An Introduction in CNA Education

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant or CAN is differently known as Patient Care Assistant or State Tested Nurse Aid or a Nursing-assistant-Registered. A nursing-assistant is described to be any person who helps in assisting the individuals with their needs for health care in their day to day activities and also help with maintaining their daily hygiene. These activities are carried out by a nursing-assistant under the guidance of a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Role of a Nursing Assistant:

The Certified Nursing-assistant or the nursing Assistant is known with different titles in different countries, but a change in heir titles does not change the role of their work in any way whatsoever. The health care industry is indebted to the contribution provided by the nursing faculty. The work of the nurses is invaluable in putting together the good health of the ailing patient. The nursing-assistant is usually a person, a female in most cases, who is certified of the nurses’ training program, diploma or degree that certifies there expertise in the field.

CNA Education in nurturing Nursing Assistants:

A proper education is very important to excel in any field and so is the case here. The scope of CNA education is to train the young nurses into the art of medical supervision coupled with a practical demonstration of dealing with real life situations. The scope of the course spans over a period of 1 to 4 years, depending on the type you choose. It attempts at providing the basic knowledge about the most frequently used medicines for the ailments and the ways to deal with them. After that they are also taught how to deal with convalescing patients and the warning signs to look out for.

It is a weird but common fact to find mostly females in the field of nursing. It is believed that women are more adept in the finer works of the hand that include sewing up stitches on a wound, or in keeping the hygiene standards of the patient’s health. It is also believed that since women are more caring in nature they are best suited to care for the ailing for their womanly instincts.

Duties Performed by a Nursing Assistant:

The certified Nursing Assistant education aims at developing the caring ability of the trainee nursing assistants and gives them a proper knowledge about the existent medical disorders, the symptoms, its recovery process and the various ailments that affect the recovering patients. The curriculum is divided according to certain specializations like caring for general patients, or emergency patients or dealing with drug addicts and alcoholics and as assistants to help in the Operation Theater. Among their other functions is the ability to shift the bedridden patients from time to time and respond to the problems they are facing at night or at times when the doctor is not available for consultation.

The role of CNA education goes a long way in providing a strong foundation for the nursing assistants to start their career.

Certified Nursing Assistant Salary – The Benefits

Do you want to pursue a career as a certified nursing assistant? Do you want to know how much does a certified nursing assistant makes each year? Being a certified nursing assistant or a CNA is a very lucrative career indeed. Certified nursing assistants may also be known as Caregivers, Supported Living Assistants, Caregiver Companions, Home Health Aides, Resident Care Specialists, Nursing Aides or Nurse Technicians, but regardless of job title, a certified nursing assistant assists registered nurses in the care of patients or clients.

It is hard to estimate certified nursing assistant salary since it varies greatly according to a CNA’s job title. The average however for a certified nursing assistant salary is a figure anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 annually. Salaries vary greatly due to several factors like:

1. Job experience – technically, the more experienced (more years of job experience as a certified nursing assistant) the higher the nursing assistant’s salary grade. Job experience is the most common factor when it comes to compensation, the amount and type of benefits the employee receives and his ability to seek a higher position in his department.

2. Work area – the more specialized the work area the higher the salary is. A CNA who works in a surgical suite or in an emergency room may have a significantly higher salary rating than a certified nursing assistant who works in the ward. Employers and supervisors have the final say where staff is placed. It may be according to the individual’s work experience, his technical knowledge of the area and of course depending on whether the area is understaffed. It is also reasonable to pay certified nursing assistants and other members of the primary health team like nurses and doctors who are assigned in toxic areas of the hospitals since there is a high volume of work and a high stress factor as well. A certified nursing assistant who is assigned to specialized areas in the hospital may receive $2,000 to $4,000 more compared to a nursing aide who is assigned at the ward or in patients’ rooms.

3. Certification – CNA’s are better compensated than non certified counterparts. However, nursing assistants are not allowed to practice their profession if they do not pass certification hence it is impossible to even get paid when you are not certified. Certification is often the deciding factor for employment benefits and compensation which is also true for other members of the medical field.

4. Continuing education – some employers may consider continuing education as a factor for CNA salary increase. Continuing education means you are highly dedicated to your job and to improving your craft especially in finding ways to make your skills better and your knowledge sharper.

