How to Become a CNA Instructor

Four Parts:Gaining Early ExperienceGetting the Proper EducationObtaining Certification to Become a CNA InstructorFinding a Job as a CNA Instructor

A CNA instructor provides hands on training for nurses before they enter the workforce. If you're passionate about medicine, helping others, and teaching, becoming a CNA instructor would be a great career for you. To become a CNA instructor, you must have a variety of specific training. You need to be a registered nurse, with a few years of experience working in a hospital setting. You also must work on developing the proper skills. Throughout your education and work, look for leadership and teaching opportunities. This will help your application stand out when applying for CNA positions. When you find a position, the job should be a rewarding, inspiring experience as you'll be inspiring future nurses to make the most out of their careers.

Part 1
Gaining Early Experience

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    Work hard in high school to get good grades. If you want to get into a nursing school, you will need high grades. Work hard throughout high school to earn high marks. This can lead to you getting into a great nursing program following graduation.[1]
    • Study hard in school and do not neglect your homework. Do your homework after school, and spend time over the weekend working and studying.
    • If you're struggling in a particular subject, ask your parents about hiring a tutor. You can also talk to the teacher about the issues you're having and ask for help.
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    Stock up on science and math courses. Aim for four years of math and science courses in high school. Medical fields require a lot of scientific and mathematical knowledge. Having a good deal of math and science courses on your college application can help you get into a quality school.[2]
    • If your school offers Advance Placement (AP) courses, sign up for these.
    • In addition to taking high level math and science courses, study hard for any standardized test you take. High marks on the math and science portion of the ACT or SATS can help set your application apart.
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    Volunteer at a hospital. Nurses engage in a lot of hands on work in the hospital. As a CNA, you need to work as a nurse for a set number of years. Therefore, it's a good idea to get some experience working in a hospital setting. Look into volunteer programs at a local hospital to work on building your experience early on.[3]
    • You can call a local hospital and ask if they take volunteers. You can also ask to shadow a nurse for a day so you can learn about the career.
    • You may be able to get a job in a hospital, even out of high school. You may be able to do basic work, like assisting a nurse with things like cleanup. You may also be able to work in an administrative role, such as working the front desk.
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    Learn about the career. You want to make sure a CNA instructor is the right career for you. Prior to beginning your higher education, familiarize yourself with the duties of a CNA.[4]
    • As a CNA instructor, teaching is a big part of your job. You will teach classes that are assigned by a hospital's administration to future nurses. Make sure you're comfortable with the idea of teaching if you want to be a CNA.
    • You also have to perform basic administrative duties. You'll have to track student grades and attendance, as well as maintain time sheets and organize student transcripts. Make sure you're a highly organized person before embarking on the path to becoming a CNA.

Part 2
Getting the Proper Education

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    Get a degree from an accredited nursing school. You must spend 2 to 4 years studying at an accredited nursing school in order to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. You will need to become a nursing assistant before you can become a CNA, so nursing school is vital to your career path.[5][6]
    • A four year degree will provide you with a more advanced, well-rounded education. You will usually receive a Bachelor's of Science in nursing. A four year degree can help you become a better teacher down the road, but may be more expensive. A 2 year degree is enough to become a registered nurse, if money is an issue for you.
    • You will receive both theoretical and hands-on training during nursing school. You will often take lecture-based classes on anatomy, ethics, and things like adult and newborn care and elder care. You will also learn in a laboratory setting for science courses, and go into a hospital for clinical rotations where you'll practice with actual patients.
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    Make the most out your college experience. If you want to become a CNA instructor eventually, start gaining experience now. Work on taking on extracurriculars and jobs in college that can help with your CNA instructor application.
    • As administrative duties are so important to becoming a CNA, you can try to apply for administrative jobs. Try working as a secretary or working the front desk of a hotel.
    • You should also look for opportunities to teach. Start tutoring fellow students. Ask a professor or teacher whether you can TA for a class.
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    Study for your NCLEX-RN exam. After finishing nursing school, you are required to take what is known as the NCLEX-RN exam. This is an exam that tests you on all the basic knowledge necessary to become a registered nursing assistant. Prior to your exam date, study hard to assure you receive passing marks.[7]
    • Read books and articles on how to improve test taking skills, especially if you're prone to anxiety. Test taking skills are key to passing the exam, and going into the exam relaxed and confident can help.
    • Review previous test you've taken to asses your strengths and weaknesses. Study hard in the areas that you struggled with in school.
    • If your school provides a review course for the exam, you should definitely enroll. These are usually 3 to 5 days courses that review everything you learned in nursing school.
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    Pass your exam. The night before the exam, get a good night's sleep. Wake up in time to have a healthy breakfast, as you'll want to be alert and energetic for the exam.[8][9]
    • Try to stay calm in the exam room. Remind yourself it's okay to be nervous, but do not let your nerves inhibit your ability to do well on the test. Take it one question at a time and go at your own pace. Do not worry about what others are doing.
    • In the event you do not pass the exam, you can retake it. Retake policies vary by states. In some states, you must wait a set period before retaking the exam. When applying for the exam, check retake policies so you will have a game plan ready in the event you do not pass the exam.
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    Check if your state has other requirements. After you pass the exam, contact your state's nursing board. They can provide you with information on how to finalize your license, and also provide information on other requirements your state may have. Specific requirements vary by state. In some states, further action, such as a criminal background check, will be needed to become a registered nursing assistant after passing the NCLEX-RN exam.[10][11]

