Frequently Asked Questions About CNAs

The Certified Nurse Aide course is the most popular of all the medical certification courses Quality Career Pathways offer. Because we graduate so many CNAs, we understand the common questions that arise around this career choice. So, we have gathered those FAQs and provided the answers below.

Quality Career Pathways

How long does it take to become a CNA in Nebraska?

The CNA course takes 76 hours of training to complete. It is made up of online learning through simulations, videos, and practice exams, plus classroom hours for hand-on skills training. At the end of the course, you will have to demonstrate skills and pass a written exam.

How much does it cost to become CNA certified in Nebraska?

The CNA course at Quality Career Pathways is affordable. We price all our courses competitively and present the tuition rates as all-inclusive. That means there are no surprise fees later. Tuition rates include everything you need to become a CNA including registration fees, course materials, one attempt to pass your state written exam, and one attempt to pass your state clinical exam. All testing is completed on-site at the end of your course and is administered by a state-approved instructor. QCP offers payment plans.

NOTE: Not all schools include testing fees with “tuition/registration” resulting in an additional payment to a 3rd party at a later date or separate location. Testing is INCLUDED with QCP payment at time of registration and testing is onsite.

What if I am not sure I want to invest the time and money into becoming a CNA?

While it is relatively quick and easy to become a CNA, some people are not ready to make that commitment yet. If you are just starting to pursue a medical career, consider becoming a Personal Care Assistant (PCA). This 12-hour course covers the basics of caring for others. You can then get a job with an assisted living facility hospital or in-home care provider to test the waters. If you decide it is the career for you, then add on CNA credentials! We see this career path often, so we allow our PCA graduates to apply their PCA tuition towards a CNA certification within 60 days of completing their PCA course.

How long does a CNA license last?

A CNA license is valid for two years. As long as you continue to use your CNA skills in a work environment during that time at a licensed facility, your license will automatically renew. However, if you go two years without working as a CNA, you will need to get re-certified.

If I let my CNA license lapse, how do I get re-certified?

If it has been two or more years since you have worked as a CNA, your license will have lapsed and you will need to get re-certified. To do so, you will need to sit for your exams again. Quality Career Pathways offers a CNA Refresher Course that includes study materials, skills testing and written exam in one day!

How much does a CNA make in Nebraska?

While we cannot predict salary levels, according to Zip Recruiter the average national CNA hourly rate in 2022 is $16. This means a full time CNA could earn an annual salary around $33,000.

What are the job opportunities for a CNA?

There are a variety of career options for a CNA including private care, home care and hospital jobs. Please refer to this post for more details.

Ready to get started?

Quality Career Pathways

5 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Certification

With all the medical certifications out there, how do you know which one is the right one for you? We are here to set you on the right pathway and help you when selecting a certification.

Selecting a Certification

Ask yourself these five questions and see where it takes you:

1: Do you want to work in a hospital?

If the answer is yes, then there are a myriad of certifications you could consider: Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Certified Medication Aide (CMA), and Pharmacy Technician to name a few.

Additionally, most hospitals require their staff to be certified in Basic Life Support as well. So it is a good idea to have that on your resume. And it takes less than a day to complete.

If the answer is no, you are likely wanting to work in a nursing home or assisted living facility. The entry level certification required by most facilities is a CMA that takes 40 hours to complete.

Depending on the level of care patients need in the facility, they may also be looking to hire CNAs. This certification takes 76 hours to complete and trains you on more difficult skills than the CMA course. To understand the difference between a CNA and CMA: CLICK HERE

2: Do you want to work directly with patients?

Sometimes people want to have a medical profession, but not necessarily work directly with patients. If this is the case for you, you should consider becoming a Pharmacy Technician. While some Pharm Techs work the ‘front of the house’ in a pharmacy, many are needed behind the scenes to fill all the orders.

The Pharm Tech course is primary online, with a few in-person check points to ensure you are understanding the material. You then complete the program with an externship at CHI Health. Upon completion you will know how to:

    • Complete patient paperwork
    • Accept payments & process insurance claims
    • Receive & verify prescriptions
    • Price & fill prescriptions
    • Package & label prescriptions
    • Manage drug supplies

3: Do you want to make more money?

We know. This is a silly question. Most people do. The reason it is on our list is to ensure you also consider dual certifications. In most cases, if you have more than one certification on your resume you are more appealing to employers.

The most common dual certification is a CNA and CMA. The CMA portion focuses on medications and monitoring patients. The CNA rounds out your training by focusing on all aspects of the patient while under your care. At Quality Career Pathways, we offer a discount when you take both courses with us.