5. Location – if you are working at a tertiary hospital with complete facilities for patient care then chances are you are receiving a higher certified nursing assistant salary compared to a nursing aide who may work in a hospice care or in a home setting. A CNA who works in a hospital setting receives $5,000 to $10,000 more compared to nursing assistants who work for clients at home.

Location is also a factor for determining the job description of many medical careers as well as the cost of medical treatments and diagnostic examinations.

6. Country – there are countries that may have lower certified nursing assistant salaries compared to others this is why mass migration of CNA’s and other medical professionals are seen. Places where there is a high salary or compensation for medical workers are in the Middle East, Australia, Canada and in European countries. Countries that offer excellent medical care are often the ones with the best certified nursing assistant salaries paid.

Not only is pay better in foreign countries, there are also amazing compensation packages and travel benefits that you will never find when you work locally. Imagine your employer paying for your board, lodging, travel expenses, training expenses, pocket money and even your certification renewal just to keep you working for him!

7. Hazard pay – there are additional items in a CNA Salary that may increase his pay. Individuals who work in highly stressful and dangerous locations may receive a hazard pay and this can significantly increase his paycheck in the process. CNA’s may be assigned to correctional facilities, for emergency response teams, for fire and rescue and in the military. CNA’s in a correctional facility receive $5,000 to $7,000 more than a nursing assistant assigned in a hospital setting.

There are so many amazing opportunities for CNA’s to increase their pay and to possibly climb the ladder of success. Apart from being certified as early as he graduates from training, he must also get regular continuing training which he can get at home, online or through training facilities. Continuing training may also be sponsored by employers or the management and his schedule prepared to make room for study which can significantly affect his certified nursing assistant salary later on.

But apart from financial compensation, CNA’s work for the love of service which is an innate nature of most medical professionals. There is a great feeling of being able to make a mark in someone’s life especially when he is a total stranger. You may feel this as you take care of newborns, new parents, cancer survivors, relatives who experienced death in the family and many more. The value of service and the ability to make a difference is still the best compensation that is totally priceless. Many swear that they enter the medical profession since they have a heart to serve; this is of course far better than any high paying professional job. Big or small, everyone and anyone can make a difference. No matter how high or how low your CNA Salary is the best part of every work day is that you have served someone from the bottom of your heart.

Understanding Education Tax Benefits and Incentives

For many parents it is has become very difficult to save for or pay for your child’s college education. Recognizing this, the federal government has stepped up its efforts to provide education tax benefits and incentives. While that is a good thing, understanding the myriad of education tax benefits and incentives out there can be frustrating and confusing to the average person. Lately, it seems every time you turn around there is some additional tax legislation in the area of education. Let’s review the various tax benefits and incentives available.

Hope Credit (American Opportunity Tax Credit)
Provides a tax credit for calendar years 2009 and 2010 of up to $2,500 for undergraduates in school more than half time. It can be claimed for all four years of undergraduate study. The first $2,000 of tuition costs and related fees (not room and board, however) are entitled to a 100% credit, while the next $2,000 of tuition costs (not room and board, however) are entitled to a 25% credit. Once your tuition costs exceed $4,000, there is no more Opportunity credit available. The credit is partially refundable. This means if you have no tax liability you are still eligible for a refundable credit of up to $1,000. If you are married parents with income of more than $160,000 your credit is phased out. If you are single, the credit begins to phase out when income levels exceed $90,000. This credit may be claimed by taxpayers who are subject to the dreaded alternative minimum tax, which is a good thing. You must reduce eligible education costs if you are receiving a scholarship, Pell grant, employer-provided educational assistance (tuition reimbursement) or distributions from 529 Plans.

Lifetime Learning Credit
Provides a nonrefundable tax credit of up to $2,000 for undergraduate, graduate and other tuition-related costs incurred during the calendar year. The first $10,000 of tuition costs and related fees (not room and board, however) are eligible for a 20% credit. You cannot claim this credit if you are also claiming the Hope Tax Credit in the same year for the same college student (no double dipping). This credit phases out in 2009 when your income level exceeds $100,000 (marrieds) or $50,000 (singles). You must reduce eligible education costs if you are receiving a scholarship, Pell grant, employer-provided educational assistance (tuition reimbursement) or distributions from 529 Plans.

