What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) are trained and certified in basic patient care skills, which allows them to work in an entry-level position in the nursing field with a wide range of employment opportunities.

CNA’s are employed in hospitals, medical offices, private health care facilities, Alzheimer and mental health facilities, nursing homes, rehabilitation and independent living centers, assisted living facilities dialysis centers, clinics, home care agencies, private duty, schools, or detention and prison facilities.

The most important qualities for those entering this growing field are good interpersonal communication skills, caring and nurturing personality, and a high standard of ethics and professionalism due to the close personal nature of the work.

When are the classes scheduled?

Southern Technical Institute offers a variety of flexible training with day, evening and weekend schedule options available. We also offer options that meet your specific training needs. For individuals learn quickly, we offer the 3 Day Power Weekend or for those that prefer a slower pace, we offer 8-day classes in day or evening options. If you prefer online classes, we offer a hybrid training option that allows you to take the lecture and theory online and then come to the campus for the hands-on skills portion.

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How long does it take to complete the course and take the certification test to be a CNA?

Regardless of what class training schedule you choose, the time to complete your course and also test for the Florida Certified Nurse Aide exam differs by each individual case.

Southern Technical Institute offers classes that start and complete within 2 weeks or less. If you submit your application for the Florida Certified Nursing Assistant to Prometric, you will also have to schedule your fingerprinting appointment to complete your required Level II Criminal Background Screening. Typically, this process takes 30 days to process and complete if you don’t have any criminal background issues that come up. A good estimate is 30 to 45 days from the day you complete your fingerprint appointment, after submitting your Prometric CNA state testing application.

Is it mandatory to take a CNA Training course in order to take the State CNA exam?

No, Florida Board of Nursing does not require that you take any type of training prior to challenging the exam. However, even if you have experience as a nurse assistant, challenging the exam can be extremely difficult. The test is administered based on State standards and many experienced healthcare providers develop “working” habits that differ from the testing requirements and therefore can alter success in challenging the state exam. It’s important to point out that you only have 3 attempts to challenge the CNA State exam. If you fail three times, you must complete a Board approved CNA training program (full 120 hour program) and retake both parts of the exam. You can find a list of approved training programs at floridasnursing.gov/education-and-training-programs.

On the day of your test, Prometric assigns each candidate 3 of the 21 skills to be performed and observed by a nurse evaluator. Unfortunately, you won’t have prior knowledge of the skills you have been assigned until right before performing the clinical skills exam. It can be any of the skills selected. Successful completion of each skill is required for you to pass. Our prep course will provide you with the knowledge, tools and ability to pass the state CNA exam.

What do you mean by Challenge the CNA Exam?

Anyone may take the Florida Certified Nurse Assistant exam with or without formal (diploma program) healthcare training. The CNA Test Prep course is not a state approved diploma program through Florida Board of Nursing and therefore we are able to reduce the training time and associated costs. When taking the Florida Nurse Assistant exam as a challenger, you receive the same state exam as any other candidate. An individual is limited to only 3 attempts to challenge the CNA State exam without completing a state approved nurse assistant program. If you are planning to move out of the State of Florida, it’s important to check with the Board of Nursing in the state you wish to relocate. Not all States transfer a license that has been received through challenging the exam.

Will I receive a diploma?

The CNA Test Prep course is a continuing education course only. Therefore, by law, we are unable to issue you a diploma. You will receive documentation of attendance for completion of the CNA Test Prep course. If you wish to earn a diploma, Speak with Student Services to learn about other diploma programs offered.

Is finding a CNA job difficult?

Southern Technical Institute has been offering CNA Test Prep for over 17 years and continues to grow because the demand for CNAs has continuously increased. We have many facilities that recruit directly in our classrooms and we also have numerous agencies that post ads on our job board. Online classifieds like Indeed are always listing jobs in their employment sections, so you should be able to start work almost immediately.

What happens if I don’t pass the state exam? What is your guarantee-to-pass policy?

