the CNA Handbook.