Qualifications and Regulations
The state of North Carolina is a bit more lenient than other states in terms of its qualifications for its Certified Nursing Assistants. There are many different ways to qualify to take the certification exam, with the option to challenge the exam without any classes. If an untrained challenger fails to pass the test, they must enroll in a state-approved program before their next attempt. Other candidates may enroll in state-approved nurse aide programs, which must total in at least 75 hours of instruction. Within these 75 hours, at least 16 must be spent in a clinical setting, receiving hands-on experience and practical instruction in a supervised work setting. There are many different locations to receive this training because of North Carolina’s more lenient regulations. Besides all the usual providers, like community colleges, hospitals, and nursing homes, North Carolina also permits high schools to provide CNA training. There are permissions for minors as young as 16 to receive training and even the opportunity to work on a youth permit for young CNAs. After completing an accredited program, the applicant will be required to take and pass the certification exam within two years from the date of completion. The certification exam is in two parts, a written portion and a clinical skills portion. Both sections must be passed within three attempts or else a training program must be redone before further attempts on the exam. The test is provided by a private company that handles many national nursing exams, Pearson VUE. The candidate is fully responsible for registering with Pearson VUE, scheduling their test-date, and ensuring all application materials are in order.
Wage and Cost
Working in North Carolina, a CNA can expect to make an average salary of around $22,000. This is a bit below the national average, though it fits the regional norm for North Carolina’s neighboring states. For the most part, southern states do not offer as high of compensation for CNAs as states in other parts of the country. North Carolina has a competitive pay rate among the Southern states, with a salary range between $18,700 and $24,900. This shows that entry-level CNAs are not paid as well as in other states, though with more work experience, their wage can climb above the national average. The cost for training programs can be wildly varied, depending on the type of program chosen. There are options for free training or to skip training altogether, but on the other hand, classes can be as expensive as a semester of tuition at a private college. Pearson VUE charges $101 to challenge both portions of the test.