Qualifications and Requirements
In Pennsylvania, the process for becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant is similar to most other states. Candidates must be at least 16 years old and complete a state-approved nurse aide training program. Other routes are possible as well, including nurse education at the college level or a valid certificate in from another state. Pennsylvania’s regulations require that CNA classes be at least 75 hours in total, with a portion of these hours spent gaining practical, clinical experience under the supervision of a licensed nurse. After completing a state-approved cna course, candidates must submit their application for the certification exam within two years or else repeat a CNA course. The applications should be sent first to Pearson VUE, which is a national test-provider for several different nursing certificates. For CNA certification, the test has two portions: written and practical skills. In order to schedule the date and location of the exam, the CNA candidate must also register through the DASHER system, a state registry board for testing sites. Registration will only be possible for candidates who have completed their healthcare education. Once applications have been sent to Pearson VUE and a test site chosen through DASHER, the candidate will receive confirmation by mail, which will detail the location and time of the certification exam.
Wage and Cost
The average salary for a CNA working in Pennsylvania is approximately $26,000. This is a very good wage among CNAs working in this country, placing among the top paying states. The salary received by those working in the state ranges between $22,800 and $29,000. Compared to the neighboring states of the New England region, Pennsylvania CNAs make more at the entry-level. Training programs can range in cost, but like in every other state, CNAs are not required to pay for their training independently. If the CNA receives an offer of employment within at least one year of completing their training, Pennsylvania is responsible for reimbursing the cost of training from their state funds which are provided for the costs. If hired by a nursing home that is funded Medicare or Medicaid, the nursing home will be responsible for reimbursing their employee for the cost of training. Training programs can be more expensive, due to limited availability in some of the less developed regions of the state. For example, a training program through the American Red Cross costs $1,300 in Pennsylvania. Keep in mind that the charges must be handled by the candidate until employment, at which point they can seek their reimbursement. Pearson VUE requires a $102 fee for taking both parts of the test, but this is the only administrative fee for registering in Pennsylvania.