Southern Technical Institute offers a “Peace of Mind” Guarantee that provides you with the tools you need to succeed. If for some reason you don’t pass, you’ll be able to re-attend the next available class at no charge as long as you follow the guarantee policy guidelines below. You will be responsible to submit another CNA application to Prometric, along with the required fees, for the portion of the exam you failed. Prometric requires a 30-day waiting period before you can test again.

Our guarantee policy is very simple and clearly stated. In order to qualify for the free re-attendance guarantee, you must:

  • Attend ALL scheduled CNA classes without tardiness.
  • Participate in all hands-on practice sessions per your instructor’s direction.
  • Ensure each clinical skill practice is signed off by the course instructor
  • Attend at least one of the 2-hour practice sessions that are included in the course tuition.
  • You must apply for your State CNA exam through Prometric within 30 days of completing your original course to meet the guarantee policy.

In other words, if you give your best effort and follow the policies, we will stand by our course to ensure you successfully pass the exam! You can test up to three times in 12 months and if you don’t pass after third exam, we will refund your original CNA course tuition as long as you satisfy all of the guarantee policy guidelines.

Is there a payment plan for tuition?

We break the tuition into two installments. You put down a minimal deposit to hold and reserve your spot in the class of your choice. The remaining balance is due on your first day of class. It is easy and there is no qualifying.

Do I need a high school diploma or GED?

No. If you are age 18 or older, you do not need a High School Diploma or GED to become a Florida Certified Nurse Assistant. However, if you are under the age of 18, you must have a high school diploma or GED to be eligible to become a Certified Nurse Assistant.

Do I have to buy books and supplies?

No! Just bring a pen & highlighter. We supply the classroom training supplies and we give you a CNA Training Manual (yours to keep) on the first day of class.

Once I complete your course, will I be a Certified Nursing Assistant?

No, by law you must test through the State of Florida to become a certified CNA. Prometric is the company contracted through the Florida Board of Nursing to administer all Nurse Assistant exams in the State of Florida. After you successfully complete the CNA Prep course, Southern Technical Institute will provide you with a document of completion and you will have the knowledge and tools to pass the required State exam. The purpose of the CNA Prep course is to prepare you to successfully pass the State exam without attending the more expensive 120 hour Nursing Assistant program.

Where do I take the CNA test?

During your first day of class, we will assist you in completing your application and explain the details so that you have all information to successfully apply for the State test. Southern Technical Institute prepares you to take your test at any testing center of your choice. If you live in or near Pinellas County, you can request to take your test at our Regional Test Center hosted at our Pinellas Park Campus. A personal tour of the testing facility is provided to anyone enrolled in the Southern Technical Institute CNA course to ensure your knowledge and ease of what to expect on your testing day.

What are your office hours?

Southern Technical Institute has a full-time Student Services staff ready to assist you Monday through Thursday 8:30AM – 6:00PM and Friday 8:30AM – 5:00PM.

How can I enroll for classes?

You can register in one of three ways for your convenience: Register online; or to register over the phone, call Pinellas Park Campus: (727) 548-7737, Orlando Campus: (407) 636-7193 or Tavares Campus: (352) 508-5560; or simply stop by a Southern Technical Institute Campus so that we can give you a personal tour (No appointment necessary).

What is your refund policy for the CNA Test Prep course?

Southern Technical Institute requires a non-refundable/non-transferable deposit for all courses/classes. Once you place the deposit, we no longer offer your reserved seat to other prospect students. However, we also try to be as fair as possible and offer a 72 Hour “buyer’s remorse” refundable option. The Buyer’s Remorse refund is only an option within the first 72 hours of registering for your class. Once 72 hours have passed, the deposit cannot be refunded or transferred to other classes. The Buyer’s Remorse refund option is not available if you register within 3 days prior to your class start date.

If you pay any amount over and beyond the required deposit, you are entitled to get a refund for any amount over the deposit. So for example, if you register and pay $150.00 for a CNA Prep course, $69 is the non-refundable deposit that we are unable to refund or transfer and the remaining $81 is the amount eligible for a refund.