529 College Savings Plans
When you contribute to a 529 Plan you do so with after tax dollars (net pay). The main tax benefit of 529 Plans is that earnings and gains are tax-deferred and if you make distributions from a 529 Plan to pay for qualified education expenses, then the earnings and gains are never taxed. One of the big advantages of 529 plans is that qualified education expense includes tuition, room and board. This means that even if your child gets a full scholarship for tuition, you can tap your 529 Plan to pay for his or her room and board. This is a big advantage over the Hope and Lifetime credits. You can contribute up to $13,000 for each child. This is a gift tax restriction. Anyone can contribute to your child’s 529 plan. Are you reading this grandparents? Each plan has an owner (typically the parent or grandparent) and one beneficiary (typically your child or grandchild). There is a provision that allows an acceleration of up to five years worth of contributions, or up to $65,000 in one year. This is an exception to the $13,000 gift tax restriction. If you make this election, you must file a gift tax return in the year of the contribution, however, there is no gift tax due, under this exception. You must reduce eligible education costs if you are receiving a scholarship, Pell grant or employer-provided educational assistance (tuition reimbursement).

Coverdell IRAs
Allows a non-deductible contribution using after tax dollars (net pay). Distributions from a Coverdell IRA (aka Education IRAs) are not taxed if such distributions are made for qualified education expenses. Qualified education expenses include tuition, room and board. The main advantage of Coverdell IRAs is the flexibility. Distributions may be made for elementary school, high school and tutoring costs, in addition to college expenses. This tax benefit phases out in 2009 when your income level exceeds $220,000 (marrieds) or $110,000 (singles).

Education Deduction
For 2009, taxpayers may deduct up to $4,000 in tuition and fees expenses as an above-the-line deduction (i.e. deduction from gross income). This deduction is available even if you do not itemize. The deduction is phased out when your income level exceeds $130,000 (marrieds) or $65,000 (singles).

Student Loan Interest Deduction
Borrowers of federal and private education loans may deduct up to $2,500 in interest as an above-the-line deduction (i.e. deduction from gross income). This deduction is available even if you do not itemize. Available for undergraduate or post-graduate program loans. The deduction is phased out when your income level exceeds $150,000 (marrieds) or $75,000 (singles).

Roth IRA
Distributions of principal (not earnings/gains) from Roth IRA accounts, open for five years or more, can be used to fund all college costs without any tax consequences.

Traditional IRAs
Distributions made from Traditional IRAs by individuals under 59 1/2 are subject to income tax and a ten percent penalty, however, if the distributions are for college tuition and fees, then the ten percent penalty is waived.

Series I or EE Bonds
Earnings on Series I or EE bonds are exempt if the money from the bonds is used to pay college tuition and fees. The exemption from earning is phased out when your income level exceeds $134,900 (marrieds-2009) or $84,950 (singles-2009).

Home Equity Loans
Money borrowed from home equity lines of credit or home equity term loans may be used to pay for all college costs. Interest on these loans is tax deductible on debt up to $100,000, but only for regular income tax purposes (not deductible for alternative minimum tax purposes).

Pell Grants
Pell Grants are outright gifts for undergraduate tuition costs. These grants are available only when the applicant can establish a financial need (“Financial Need” means you are at or near the poverty level) . Grants are capped at $5,350 for 2009/2010.

Perkins Loans
Like the Pell Grant, the applicant must show a financial need to qualify. For undergraduate students, the maximum available under this program is $4,000 per year. For graduate students, the maximum available under this program in $6,000 per year. There is a ten year repayment term with a nine month grace period following graduation.

Subsidized Stafford Loans
Like the Pell Grants and the Perkins Loan programs, this is a financial needs-based program. The federal government pays interest while your child is in college or graduate school. There are maximum subsidized amounts that you may borrow each year of $3,500 (Freshman), $4,500 (Sophomore) and $5,500 (Junior/Senior). Undergraduate cumulative subsidized loan amounts are capped at $23,000 for dependent students and graduate cumulative subsidized loan amounts are capped at $65,000. You may borrow an additional $2,000 per year beyond the subsidized amounts, however, this $2,000 is unsubsidized (meaning interest is not paid by the federal government on these amounts). You are required to file a FAFSA application under the Stafford Loan program to determine eligibility.

Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
Interest on these loans is capitalized while the student is in school. There is a grace period for any payments on these loans that ends upon graduation. Interest rates are higher under the unsubsidized Stafford Loan program. You are required to file a FAFSA application under the Stafford Loan program to determine eligibility.

