Is it worth it for me to become a CNA before nursing school?

Nursing Students General Students


Hi everyone,

I'm taking my pre-requisites this year and am hopefully starting nursing school next September. I don't have any healthcare experience, and I am pretty nervous for clinicals next year, so I was considering becoming a CNA before I start nursing school. However, the only CNA program I know of in my city is at Red Cross and is full time for 4 weeks. I wont be able to do the program until the middle of May, since I am taking my pre-requisites until then. I'm not sure if it will be worth it to pay $800 to do the program, and then have 2 months to work as a CNA before school starts. But on the other hand, I know I will feel more comfortable going into nursing school with some healthcare experience, even if it is just 2 months. And I suppose having done the CNA program will help me during nursing school.

Does anyone have any advice? Thanks :)

If you can afford it, then it would only be a benefit. If you can't afford it, school might be a bit of a rougher start but you'd be okay.

Even though it's so close to school starting, maybe you could work one shift a week while school, both to offset the cost of the CNA class as well as to simply get additional exposure to the clinical environment and interaction with patients and other health care personnel.

The biggest drawback, as you noted, is that the class doesn't start sooner. So maybe you can keep looking for other opportunities. Some other things that might be possibilities depending on what's available in your area:

-Some nursing homes offer nursing assistant training. Get out the phone book, call and ask.

-Some community colleges or other vocational programs might offer some kind of nursing assistant trainining. Try to find all schools and programs within commuting distance.

-Some other fairly short assistive personnel courses are out there, such as to be a unit secretary, monitor tech or phlebotomist.

Personally, I think unit secretary is a great position for a nurse-to-be. Nursing assistant gives you important hands-on patient care experience, while unit secretary can increase familiarity with medication orders and other orders as well as communication with physicians and other departments, something students may not get much exposure to all.

I'm signing up to start a CNA course this coming January. It's a bit pricier than some other vocational schools around my area, but they offer an 8 week class and then you're eligible to take the CNA state test. It's something like 74 hours of theory and 104 hours of clinical I believe.

I've tried to apply for the unit secretary positions but I don't think my non medical background is competitive enough so I'm hoping getting my CNA and some experience under my belt I can apply and at least get an interview for a unit secretary position b/c I also think that's a great way to get into a hospital nursing environment during school!!

Good luck!

I think that even if you do not have the oppertunity to WORK as a CNA it will be worth it to take the class. I am starting my first semester in January and I took a CNA course and became certified year and a half ago. I never had the chance to actually work as a CNA due to situations that have happened in my life... but, I do not regret taking the class one bit. It helped me to determine that the health care field is really what I wanted to get into. As a CNA, you work you rear end off and if you can get through that job and still enjoy what you are doing... then nursing is the right job for you! Also, just having my CNA certificate helped with my points to get into the school I am attending next semester. Good Luck!

delete - repeated same thing as previously posted

It helps and I would totally do it if you are waiting to get into a program but I would not work as a CNA first before starting nursing school because it will only help so much

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