4: Do you want to get trained quickly?

Having a medical career does not mean you need to spend years in school. In fact, the Certified Medication Aide course can be completed in one week. But, please understand this is different than becoming a Certified Medical Assistant – also sometimes called a CMA.  This credential takes one to two years to complete.

5: Will you need to find a job after you get your certification?

While no one can guarantee employment, some certifications are in higher demand than others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , here are some average job growth predictions from 2019 to 2029:

CNA: +8%
CMA:  +19%
Pharm Tech: +4%

As you can see, all certifications are on the rise, but the predictions for Certified Medication Aide are huge. There will likely be a very high demand for CMAs in the years to come.

There are many more questions to ask when selecting a certification, but this will get you a head start. Once you have selected one, head over to our enrollment form and get started.

 

Twenty Questions To Ask When Looking For A Certification School

As you are exploring which certification school would be the right one for you to get your CNA or CMA – you need to ask yourself some questions. And you need to understand the answers.

Find Your Certification School

    1. How long has the school been in business?   You want an established certification school…with an established staff. QCP has been offering courses since 2011.
    2. How many certifications are offered?    Sometimes is good to focus on one thing. But we have found that most students want to be certified in more than one area. QCP offers six certification programs – and provides discounts to those who take more than one course with us.  Our courses include Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Certified Medication Aide (CMA), Pharmacy Technician (Pharm Tech), Basic Life Support (BLS), Pediatric CNA (PEDS) and C.N.A. Refresher (CNA-R).
    3. What are your accreditations?  If you spend the time to get certified, you want that certification to be accredited. QCP is accredited by the Nebraska Department of Education and we are approved to provide certifications through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Nebraska Board of Pharmacy and American Heart Association.
    4. Do you have affiliations with hiring partners?  One of the reasons you are looking to get certified is to find a new career, right? QCP helps you do that by partnering with Omaha-area companies. First, through our Premier Partner program our students benefit from having hiring companies visit them during class to discuss what they look for when hiring. Our Premier Partners are CHI Health, Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Comfort Keepers, Douglas County Health Center, Hillcrest Health Services, and Nebraska Medicine. In addition, our website lists additional employers who hire our graduates or assist with tuition. See that list HERE.
    5. Can you guarantee employment after graduation?  No school can guarantee employment, and if they tell you they can they are lying. But here is what QCP can do as a stellar certification school: help our students find employment by providing access to area hiring partners during their time at school.
    6. Do you have any exclusive courses?  This means, do you curate your own content? And our answer is, ‘yes’. We have traditional courses like the CNA and CMA classes.  But we also have a program that we designed with Children’s Hospital that can only be found at QCP, the Pediatric CNA Course. This teaches you how to apply your CNA skills to work with children. Plus, our PHARM program was created to include an externship at CHI Health.
    7. Are there online hybrid options?   Yes, all QCP certifications have an optional hybrid except BLS. This means you complete a set amount of hours online – at your own pace – before you come to the school for your hands on training and testing.
    8. What about traditional in-person courses?   At this time, due to COVID restrictions, traditional in-person courses are not available. But when restrictions are lifted we will return to offering our 100% in-person courses.
    9. Are there flexible schedule options?  You can’t take a course if it doesn’t fit into your schedule. That is why we offer multiple options each month. Select whether you want to attend class during the weekday, during the evenings or on the weekend. We have an option that is right for you.
    10. Does the school offer payment plans?   Sometimes you need to pay over time, instead of everything up front. That is okay. All of our cornerstone courses offer a payment plan. Plus, there are some other ways pay for courses. Check out those options HERE.
    11. What is the average class size? You come to the school for hands on training – so you want to ensure you get the instruction you desire. At QCP we keep the class sizes small to ensure everyone learns their skills properly. Depending on the certification course, average class sizes range from 9 – 16 students.
    12. When was the equipment last updated?  When it comes to all things medical, you want the state of the art. This certification school is no exception. Our building was completely renovated in 2018 and the equipment is replaced as needed.
    13. Is all testing completed on site?  Not all certification schools are approved by the state of Nebraska to complete testing onsite. That means once you complete your course, you have to schedule time to test elsewhere. Not at Quality Career Pathways. We are state approved for all testing so you get everything done under one roof.
    14. Are testing fees included in the tuition?  Don’t be fooled by a tuition that doesn’t include everything. No one wants to be surprised by an additional testing fee when you finish class. At QCP, tuition includes all first attempt exam fees associated with the course. No surprises here.
    15. What are the level of the instructors?  This is an import question to ask. You want to learn from people who know what they are talking about. All our instructions are licensed in their respective courses and have experience instructing students. And for some courses, our instructors are RNs and LPNs with experience working in medical settings.
    16. What are your graduation rates? Graduation rates tell you how effectively the certification school taught the course.  Over 98% of our students graduate from their course.
    17. What is your withdrawal policy?  Sometimes you need to change your plans. Make sure your certification school will allow you to do so.  If you need to withdraw from a QCP course, you must contact the school.  The amount of your refund will be based on the course and timing of withdrawal.
    18. How responsive is the front office staff?  Make sure the certification school is easy to contact.  You may have questions and you should get your answer quickly. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8AM to 5PM and can be reached during this time via phone, walk in, email, text and online chat.
    19. How many locations do you have?   Location is key. You can’t attend class if you can’t get to the location. Our primary school is conveniently located off of I-680 at Fort Street.  We also offer classes periodically at Employer Partner locations.
    20. Is there parking available? This may not seem like much, but who wants to hassle with finding a parking spot.  No plugging meters or long walks here. QCP has a free parking lot attached to the school and a secondary one next door.

