CRNA Schools License Examination

The purpose of CRNA schools license examination is to verify and measure the skills, abilities and knowledge necessary for a newly trained professional to engage in nurse anesthesia practice. This unique and required examination is very similar in structure to many other examinations required by healthcare professionals. While the eligibility requirements can slightly vary from one state to another, the structure and layout of this exam is universal throughout the top CRNA schools across the nation. Continue reading to uncover vital information regarding the length, duration and format of the NBCRNA.

License Exam for CRNA Schools

The examination for registered nurse anesthetists is a variable-length digital examination performed on computers within a designated testing facility. The examination is used to gauge your understanding of the various components of this profession. While this unique and adaptive test can slightly vary, it generally consists of a minimum of 100 questions. However, out of these 100 questions only 70 are graded. The following 30 questions are non-graded pretest questions. It is possible to have more than 100 questions within the examination; however, as of January 2015, the maximum number of questions is 170. You will have a maximum of three hours to complete the examination.

While the majority of test questions are in multiple-choice format, expect to see various alternative question formats, which include: Multiple Correct Response, which consists of the question and four to eight possible responses. Within this type of question, more than one “answer” will be correct. If you’re faced with an MCR question, you must select all of the response options which are correct. The second question type is known as a Calculation Question. This is where the test taker is asked to answer a question using a numerical value.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist candidates will find that the technology used by CRNA schools online to test aspiring CRNAs has become quite advanced, which is made evident by the Computerized Adaptive Testing, or CAT, technology. Unlike previous tests, which featured a standard exam format, CAT adapts as you take the test. As you answer a question, the computer determines your competency level and chooses the following question based upon difficulty and appropriate content. This is repeated throughout the test, which means your examination is literally tailored to your knowledge base. This also ensures no test taker experiences the exact same test, which significantly reduces the likelihood of cheating or manipulating the examination in any fashion.

All tests are performed at Pearson VUE locations, which are found throughout the United States. The content within the examination is gathered from an approved bank of test questions, which is regularly updated every four to five years to ensure the questions asked are current and relevant to the modern techniques and challenges of a CRNA.

Certified Nursing Assistant – State Licensure

Certified nursing assistants are intimately involved in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients. Therefore, these professionals are required to undergo standardized training and examination. Although most states do not require CNAs to hold a license, almost all states, including Maine and Maryland require these professionals to hold a state-accredited certification before working in this field. While imperative for the success of a CNA, what’s the difference between a certificate and a license? Moreover, what steps are necessary to gain appropriate certification?

License vs Certification

Aspiring certified nursing assistants oftentimes become confused in regards to what paperwork is necessary to legally work in this field. While similar in function, as both reflect a certain level of experience and expertise, there is a stark difference between a license and a certification. According to the National Healthcare Association, a license is a government mandated regulation document to clearly define and outline the scope of a professional. A certification, on the other hand, is proof an individual has met specific standards and abilities to successfully perform a certain function.

While both seem similar, licensure requires in-depth education and a substantial amount of practical hours to earn when compared to certification. Due to the scope and nature of CNAs, licensure is not an appropriate skill measurement tool.

That being noted, certifications are often necessary to qualify for future licenses. For example, a certified nursing assistant may wish to expand her career by advancing to a registered nurse. While CNA certification is not necessary to progress to this level, being certified provides a solid foundation to build further knowledge. Moreover, a valid CNA certification may make you a more attractive option for prospective employers.

Obtaining CNA Certification – A Brief Overview

Unfortunately, there are many false CNA certification examinations available to the public. Certain organizations provide “certifications,” but don’t be fooled. Unless the certificate is accredited and sponsored by your state’s nursing board and professional licensing board, it is not a working certification.

The first step to obtain your CNA certification is to review a copy of your states Nursing Assistant Candidate Handbook. Within these pages are state-specific information regarding educational requirements, examination outline and other vital information.

Once you’ve taken all the required CNA certification classes, you may register to take the CNA examination. Successful completion of the written and clinical application portions of the exam qualifies you to register with your state’s board of nursing as a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Basic Job Functions of a Certified Nursing Assistant

According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, the job outlook for certified nursing assistants is anticipated to grow exponentially between now and the year 2022. In fact, this growth is expected to increase by 21 percent, which breaks down to just over 300,000 new jobs. This dramatic increase in job availability makes this an attractive option for those wishing to engage establish themselves in a rewarding and stable career.

CNA Classes & Training

The first thing an aspiring nursing candidate must do is to sign up for local CNA classes in their state. A CNA is responsible for general patient care, which includes things like taking blood pressure readings, distributing proper doses of medication, and ensuring their patients are comfortable while in in their care. Through a training program candidates will learn these basic skills, as well as the theoretical knowledge necessary for administering care. In addition to the theoretical knowledge, students will undergo hands-on medical training as part of their CNA classes and training. Typically, an examiner will oversee a final test after completing CNA classes, which will determine if the student is able to apply for their state’s CNA registry.

Certified Nursing Assistant Summary

On a foundational level, certified nursing assistants work to assist professional healthcare staff, which include doctors, registered nurses and other healthcare professionals, with duties related to patient care. While specific duties may vary according to employer, CNAs are typically responsible for overseeing and implementing procedures related to personal grooming, bathing and feeding of patients. Other duties revolve around specific departmental policies, which include maintaining the highest standards of patient hygiene and comfort. CNAs may assist nurses in gathering vitals such as blood pressure and heart rate. The type of training and certification undergone by a CNA determines his ability to perform certain tasks or work in specialized facilities, such as nursing homes.