Southern Technical Institute is unable to offer any refund or transfer for any ONE day class certification classes such as CPR, Medication Technician, etc. Our certification courses have extreme limited availability and once you register there is no refund or transfer available.

What types of payment do you accept?

We accept cash, money order, and credit card payments. Sorry, but we are unable to accept personal checks! The full balance of your course is due by the first day of your scheduled class.

What do I need to bring to class and what do I wear?

You will need to bring only a pen and highlighter. We supply everything else needed for training. Southern Technical Institute requires that you wear medical scrubs (may be any color/style) to all courses/classes that you attend. You MUST also wear socks and shoes, no flip-flops/sandals or open-toe shoes allowed.

How do I sign up for the State of Florida CNA Exam and how much does it cost?

The State CNA certification exam is administered through Prometric. On the first day of your CNA Prep class, your instructor will help you complete the application correctly. You will send your application and fees to Prometric directly.

The fees are broke down in the following steps:

  1. You will submit your Prometric Certified Nurse Assistant Exam Application, along with payment of $155.00 to cover your written and clinical skills exam fee.
  2. Once you submit your application to Prometric, you will need to schedule your fingerprinting appointment for the required FBI background screening as required by Florida Board of Nursing. The cost of the Level II Background screening average cost of $90.
  3. Once the Board of Nursing reviews and approves your criminal background, Prometric will send you an email with your scheduled test date and regional test site location.

What kind of criminal background is required for the State of Florida CNA exam?

Southern Technical Institute does not require a criminal background check to attend the CNA Prep course. However, when you apply for the State of Florida CNA exam, a level 2, FBI criminal background screening is required. Southern Technical Institute has no affiliation or connection to the criminal background check and cannot give advice regarding your previous background record.

To provide guidance, we have provided information directly from the Florida Board of Nursing website (www.floridasnursing.gov):

Any applicant who has ever been found guilty of or pled guilty or no contest/nolo contendre (regardless of adjudication) to any charge other than a minor traffic offense must list each offense on the application. Reckless driving, driving while license suspended or revoked (DWLSR), driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI) are not minor traffic offenses for purposes of this question. Failure to disclose criminal history may result in denial of your application. Each application is reviewed on its own merits.

Board staff cannot make eligibility determinations in advance as laws and rules do change over time. Violent crimes and repeat offenders are required to be presented to the Board of Nursing for review. Evidence of rehabilitation is important to the Board Members when making licensure decisions.

*Please note: In order to qualify for licensure, CNAs must also pass a background screening (in accordance with Sections 435.04, 435.07, and 408.809, FS) for employment with an Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) regulated facility (or qualify for an Exemption from Disqualification).

For Felony Disqualifying Offenses (regardless of adjudication), you would not be eligible for an Exemption until 3 years have passed since the completion of any non-monetary obligations (confinement, probation, community service, etc.). All fines, fees, restitution, etc. must also be paid in full.

Applicants with prior criminal convictions may be required to submit the following documentation to the Board:

Final Dispositions/Arrest Records – Final disposition records for offenses can be obtained at the clerk of the court in the arresting jurisdiction. If the records are not available, you must have a letter on court letterhead sent from the Clerk of the Court attesting to their unavailability. Arrest records would be obtained by the arresting agency (Sherriff’s Office, Police Department, etc.)

Completion of Probation/Parole/Sanctions – Probation and financial sanction records for offenses can be obtained at the clerk of the court in the arresting jurisdiction. Parole records for offenses can be obtained from the Department of Corrections or at the clerk of the court in the arresting jurisdiction. If the records are not available, you must have a letter on court letterhead sent from the clerk of the court attesting to their unavailability.

Self-Explanation – Applicants who have listed offenses on the application must submit a letter in your own words describing the circumstances of the offense.

Letters of Recommendation – Applicants who have listed offenses on the application must submit 3-5 professional letters of recommendation from people you have worked for or with.

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