Part 3
Obtaining Certification to Become a CNA Instructor

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    Work as a nurse for a number of years. Requirements vary by state, but in most states you will need to work as a nurse for 2 to 3 years before you can become a CNA instructor. Get a job in a hospital, nursing home, or other place where CNAs are required.[12]
    • Talk to past contacts about employment. Teachers from nursing school, as well as your classmates, may have connections that will help you get a job.
    • Work hard as a CNA. It's vital that you do an outstanding job if you want to be a CNA instructor. This way, you can give the best advice and guidance possible to budding CNAs.
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    Gain leadership and teaching experience as a nurse. Make the most of your employment as a nurse. You should work towards gaining experience that will make your CNA instructor application stand out.
    • Look for leadership experience. If you volunteer for a local organization, take on leadership roles there. If there is some kind of organization of CNAs in your hospital, take an active role there.
    • You should also look into teaching experience. You can return to your nursing school and volunteer as tutor or work as a TA. Much of your work as a CNA instructor takes place inside the classroom, so teaching experience is vital to doing a good job.
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    Take the CNA instructor training course required by your state. Each state requires a specific CNA instructor training course. You can contact your local nursing board, or ask at your place of employment, for details on the course you need to take. The course should prepare you to instruct future CNAs.[13]
    • The course is usually not long. You usually have to complete a set number of hours for training, after which point you will be certified as a CNA instructor.

Part 4
Finding a Job as a CNA Instructor

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    Write a solid resume. Once you're ready to apply for jobs as a CNA instructor, work on putting out a solid resume. A resume should highlight all relevant experience that makes you qualified to become a CNA. It should also include the certifications you've accrued over the years that make you legally able to teach.[14]
    • Choose a legible font for your resume, and keep formatting neat and consistent. If you're unsure where to start, you can look at sample resumes online.
    • Explain your experience in as impressive means as possible. Do not write, "Tutored fellow students." Instead, write, "Provided one-on-one instruction to peers during one hour tutoring session, improving their overall knowledge of nursing practices."
    • Include any special skills you have, such as skills with a particular type of hospital technology.
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    Apply for a variety of jobs. Once you have your resume together, you can begin the application process. Send your resume out to a variety of places looking for CNA instructors. You can find jobs on online job boards, especially job boards catered to medical positions. You can also call local hospitals and nursing schools and inquire about CNA instructor positions.[15]
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    Ask past contacts for help finding a job. Networking is one of the best means to find a job, so do not hesitate to take advantage of past contacts. Call up old instructors, teachers, colleagues, and supervisors. See if anyone has a lead on a CNA instructor position, and ask whether they can put in a good word for you.
    • You should also have a number of people willing to act as a reference on an application. Always ask first when using someone as a reference.
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    Practice solid interview skills. When you begin to get interviews, work on honing your interview skills. You want to be able to impress at an interview, as this greatly increases your chance of getting a job.[16]
    • Always dress your best. Do not show up in jeans and a t-shirt. Wear professional attire to make it clear you take the position seriously.
    • Research the school or hospital beforehand to get a sense of its mission and goals. You should also prepare answers for typical interview questions. Have an idea of what you'll say if someone asks you something like, "What's your greatest weakness."
    • Show you are listening throughout the interview. Give non-verbal cues, such as smiling and nodding, to show you are paying attention. At the end of the interview, ask an open-ended question like, "Why do you like working here?" or "What does an average day look like here?"
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    Begin your career as a CNA instructor. Once you've gained a position, your career can begin. Work hard at being the best CNA instructor possible so you can have a long, fulfilling career.[17]
    • Care about your students. Be willing to explain concepts in easily understandable terms, and reach out to students who are struggling. Be willing to provide one-on-one support when necessary.
    • Take care to be well organized. CNA instructors have a lot of administrative duties, so make sure to keep track of any paperwork you receive.

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