BBB investigates local certified nursing assistant training programs


by Better Business Bureau

Posted on September 28, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 1 at 8:53 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Better Business Bureau has been investigating Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) programs in our area because of the rapid increase in "fast-track" CNA programs that require less training and education than state-approved CNA programs.

Certified Nursing Assistants are registered, not licensed like Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) are. CNAs work in hospitals and long-term care facilities. They assist patients with personal care tasks including bathing and they may take patients' blood pressure and temperature. Previously, CNAs worked solely in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. Now, CNAs work in hospitals and long-term care facilities, and for home health care agencies as personal care assistants and home health aides.

Did you know that anyone in North Carolina may take the Certified Nursing Test without completing a state-approved, proprietary-licensed CNA training program? This loop hole has quickly made Mecklenburg County a hot spot for fast-track (also known as quick-track) CNA programs. These fast-track programs prepare individuals to take the CNA competency test, but the problem is that the programs are not state-approved or properly licensed.

Individuals who are trained through state-approved, nurse aid training programs must:

--Complete 100-190 instruction and training hours

--Complete hands-on clinical training in a hospital or long-term care facility

--Have liability insurance

--Be up-to-date on all vaccinations

--Buy a textbook and pay registration fees (approx. cost - $450)

Individuals who enroll in fast-track, CNA programs receive little training, but pay higher fees. Although they are eligible to take the CNA test, they will have completely different training requirements to complete the fast-track program:

--Instruction may be limited to a few days which can be done online.

--No clinical training may be required.

--No liability insurance is required.

--No up-to-date vaccination verification is required

--No textbook may be required.

--Registration fees are higher ($450-700).

Some of the local, fully compliant and licensed, CNA training programs include Central Piedmont Community College, Serenity Nurse Aide Academy, Nurse Aide Institute of Excellence, Caregivers Institute and Carolinas College of Health Sciences. (Contact information for these programs is listed at the end of the release).

Some of the local, non-compliant, CNA training programs include Express CNA, Carolina Nurse Aide Training Program and Fast Track CNA. (Contact information for these programs is listed at the end of the release).

So, how do you know if the CNA who is caring for you or your loved ones has the education and training to provide the highest quality of care? Or, if you are planning to enroll in a nurse aide training program, how do you know if it is properly licensed?

The BBB has the following suggestions:

1) Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints on file about the specific home health agencies, retirement facilities or hospitals you are considering.

2) Contact the N.C. Proprietary Licensing Division -- Call Dianette Jackson at 919-807-7149 to verify the school's license.

3) Contact the Division of Health Service Regulation to verify if the nurse aide that you are considering hiring is properly registered or is on the "not to be hired" list. You can check on , if you have the person's social security number or you can call Kathy Turner at 919-855-3972.

4) Contact the Division of Health Service Regulation to verify that the nurse aide training program is approved by the state of N.C. at 919-855-3969.

5) Ask the home health agencies, retirement facilities or hospitals that you are considering if they require their personnel to pass criminal history background checks, have current vaccinations, and be covered by liability insurance.

For more information, please visit or call the BBB at 704-927-8611 or toll-free in N.C. and S.C. at 1-877-317-7236.