Which Certification School Is The Best For You?

Now that you know our answers, it is time to look at the other guys. Click HERE to download a PDF of these questions. You will soon see that Quality Career Pathways is the best certification school in Omaha.

Three Medical Certifications You Can Complete In Less Than One Year

A medical career doesn’t have to years to obtain. There are medical certifications that you can get in as little as 40 hours. That is less than one week’s time!

Medical Certification

Quick Medical Certification Options

In less that a year, you could become one of these medical professionals:

Certified Medication Aide (CMA)

A Certified Medication Aide, or CMA, administers routine oral medications and is responsible for monitoring a patient’s vitals and behavior while on medication. This is one of the fastest growing fields according to THIS report.

Course Timing: 40 hours

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

A Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, helps patients or clients with healthcare needs under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). CNAs are in hight demand, too. Check out some of the open positions HERE.

Course Timing: 76 hours

Pharmacy Technician (PHARM TECH)

A Pharmacy Technician assists a Pharmacist within a pharmacy setting such as within hospitals, drugstores, grocery stores, and other medical facilities.  Read more about the skills needed to be a Pharm Tech HERE.

Course Timing: 166 hours


Get started on your new career now
at Quality Career Pathways
as a CNA, CMA, or Pharm Tech

 

 

Six Different Medical Certification Titles To Consider

When it comes to the medical community and nursing assistant positions, there are a variety of different titles that can be used to classify the level the education and training required of an employee. Below is a list of common titles and the general requirements for each. This list was compiled from the inquiries and questions we receive most.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

To become a CNA, you will need to take a certification course. The CNA Classes offered at Quality Career Pathways is 76 hours and includes state testing. While salary ranges fluctuate based on demand and location,  according to Salary.com THIS is the average salary for a CNA in Omaha.

Sometimes CNAs are called Nursing Assistant or Nurse Aide. When looking at job descriptions, make sure you look carefully at the requirements.

CNA Salary Omaha

Certified Medication Aide (CMA)

A Certified Medication Aide focuses solely on the medication side of the medical responsibilities. While not all CMAs administer medication, they all monitor the effects they can have on the patient. There are 2 levels of Medication Aide in Nebraska.  The Quality Career Pathways 40-Hour CMA Classes are required if you are going to work in an assisted living facility, nursing home, or an intermediate care facility for persons with developmental disabilities. 

Like with all careers, the salary levels fluctuate constantly. Indeed.com keeps track of the averages. Visit THIS LINK to see the average hourly rate of Omaha CMAs.

CMA salary Omaha

Medical Assistant or Medical Aide (MA)

Nursing Assistant – Medication Aide – Medical Assistant – they all sound so similar, right? But you need to know there is a big difference. We have already described a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and a Certified Medication Aide (CMA) but what about a Medical Assistant or a Medical Aide (MA)?

People with this title are basically a doctor’s right hand. Meaning, they most often help doctors instead of nurses. They prep patients, update charts, and prepare medical instruments. The key piece that makes a Medical Assistant different than a CNA or CMA is the additional training on the administrative side of the medical world. Because of this extra certification, Medical Assistants generally have a higher salary than CNAs and CMAs.

