A certified nursing assistant (CNA) works under the direction of a licensed nurse—registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). CNAs do not perform nursing duties, but rather assist with healthcare related tasks and act as a liaison between patients and nurses. There are two levels: CNA 1 and CNA 2. Both require state certification; however, should one desire to work in a hospital setting, a CNA 2 certification is required. CNAs work in a variety of healthcare settings and are responsible for taking vital signs, height and weight measurements, assisting with bathing, toileting, dressing needs, and other daily care needs that an individual may require assistance with.
What is the difference between a CNA 1 and CNA 2? This article will seek to answer this question at length and point you in the right direction should you desire to follow the CNA career path.
How Does One Become a CNA 1 Vs. CNA 2?
To qualify as a CNA 1, an Oregon State Board of Nursing-approved training program must be successfully completed. Students must complete 80 hours of classroom and lab time and 75 hours in a skilled nursing facility (SNF)—with real patients in a real-life healthcare setting to meet the clinical requirement of the program. After completion of the program, one must pass the Oregon State Board of Nursing exam to become a CNA 1. The exam includes a written and practical portion.
Should a CNA 1 desire to advance his or her skills, enhance learning, and increase potential for advancement and employment opportunities, a CNA 2 certification may be pursued. In order to apply to the CNA 2 program, a student must have a CNA 1 license. The CNA 2 Acute Care Training Program is also an Oregon State Board of Nursing-approved program. The course requires 60 hours of classroom and lab time and 28 hours of required clinical practicum. The CNA 2 program builds on the skills and knowledge gained from the CNA 1 program to allow for more advanced work opportunities and increased earning power. Once the CNA 2 program is successfully completed, a CNAs license is upgraded in the Oregon State Board of Nursing’s registry. No further testing is required.
What Are the Qualifications to Get Into the Programs?
The CNA 1 program is open registration — anyone can register for the program. Even so, prospective CNA 1s should possess certain character qualities to increase the success of their careers. These qualities include:
- Good time management skills
- The ability to work in a fast-paced, high-stress environment
- A caring, compassionate, and empathetic attitude
- Strong ability to read, write, and speak proficient English
To enter the CNA 2 program, a student must be licensed as a CNA 1—a CNA license in the state of Oregon, that’s free from any liabilities. An application for admission to the program is required. Prior to the clinical portion of the program, students are required to submit immunization records (MMR, Tdap, Varicella/Chickenpox, and Hepatitis B.)
The following items are required for both the CNA 1 and CNA 2 programs:
- Attendance at a free orientation before the first day of class
- A criminal background check
- A drug test
- A tuberculosis test
- An American Heart Association BLS for Healthcare Providers CPR card (required for all CNAs prior to the start of the clinical portion of the programs).
How Many Hours Are Required to Complete Each Program?
The CNA 1 program requires 155 hours total—80 hours of classroom and lab time and 75 hours of clinical time. The CNA 2 program is 88 hours total—60 hours of classroom and lab time and 28 hours of clinical time. In general, classes and labs meet for seven hours per day, two to four days per week. Clinical days run for eight hours with a half-hour break. Attendance is required for all class, lab, and clinical hours.
What Are Some of the Differences in the Programs?
The CNA 1 program is entry-level. The focus is on teaching everything needed to become a CNA 1 including: skills, work habits, and science courses and concepts (anatomy and physiology, biology, and various diseases and conditions). Due to the amount of coursework required the CNA 1 program is significantly longer than the CNA 2 program.
As it is required to be a CNA 1 prior to entering the CNA 2 program, students should already possess skills and knowledge presented in the CNA 1 program’s material. The CNA 2 program is shorter and focuses on acute care and working in a hospital setting.
What Are the Differences in Pay for a CNA 1 Vs. CNA 2?
Pay ranges between the two levels of CNAs varies. A CNA 1 salary usually starts between $10 and $15 per hour. A CNA 2 salary typically pays more than a CNA 1, ranging from $15 to $20 per hour. These ranges are dependent upon experience, employer, location, and position held.
In Portland, Oregon CNAs can expect a salary range between $27,526-$33,767.
What Are the Differences in Employment Settings for CNA 1 Vs. CNA 2?
CNA 1s can work in a variety of healthcare settings; however, they cannot work in a hospital setting. This is reserved for CNA 2s. A CNA 1 can work in skilled nursing facilities, long-term care centers, adult daycare centers, and assisted living facilities. A CNA 2 is required to work in a hospital setting, such as Legacy Emmanuel or the Oregon Health and Sciences University. As mentioned before, if you desire to work in a hospital setting you are required to obtain a CNA 2 certification.
What Are Some of the Responsibility Differences Between a CNA 1 and CNA 2?
CNAs play a very important role in healthcare. They are the eyes and ears of the nurses. They are responsible for providing compassion, monitoring, and a listening ear to identify and triage problems for proper patient care. While both CNA 1s and CNA 2s have many responsibilities, CNA 2s typically work in a hospital setting, which requires acute care and crisis intervention skills. A CNA 2 career path is often more stressful and carries more responsibility than a CNA 1. However, both levels carry large amounts of responsibility and require patience, dedication, compassion, and a desire to serve others.
If you have decided to take the necessary steps to becoming a CNA 1 or CNA 2, it’s important to understand the differences between the two certifications. This understanding will help give you clarity in choosing the path you’d ultimately like to take in your healthcare career.