Does your student dream of making a difference in the medical field by improving the daily lives of others? If so, they may find the certified nursing assistant (CNA) career path fulfilling and rewarding. CNAs are exceptional caregivers who serve others on a daily basis. K12's career readiness education program, Destinations Career Academy, gives students the opportunity to integrate CNA high school courses into their curriculum. Project-based learning at Destinations gives students real-world experience that prepares them for what they will face as a CNA in the workplace.
Job Profile: Certified Nursing Assistant
Nursing assistants play a major role in healthcare facilities: they support registered nurses in daily tasks. From a high level, CNAs provide basic care and can dispense medication to patients. CNAs often develop relationships with their patients, especially in nursing homes and residential care facilities. Frequently, these relationships go as far as residents getting excited when they have their favorite CNA for a shift. When patients stay in facilities for extended periods, CNAs get to know them and their needs quite well. A typical day in the life of a certified nursing assistant entails:
Helping patients eat meals
Cleaning and bathing patients
Assisting patients in using the toilet and dressing
Measuring vital signs, such as temperature and blood pressure
Repositioning patients and transferring them between beds and wheelchairs
Listening to and recording health concerns of patients, then reporting that information to nurses
Each state has separate requirements for nursing assistants. There is often a state-approved education program that includes instruction on both nursing and clinical work. In addition to states, most employers require on-the-job training to learn about specific policies and procedures.
Completing the education program is only the beginning for nursing assistants. A state-issued license or certification is often needed for them to practice. After passing a competency exam, they can use state-specific titles, such as CNA. Once nursing assistants pass the exam, they get placed on a state registry. Being registered is a requirement to be able to work at many facilities, including nursing homes. The CNA training programs offered by Destinations help prepare students for the exams critical to the success of nursing assistants. A few of these certifications include:
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Exam
American Medical Certification Association (AMCA) Nursing Assistant Certification (NAC) Exam
Certified Medication Assistant (CMA)
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
Basic life support (BLS)
Learning Nursing at Destinations Career Academy
The healthcare industry is home to some of the fastest-growing careers. If your student shows interest in the medical field, exploring CNA education programs will ensure stability in the future of our economy. By 2028, the expected growth rate for nursing-related jobs is 9 percent. The median salary in 2018 was $28,530, and by 2028 there will be a projected 137,800 new jobs in the nursing assistant field.
Going through these certification courses after high school isn't the only way to become a CNA. The Nursing Assistant pathway at Destinations provides students the opportunity to gain this experience while pursuing their high school diploma—giving them an advantage over many others their age.
Nursing Assisting Pathway
The Nursing Assistant pathway at Destinations prepares students for getting relevant jobs right out of high school. Destinations students have opportunities for hands-on experience through internships, apprenticeships, and job shadows. Project-based curriculum, like Healthcare Explorations, allows students to do the work instead of merely reading how to do it. The projects in this course emulate tasks that CNAs are often asked to complete, like taking vital signs, setting up medical equipment, or administering medication. This lets the students know exactly what to expect when they get into a work environment.
As soon as students decide on a CNA career path, they begin their career-focused education. In addition to traditional high school courses, students in the Nursing Assistant Pathway will take:
Health Science II
Anatomy and Physiology 1 & 2
Nursing Assistant 1, 2, & 3
The Nursing Assistant pathway prepares students for two certification exams. The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Exam and the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA) Nursing Assistant Certification (NAC) Exam are both necessary to put students ahead of the competition. Students can start earning money right after high school with these certifications. At Destinations Career Academy, we want our students to start finding what they are passionate about early on so they can kick-start their future.
Professional Skills for Nursing Assistants
CNAs perform a wide variety of tasks throughout a regular day and need a diverse skill set to complete them. Both the hard and soft skills used in Destinations' Nursing Assistant pathway are essential for students to incorporate in their daily life. In addition to being comforting, courageous, hopeful, accepting, and gentle, nursing assistants must master:
Empathy, patience, and compassion
The ability to follow rules and protocol
Written and verbal communication
Technical Skills for Nursing Assistants
Healthcare-specific technical skills, or measurable abilities, are also necessary to ensure success. Once students learn the technical skills through both training and hands-on working experience, they can perform their work. Courses through the Nursing Assistant pathway at Destinations Career Academy will teach students the skills and how to apply their new skillsets. The technical skills for a successful start to a CNA career path are:
Knowledge of medical terminology
CPR and first-aid certification
Understanding of HIPAA and patient privacy
Proficiency of basic patient care skills
Utilization of proper documentation standards
The nursing assistant program at Destinations Career Academy teaches students these skills through career readiness education. Career-focused courses give students a purpose when diving into their future area of study. As students go through their learning journey, they begin to refine their interests. They can then choose to commit to a CNA high school program with more specialized classes focusing on technical skills. This familiarizes students with necessary foundational skills and provides them hands-on experience with industry professionals.
Destinations equips students with access to tools like Nepris and Tallo. These tools are valuable resources for students when used correctly. Tallo connects students with employers and colleges nationwide, while Nepris enables students to hear directly from industry professionals about their journey, experience, and day-to-day work life. Tallo also has a built-in tool that makes it easier for students to find potential scholarships.
Exploring Nursing Assisting at Destinations Career Academy
Showing support of your student's passions can open opportunities and provide them with a sense of purpose. If your student lives to heal and loves to encourage those around them, a chance to explore the CNA career path at Destinations Career Academy may be what they need to discover their full potential. If health sciences, information documentation, or caretaking interests your student, this Pathway may help them find success.
Learn more about IT Career Readiness Education and K12’s innovative approach to empowering exploration.