State regulations on Certified Nursing Assistants in Utah are similar to others across the country. All CNAs must be adequately trained to the standards of the Utah Board of Nursing. State-approved training programs are required to provide at least 80 hours of instruction to trainees. Before the CNA is permitted to continue their training with direct-patient care, they must complete 16 hours of introductory lessons on patient care and basic nursing protocol. After completing mandatory training, the trainee will be qualified to challenge the state competency exam. The two parts of this test are designed to demonstrate the candidate’s knowledge-base and ability to perform the daily tasks of a CNA. One distinction to Utah’s certification process is the skills portion of the certification test. Along with the five random skill tests, the easiest skill tests of vital monitoring and hand-washing are required. Other states include those skills with the list of possible tests, meaning some applicants could get lucky with a simpler test. The candidate must pass the written portion of the test with at least a score of 75% and complete all skill tests with only two hints allowed. Once the test is passed, the certification only lasts two years, but certificate renewal is free if all prerequisites are met and the renewal is filed on time.
State Wages & Cost of Training
A CNA employed in Utah can expect an average salary of approximately $21,000. This is below the national average and ranks among the least competitive wages among CNAs in the United States. The salary bracket extends from $19,000 at the lower end to $23,000 at the top. With several population deserts, there is a smaller elderly population to provide CNAs with employment, which may explain the lower wage. With less work, there are less experienced CNAs and so the highest earners do not make much compared to states with highly educated and thoroughly experienced CNAs. The cost of training varies between state-approved programs, though trainees can expect the cost of their tuition to range from $250 to $800 at nursing homes and specialized healthcare training centers. Vocational schools and community/technical colleges will be more expensive. The test fee for taking both portions of the competency evaluation test is $70, or $35 each. Because of the relatively low income for CNAs working in Utah, it may be a good idea to relocate after a few years of work experience to find better wages in the surrounding states.