Patient Care

The primary function of a certified nursing assistant is to care for patients. While these healthcare professionals are limited in terms of what procedures a CNA may perform. That being noted, standard policies require a CNA to ensure a patient is fed, bathed and dressed. These skills are a standard part of the CNA classes you will take on your journey towards CNA certification licensure. While not every patient may require full-assistance, some require much more intensive care depending on their mobility level.

Along with ensuring the patient is clean and comfortable, CNAs assist other medical staff by gathering and recording vital signs. CNAs are typically responsible for gathering and delivering this information to registered nurses or physicians.

Other common duties include light clerical work. For example, a CNA is typically involved in direct communication with charge nurses and other advanced-level professionals regarding daily patient improvements or any degradation in their health. Certified nursing assistants are typically involved with daily patient life on a much more intimate level than other nurses or physicians. Therefore, all job duties and functions require sensitivity to the mental and physical health of patients while simultaneously communicating in-depth patient information to nursing/medical staff.

While a certified nursing assistant may not be the most recognized or influential roles within a healthcare environment, the function of this position is paramount to patient care and rehabilitation. If you desire to play an active role in the diagnosis, treatment and recovery of patients then a career as a CNA may satisfy your personal and professional goals. Consider applying for CNA classes in your area to take the next step in your medical career.

Certified Nursing Assistant Salary Overview

While you should never go after a specific career simply because of the salary, it’s no secret how much a potential job pays does carry some weight during decision making. Although you may think you’d be happy with an exponentially large salary, if you aren’t satisfied with what you do for work, you’ll soon find yourself bored and dissatisfied. If you’re interested in helping patients in a medical surrounding while bringing home a decent salary, then you may want to consider a job as a CNA, or certified nursing assistant.

CNA Average Salary

Although the actual salary you take home depends on many factors, such as where you live and how long you’ve been working at a particular company, the average annual salary for certified nursing assistants is $24,420, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bereau of Labor Statistics.

Since this is the average, statistics show the bottom 10 percent earners took home a maximum of $18,000 per year, while the top 10 percent in this career field took home an average of $35,330 annually. Considering these salaries are derived from full-time certified nursing assistants, the annual salary is ample to support a decent lifestyle. But what about salaries for those in specific CNA fields?

Salary Based Upon Facility

Like many other professions, your take home salary may vary depending on where you actually work. For example, salary data gathered from the employment website, Glass Door, suggests CNAs who work in nursing homes tend to average $15.00 an hour while those working in standard medical clinics average $8 to $12-per hour.

How Can I Increase My Salary?

If you’re interested in pursuing this career, but wish to bring home a higher annual salary, there are several avenues you may travel down. Consider expanding your education to gain relevant certifications. If you continue to expand your knowledge you become more of a commodity to your employer. Therefore, you may garner a higher wage.

Those wishing to exponentially double their salary may want to use their experience as a certified nursing assistant and apply for a registered nurse degree program. While this program requires a college degree, the average annual salary of this advanced-level nursing position is just over $65,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s important to consider that while being a CNA enhances your working knowledge, it does not reduce the time commitment it takes to become a registered nurse.

Certified Nursing Assistant Examination – Overview

Examinations are a part of life for many professionals; the same is true for certified nursing assistants. Due to the nature of this profession, CNAs are carefully taken through a myriad of hands-on and theoretical training programs. Determining the effectiveness of this training is essential to ensure new CNAs are equipped with the skill and knowledge to professionally handle patients as well as the twists-and-turns of working in the medical field.

The first step successfully passing CNA certification exams is to understand this process. Each state oversees its own examination procedure; however, the following are universal requirements found throughout the United States. Always refer to your state’s nursing board for specific eligibility requirements and exam information.

CNA Application Requirements

All examinations require an initial application. Refer to the Candidate Handbook provided by your states licensing division to learn exact eligibility requirements. Review current state-specific application requirements by visiting the Pearson VUE website. Typically, the application requires your name, contact information, school ID, program completion date and a copy of your diploma/degree. During the application you must inform the testing agency of special accommodations. If you’re unsure how to go about this process, contact the administrator of your training program.

CNA Exam Fees

Certified nursing assistant examinations are broken into two primary modules: theory/written and practical application. Typically, the fee range for both units of the exam is around $112. Most states do not allow you to pay for only one exam unit at a time. These fees must be paid for when you submit the application.

Unfortunately, not every test taker passes both exams at the same time. If you require a re-test, you must pay for each re-test separately. For example, failure to pass both the written and skills tests requires separate payment for each; however, failure of only one of the two exam units requires payment for just the one testing module. Commonly, the practical portion of the exam is the most expensive to re-take.

Exam Units

The examination is separated into two parts. The first is a multiple-choice style exam covering topics regarding patient care and CNA responsibilities within a facility. The second portion of the examination is the practical test. This is where you demonstrate your hands-on ability to treat and tend to patients. In order to pass the entire certification process, you must successfully complete both exam units. Retests are possible. Refer to your state’s nursing board for re-test policies.

Final Scores

Final scores are traditionally delivered within 10 business days after the Nurse Assistant Evaluator faxes in the result sheets. Upon review, you’ll be notified by mail or through a secured online database of whether or not you passed both sections. If you fail either portion of the exam, you have up to three additional chances to pass the failed portions. Failure to do so may result in having to re-complete an approved training program before eligibility to test is re-instated.

For more information about becoming CNA certified, visit the source of this article, CNA Certification Scoop.