John had recently lost his job when he was in his late 40s. He had been working in the construction field for over 20 years of his life. John lives in Colorado, a state experiencing a slowdown in the construction field. He has an associate’s degree in project management but could not get a job in his field. So he decided to go back to school and become a certified nursing aide.
“The construction jobs were just not there and so I decided to go back to school and change my career. That option was better than just sitting around and waiting for things to change in construction,” said John
People like John have had to reconsider their career choices because of the harsh economic times now facing many states. John based his decision on the facts of his state. Construction was not going to change over night. Unemployment although not as severe as other states, still is over eight percent.
Research told John that 32 percent of the 61,000 nurses in the state were hovering around 55 years of age. This meant that each year 2,000 nurses in Colorado would retire. By 2018 the state faces a 6,300 shortage of nurses. Then he read that the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment predicted that certified nursing aides, CNAs, would experience 26 percent growth from now until 2016. All these statistics John felt pointed to a new career and job.
John looked at this as an opportunity. Yes, he would be making a third of what he was making as a project manager in the construction field, but he had no job in his field and no more unemployment. A CNA makes from 20,000 to 26,000 in his state and that was better than nothing.
The prerequisites of becoming a CNA in Colorado require a person to undergo a criminal back ground check, and immunizations. In addition, most community colleges require a student to maintain a 2.0 grade point average.
John’s strategy was to get a job first and like he did with the construction field he would work his way up from the bottom. His research found that it took just one semester of community college course work to become a CNA. This meant a cost factor of $400 to $800 depending on the schooling. In addition with his good credit he might be eligible for financial aid. Most community colleges offered a 4 –credit core class and a one –credit clinical class. The clinical aspect was the hands –on- learning portion of the course.
John commented on his college, “The community college I enrolled in made the pricing for school affordable. The course work for becoming a CNA only required a semester of course work, in addition I was able to go to school at night.”
Upon completion of the course work, applicants must apply for certification and take the nursing board exam to get certified as a CNA in Colorado. The application fee in Colorado is $95.
After the completion of course work, students take a board exam administered by Pearson Vue, a state contractor charged with administering the exam. The test consists of 70 multiple choice questions which students are given 2 hours to complete and a separate second part which consists of five skill questions. The applicant has 25 minutes to complete the skill section. The skill portion always starts off with hand washing and then four skills are randomly chosen. Each skill has to be completed in front of an evaluator.
All this research determined John’s move into health care. All the statistics pointed to a prosperous decade in health care as the baby boomers become senior citizens. With all the info John felt better too about changing careers. He found out that 42 percent of the nurses in college were over 45 years of age and in his age bracket.