West Virginia is stricter than other states when it comes to their qualifications for Certified Nursing Assistants. There are several ways to become certified, though all paths to certification require that the candidate challenge the state competency evaluation. Before taking the certification exam, West Virginia requires that candidates complete a training program of at least 120 hours of instruction. Within these 120 hours, 65 must be spent on classroom instruction and 55 must be spent gaining clinical experience in a nursing home or long-term care facility. Online programs do not qualify. The certification exam must be challenged within two years of completing training, or else training must be repeated. The exam has two parts: a written portion and a skills portion. The test is distributed by a state testing agent, called Professional Healthcare Development. CNA candidates must register for the test themselves, though the director of the training program often facilitates the entire process for the trainees. Once the competency evaluation has been taken and passed, certification is complete and the CNA is permitted to be employed at a nursing home or long-term care facility. The certification is only valid for two years, and must be renewed in order to continue employment.
The average CNA working makes a yearly wage of approximately $21,000. This is below the national average. Considering the amount of time required for training, the salary is not very competitive. There are other states, such as New Hampshire or Maryland, that require a similar number of instruction hours, but there is much more compensation for the time spent on education. That being said, West Virginia’s salary for CNAs matches the regional norm, with most southern states offering less pay for the work of a nurse aide. The cost of training varies, with programs available at nursing homes, long-term care facilities, vocational colleges, community colleges, high schools, and other educational or healthcare institutions. The least expensive choices will be offered by educational programs that are not run for profit, such as nursing homes and high schools. These types of programs will have less availability due to smaller class sizes and limited resources. If you are forced to take more expensive classes, there is federal funding available for the cost of CNA training. So long as the CNA gains employment within one year of completing training and remains in good standing with their employer, they are qualified to be reimbursed for their expenses, either by the employer or from state funds.