Currently, Quality Career Pathways does not offer a Medical Assistant (MA) Certification Course but is planning to add to our offerings in late 2021.

Medical Aide

Patient Care Technician (PCT)

The term Patient Care Technician (PCT) – or Patient Care Assistant (PCA) – is often used by one of QCP’s Premier Partners, Nebraska Medicine, to promote their CNA positions. Other employers do it too.

As we stated in our CNA discussion, many times job titles are used interchangeably without justification. But they are not the same. Just make sure you read all the qualifications when applying for a job so you know exactly what the employer is seeking.

PCT versus PCA versus CNA

Phlebotomist

While some states require an outside certified training program to become a Phlebotomist, Nebraska is not one of them. (See more information about this HERE. But trust us, there are only four states require you to become a Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT): California, Louisiana, Nevada, and Washington.)

In Nebraska, employers will provide phlebotomy training on-site through a hands-on approach. In most states, “No experience required. Training will be provided.”  You just need to have a high school diploma, a good work ethic, and the willingness to learn.  

Quality Career Pathways does NOT provide Phlebotomy training or testing.

phlebotomy training

Certified EKG Technician (CET)

The last certification we will cover is a Certified EKG Technician (CET). This is a course that teaches you how to read an EKG or ECG chart. An EKG (Electrocardiogram) test records and monitors electrical impulses transmitted by the heart. While formal certification is not mandated by every employer, many prefer it.

Quality Career Pathways currently does not provide CET training or testing.

EKG charts

 

Hopefully this answers many of your questions around the various nursing titles and certifications. Keep in mind, EVERY state and employers have different requirements and terminology when using these titles, so it’s best to the employer who has posted the position.  If you have any additional questions about Quality Career Pathways’ courses, please contact us.

What’s the Difference Between a PCA and a CNA?

PCA is the acronym for Personal Care Assistant and the term has been appearing in local job postings recently. Many times, the terms PCA and CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) are used interchangeably but they aren’t exactly the same depending on where you live. They both focus on one-on-one care in a medical field, but certification training for a CNA is more extensive than for a PCA in Nebraska.

Because some PCA roles require less formal training, their job duties – and as a result their salaries – are generally less than those of a CNA. If you are looking for more opportunities, you should consider becoming a CNA.

Understanding the Differences Between a PCA and CNA

PCA, a Personal Care Assistant, is different from a CNA, Certified Nursing Assistant, in Nebraska in a variety of ways. Though both jobs deal with caring for patients that require a certain level of one-on-one care, their everyday job demands differ as well as the training they had to complete to obtain their certification. Here are some of the significant differences between a PCA and a CNA.

The Training Requirements in Nebraska

To become a PCA, one must have at least a high school diploma, a certification is not always required; it depends on the state.  If a state does, in fact, require a certification, an aspiring PCA must take the right classes that offer the appropriate training that is required by the state. Training to be a PCA in Omaha can be completed at QCP in 12 hours. Some of the topics covered in these classes include:

  • Grooming and personal hygiene of patients
  • First aid
  • Feeding patients
  • Caring for the elderly
  • Basis personal care skills

To become a CNA, one must complete extensive training that is 75 hours with an additional hour of abuse and neglect training. Certification is required to become a CNA.

Many of the same topics are covered in CNA training; however, CNA’s are expected to perform more tasks on patients than PCAs, so have more in-depth training that includes:

  • Setting up medical equipment
  • Assist in medical procedures
  • Take and record vital signs

After training is complete, individuals will have to complete and pass a written/oral exam as well as a skills exam. Individuals have three attempts to pass before they must retrain and try to retake the exams.

Job Demands and Work Environment

Both PCAs and CNAs work in hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and occasionally provide in-home services. For both, the work environment is very similar, as are the work hours, which can include overnight and weekends. However, what sets a CNA and PCA apart the most are the job demands.  CNA’s perform more medical oriented tasks than PCA’s who are focused on assisting patients with comfort.

Planning for the Future as a CNA or PCA

Both job choices offer quality care to patients and can be used as stepping stones when trying to advance in the medical field. In terms of salary and planning for the future, CNAs are capable of making a higher salary annually, with registerednursing.com listing the earning potential of CNAs as ranging from $22,000 to $36,000 a year. PCAs usually earn less, with an estimated annual salary ranging from $17,897 to $25,530. CNAs and PCAs are crucial jobs when it comes to providing one-on-one care to patients. Despite their differences, CNAs and PCAs have a common goal: to provide comfort and attention to all of their patients.