Becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant in Virginia can be a great way to gain access to the booming healthcare industry. The primary ways to become a CNA are by examination or by endorsement. First-time nurses will be required to complete a state-approved nurse aide training program. Nurses currently or previously trained at a nursing school for a degree can also challenge the competency exam. State-approved training programs are required to provide at least 75 hours of instruction, including both classroom and clinical lessons. Time spent on the clinical training must total at least 40 hours and can only be conducted under the direct supervision of a qualified nurse. Training programs can be found at nursing homes, long-term care facilities, community colleges, and some high schools. In order to qualify for these programs, the trainee must have completed a high school degree or equivalent GED degree. Once the training program has been completed, the trainee is qualified to challenge the state competency exam. The test, consisting of a written portion and clinical skills portion, is provided by a private testing company, Pearson VUE. Registration with Pearson VUE can be completed online, though all requests must be approved in advance by the Virginia Board of Nursing. That means that the training program you attend will most likely facilitate your test registration by corresponding with the state board. After passing the test, the trainee will be certified as a CNA and included on the Virginia Nurse Aide Registry. The certification must be renewed every two years to remain valid.
The average salary of a nurses aide employed in Virginia is $24,000. This is slightly above the national average, extending along a range between $21,000 and $27,000. Compared to states in the surrounding region, nursing assistants in Virginia make a favorable wage. Though the highest paid CNAs do not make as much as their peers across the country, this may be due to the advanced certification available to CNAs in Virginia. Medical assistants who have been employed for at least three years are eligible to complete an advanced training program and apply for the new title. These nurse aides are not included in the statistics for their less experienced counterparts. The price for training in Virginia varies greatly, with some programs offered freely and others costing the price of a semester at community college. To register for the competency evaluation with Pearson VUE, there is a $94 fee to take both portions. Fortunately, due to federal regulations, the cost of certification can be reimbursed to employed CNAs, either by the employer or state funds, so long as the nurse aide remains in good standing with their employer.