If you are asking yourself this question then good! You have begun to do the research into choosing to become a NA. With your research you begin to notice there's usually two different options to become a NA in Florida. One is a 120 hour NA program and the other is 2-4 day refresher/prep course.
What is the difference between the two options and their benefits?
The 2-4 day prep courses typically are 16-20 hours of training. Within those 16-20 hours you are taught 21 skills for the NA state exam. You will also review exam questions and be given a textbook to review before your state exam. Once completed you are able to sit for the state exam and become licensed if you pass. However, in Florida there is a state law that requires all medical faciltiies that accept federal insurance (Medicare/Medicaid) MUST hire a NA that came from an approved 120 hour program. So, keep in mind if you are wanting to work in hospital, doctors office, or nursing homes they will not be able to hire you until you go through a 120 hour program. The 2-4 day prep course is typically cheaper than the 120 hour program. This option is best suited for someone who was a licensed CNA but let their license lapse and needs to take the state exam once again. It is also good for anyone who took the NA course but did not take the state test for over 6 months or longer and want to try to do it now.
The 120 hour program typically will last an average of a month. Some programs are a couple weeks longer, and some a couple weeks shorter. This will depend on the number of hours each day they expect the student to come to class. Each program will vary but on average you will spend more time doing the skills and properly learning them and feel confident in performing them for your state test. You also will be given more time to learn about the duties of a NA. The 120 hour program will teach you to be employable and not just teach you to pass the state exam. Once you finish the 120 hour program you are eligible to work for 4 months without your NA license while you wait for the state exam test date. The 120 hour program is also reviewed continuously by the Board of Nursing to ensure the program is still effective and being taught correctly. The 120 hour program in 2023 in the Jacksonville, Florida area will run most students at $1100 or more. However, one must remember the price may be higher but you are paying for almost 8 times more teaching time. A 120 hour program will also consist of an internship/externship integrated in the program. This gives the Nursing Assistant an opportunity to apply their skills that they have been taught into the real workforce before their state test.
If you were to fail the NA state Exam three times then you are required to attend a 120 hour program. They do this not to punish the potential NA, but so they can learn the proper technique from a 120 hour program before attempting the state test.
Choosing a Program That works for YOU
These two options are viable for everyone depending on their situation. Just remember to choose the school/program that will be the best for you. Do not choose because it is the cheapest option. Many of the schools have financial assistance that they are aligned with. Do NOT be shy to ask! Affordable Training is an example of a 120 hour program that is aligned with a few financial assistance options. Also, Affordable Training provides BLS and First Aid included in their price for the program. Those certifications make you more employable once finishing the 120 hour program. If you are interested in starting your healthcare career with a solid foundation, register for classes at cnaat.org. Check out our school calendar as well by clicking the button below.
Good luck to everyone choosing which school/program to attend. Everyone will do well with the choice they make!