CNA Training in LTC Facility vs. Community College?

  1. Does anyone have an opinion on the merits of obtaining CNA certification through an in-house LTC facility programme vs. a community or technical college programme?

    I am still completing my prerequisites for application to a highly competitive A.A.Sc. nursing programme here in Seattle. Since admission is decided on a 'point' basis (you get X number of points per qualification; having a CPR card is worth 1 point, getting a 3.0 in a specific course is worth 8 points, being a CNA is worth 15 points, etc.), I've decided to obtain CNA certification to enhance my application. Also, since there is a dearth of CNA's in this area, I would like to have my CNA so I can work as a Unit Coordinator or something while I'm in school.

    There are a couple of community college/technical school programmes in my area, most 3 months in length. The average cost seems to be right around $500, not including books or uniforms. There is also a nursing home near me that is currently enrolling for a CNA class to start in January. That class is free, and the nursing home will offer us a job when we graduate, if we want one (I don't, at least not right now). The class itself, however, is only 3 weeks long.

    I'm just wondering whether the nursing home class, which does meet state licencing requirements, will adequately prepare me for work outside the nursing home environment, i.e., a hospital. Any opinions? I'm especially interested in hearing from RN's who have worked with both school-trained and LTC-trained CNA's. Any difference in competence levels?

    Thanks in advance for your opinions!
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   fence
    RN2B2005--
    I was a D.O.N. in a LTC facility for 4 years and we had a CNA training program. First if the Nursing home is offering a free CNA program they probably will not enroll you unless you sign a contract to work for them for a certain amount of time. These classes cost the facility cash. They have to pay their trainer, have cost for equipment and study materials. As for the training, some facilities in my area are known for fudging on the training just to get a warm body on the floor. So be careful. Ask how long you will be in classroom and how long you will have for clinicals WITH a preceptor. As for Community college I would say you would be better off going this route if you are not interested in immediate employment.
    Jimmy
  4. by   eak16
    Since you happen to be in Seattle, look into the Nursing Assistant Training Institute in Shoreline. I went there to get my CNA certification and it did certainly help me to get into Nursing School.
    Now it is NOT pretty!!!!! you will likely be BORED TO DEATH in the classes and it is located in a strip mall :-), but I felt prepared to take the state test after doing the class.
    It is cheaper than the community college program ($325) and you aren't tied to an LTC upon completion
  5. by   colleen10
    Hi RN2B2005,

    I'm planning starting clinicals next fall and I did a lot of research into educational options to become a CNA.

    I even interviewed at an LTC that was offering a training program like the one you described.

    I'm sure it's a little different because we are in different states but one thing I will tell you is that nothing is free so be very careful if you decide to go the LTC route. I interviewed at an LTC that would pay for my CNA training and offer me a job once I completed the program. At first it sounded perfect. I would complete their program in 2 months, which was offered in part by my local Community College where I was planning getting my ASN, and then I would be assigned the 3-11PM shift, full time. But the more I looked over "the paperwork" I discovered that the program was not what it appeared to be.

    They would pay for my training and I would guarentee to be an employee for them for 1 year. It was not 100% definite that I would be hired full time and the facility had every discretion to make me a part time employee if they wanted. The big problem I had with that was part time people made 7.15 and hour while a full time employee made 10.10 and hour. Full time employee could also recieve merit bonuses, etc. while part time could not. And, part time employees had to work every weekend and every holiday where as full time only had to work every other weekend and some holidays.

    I decided that I would not pursue that avenue.

    Even though you might have to pay for it out of your own pocket, it might be worth it to go to a tech. school or community college just so you know that when you start working you aren't "beholden" to anyone.

    if you do go the LTC route just make sure you read all of the fine print.

    Good luck to you!

    Col
  6. by   tattooednursie
    I got my CNA cert at my LTC facility. The hospital paid for the class. The uniforms I had to pay for, but I got PAID for taking the class. It was a cool deal.
  7. by   mario_ragucci
    If you got the money, pay all at once at a private school in your area to allow you to take the state test. Once you have the license, you'll be able to work anywhere if you want. Just make sure to LEARN the skills for the incredibly hard practical skills demonstration for the state licensure. Super hardcore pressure.

    I went to a private place to learn the CNA skills. It cost $700 all together when you pay for the cost of taking the test and your clinicals and uniform and book.

    I wished I couldhave been videod during that CNA exam. Lol. I sweated so much during that exam that my face was wet. I'm not telling a lie.
  8. by   mattsmom81
    I teach in a community/vocational college and we offer a course leading to state certification for our NA's.

    Perhaps I am prejudiced here, but I feel we train a much higher calibre than the NH's do...and having state certified NA's only helps a facility and it's residents, IMHO.

    Facilities tend to train their employees to do what THEY want them to do...state programs teach a comprehensive program that prepares the student to take an entry level position in home health, hospitals, or LTC facilities...and to do it right. At least mine does here in Texas.

    The first few weeks of nursing school essentially cover the CNA program...so your NA training sure won't be wasted IMO..you'll fall right into your program and have an easier first few weeks than others.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.
  9. by   RN2B2005
    Thanks everyone for your responses!

    I called the LTC on Friday and spoke with the programme director. She was not very forthcoming; she wouldn't tell me (over the phone, at least) what my obligations would be if I took the course her facility offered, nor would she provide a breakdown of classroom vs. practical hours.

    Since the nursing assistant programme at the Nursing Assistant Training Institute is only a few weeks long, I think I am going to go that route. It's more expensive ($445 now) than the LTC, but is about the same price as a community college and is faster. I really don't want to be trapped in a LTC facility as an indentured servant.

    Anyhow, thank you!!
  10. by   mario_ragucci
    Your doing the right thing. $445 sounds inexpensive. How much is it gonna cost you to take the test? How much are the books? How much are you gonna spend on a pair of scrubs? How much will you pay for your actual licensure once you pass the test? I feel very special to finally see someone who is doing what I did last year. Thank you.
  11. by   emily_mom
    I think it's up to you what you can afford. Are you going to work in a LTC facility when you're done? Then, I would take it at a NH that offers it. I did that, and I was paid for the 2 week class. I worked for them for 6 months (3d/month!!!) and then I was done. They usually do not require a certain number of hours per week. I felt very well trained for the state certification, and I wasn't nervous at all!

    If you don't want to be stuck, then maybe you should take it at a school. It's expensive, though. I've worked with people that have taken the classes both places and I can't tell the difference between their skills.

    Whichever you decide, I'm sure you'll do fine. Good luck to you!

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