PLUS Loans
These are loans made by traditional lenders. These loans must be paid back even while the student is in school (no grace period) . Interest rates are significantly higher than under the Stafford Loan program. There are no earnings limits restricting your ability to borrow funds under the PLUS Loan program. The PLUS Loan is a federal student loan and therefore must be “certified” (approved) by the college’s or university’s financial aid office. If your college or university requires the FAFSA for all students, they will not certify a PLUS Loan (even though it’s a loan for the parents) without a FAFSA on file.

Employer-Provided Education Assistance (Tuition Reimbursement)
Reimbursements by employers for undergraduate or graduate school tuition and related fees are excluded from employee income (W-2) to the extent such reimbursements do not exceed $5,250 per year.

Continuing Education Units

Continuing education programs are courses, seminars, lectures and demonstrations offered throughout the year for many different licensed professionals. These programs are often measured, depending on hours of time spent with the subject, in units. Most commonly, you will see the programs advertised for registered and licensed practical nurses; however, continuing education is for all health care professionals to benefit. To continue one’s education in their career is ambitious and maintains a level of competency employers thrive to find in their employees.

One may ask; if these continuing education courses are designed to maintain a license, are non-licensed personnel such as certified nursing assists or home heath aides required to obtain them? This answer is not a straightforward one. Unfortunately, where certified nursing assistants and home health aides are concerned much of their job responsibility and requirements are set forth by their employer. Where registered and licensed practical nurses are required to submit proof of continuing education to the board of nursing in their state, certified nursing assistant and home health aides most commonly report to the public heath department of their state. There are some states that require certified nursing assistants and home health aides to obtain continuing education units and there are some states that do not but the employers in those states do require it. The bottom line is you must research your states requirement for maintaining your certification as well as question your employer as to what their expectations from you are.

Continuing education can sound boring, especially if you just finished your certified nursing program. The last thing you want to do is head back to a classroom. Most continuing education courses are not boring and offer a lot of information on current health care issues and technology. Continuing education courses are easy to find. Sometimes they find you while on the job. You can receive continuing education units for listening to a five minute in service on the newest blood glucose testing monitor. Some courses are even offered to help the health care professional find a release for stress and to assist with providing relaxation, as the health care profession can be a very stressful place to work in. Courses are usually offered Monday through Friday throughout the year. For those that still do not feel like sitting in a classroom or listening to someone talk, courses are offered online for convenience. You just have to make sure your online course is provided by an approved company.

Continuing education programs are worth the time. They provide an opportunity for growth in an area one has all ready chosen to be part of. Not only will the continuing education increase your expertise on a subject matter, it will impress

Getting Your Certified Nursing Assistant (“CNA”) License

CNA Training (Certified Nursing Assistant) programs are a critical element in assuring that people who enter this part of the healthcare field are successful. CNAs’ provide almost 80% of the one-to-one care that is received by individuals living in care facilities. As the population continues to age there is a greater need for CNAs’ who play an increasing vital role in the health of the elderly and chronically ill.

While the requirements to become a CNA differ in each state, all have strict guidelines that must be met before an individual can add the term “Certified, ” “Licensed, ” “Registered, ” or “State Approved” to their Nursing Assistant title. A Nursing Assistant cannot work in a nursing home or long term care facility until they have been certified, or approved, by the state.

Completion of a CNA Training (Certified Nursing Assistant) program can be done in as little as a few weeks or take several months. Contacting the department that handles CNA training in your state to get the requirements for becoming a CNA in is very important.

There are two phrases to the CNA Training Program that must be completed before an individual is allowed to take the certification examination.

The first phase of the CNA Training is conducted in a classroom setting. An individual must take certain classes which include medical terminology, First Aid, Fundamentals of Nursing, and other medical education courses. These prepare a person for working in the clinical environment safely and effectively.

Clinical experience is gained through work at a facility. States differ on the number of clinical hours that an individual must work. The hours can range from a few weeks to a month to attain the required hours of clinical training. Some facilities pay a person who is working on their clinical hours and then hire them when they have passed the certification examination.

After completing both the educational and clinical requirements to qualify for the examination an individual then requests testing through the Department of Nursing Aide Programs in their State. The test will consist of two parts. The first part of the examination is based on the educational components that have been learned and the second part is designed to prove that an individual has the necessary skills to perform the job.

Moving to a different state will require that the CNA submit a Request for Reciprocity which may require some additional education before it is approved. However, after the request has been approved the CNA will then receive the title for the state they have been to. In some states Certified Nursing Assistants are called Licensed Nursing Assistants.