Frequently Asked Questions for the CNA Training Class

How does the training prepare me for a career in health care?

Living Branches’ Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) program is a class that consists of lectures, skill labs, and hands-on clinical experience. It gives participants the skills needed to take the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program Competency Examination (NNAAP) and be placed on the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Registry, which allows you to begin your career as a CNA.

There is a no payback requirement for the cost of the class, books, or testing. This is a great opportunity to gain continued support, experience, and guidance as you set course for your career! The class can also help satisfy field experience requirements toward an advanced degree.

Students earn $15.00/hour during the training class. If you need additional hours, the class schedule can be combined with a secondary position at Living Branches.

Who is eligible to take the CNA training program?

All students must be at least 16 years old and have basic proficiency in reading/math.

What skills are covered in the CNA training program?

Some of the skills you’ll learn include:

  • Taking and recording blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate, and respirations
  • Assisting residents with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing and hygiene, toileting, feeding, and exercise
  • Safety and correct body mechanics to assist residents with moving, walking, and positioning
  • Issues related to end-of-life care and responding to emergencies
  • Infection control

When are CNA classes at Living Branches?

Classes are held eight times throughout the year. The dates are planned in advance (see the CNA class page) and are held at two of the Living Branches locations: Souderton Mennonite Homes and Dock Woods in Lansdale.

After selecting your location and schedule preference between day and evening, you will remain at this site for the entire class. The class consists of three parts: theory, lab, and clinical.

Classes are held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Daytime classes last for seven weeks and evening classes are nine weeks.

Daytime class times fluctuate depending on whether students are in the theory, lab, or clinical part of the course. Daytime classes are either 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. or 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Similarly, evening classes vary between 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. and 4:00 to 10:00 p.m.

How do I apply for the CNA program at Living Branches?

Please apply and submit your resume on our website.

Living Branches accepts applications throughout the year for all future class dates.

If you are a current Living Branches team member, please complete the internal transfer form and notify your supervisor of your interest before you apply. Team members are eligible for transfer after six months of satisfactory employment in your current department.

After applying, what do I need to do next?

After applying, selected candidates will be asked to participate in a live group interview. Interviews last 1.5 hours and are held throughout the year. About 10 people will be part of the interview, including class instructors and other interested applicants.

Interviews provide more details about the program and performance requirements. They also include a question session in which all students must participate. All students must arrive on time for the start of the session or they will be asked to reschedule.

If I’m accepted to the class, what documentation will I need to provide?

If you are selected for the class after completing a group interview, a representative from Living Branches will contact you to discuss employment and next steps.

You’ll need to promptly provide the following – at no cost – in coordination with human resources. All of these requirements must be fully complete before attending the Living Branches virtual orientation, held prior to the start of your class.

  • Passing the physical examination/lift test
  • Tuberculosis testing and drug screen at our occupational health clinic
  • Verification of Pennsylvania residency (or FBI clearance with fingerprints if you have NOT lived in PA the past 2 years)
  • Proof of Covid-19 and flu vaccination
  • Government-issued photo ID with correct, current mailing address
  • Personal Care Comp: A six-hour online skill course required by state regulations
  • Completion of additional uploaded electronic paperwork in the Living Branches employment portal. This is necessary for human resources and payroll purposes.

What do I need for the class?

The textbook for the class will be loaned to you during the class. Each student is expected to obtain their own scrubs (any color), closed-toe non-slip footwear, and a watch with a second hand. The required dress code includes neat attire, minimal jewelry, and no acrylic nails.

What are the attendance requirements?

Attendance is critical to achieve the necessary hours required to sit for the Pennsylvania State Nurse Aide Competency examination, which requires attending 127 total hours of Living Branches course training.

Per Pennsylvania requirements, students can not miss any time the first 5 days if taking a daytime class, and they may not miss any time during the first 8 days during the evening class. After this period, students may miss only two days during the entire class schedule. Tardiness is considered a half day. Being tardy for two classes, even by 10 minutes, is considered a whole day absence.

All students should review their personal schedules to determine which class date will work best and to ensure they can meet these attendance requirements. Missed days or any portion of the required days (including tardiness) can result in dismissal from the class.

What grade do I need to earn to pass the class?

Successful completion of the class will require an 80% or higher grade on both tests and one quiz provided during the class. If an 80% is not met, there is an alternative test the next class date, and students are required to achieve the 80% or higher to continue the program. Labs must be graded as satisfactory, and clinical grading must average an 80%.

What happens after I complete the class?

Upon completing the training program, students will be prepared to select a CNA position at any of Living Branches’ three locations (Hatfield, Souderton, and Lansdale) as your primary work site, along with several preferred specialty areas, such as the Health Care (often called skilled nursing) and Personal Care communities.

As a graduate from the class, if you accept a job offer from Living Branches, you will continue at the uncertified nursing assistant rate of $16.00/hour for first shift until you pass the state competency and skills exam. Full-time and part-time positions are available.

Participants who successfully complete the class will be eligible to sit for the Pennsylvania State Nurse Aide Competency and Training Examination. Students must register through Credentia for the state competency and skills exam. The exam fee is paid by Living Branches, and your instructors will assist you with enrolling and preparing for the exam.

Upon successfully completing and passing the written and skills portion of the state exam, your Living Branches rate will be increased to match the department rate of $17.65/hour in Personal Care and $20.00/hour in Health Care. Those working second or third shift will receive an extra $2.00/hour shift differential in addition to the increased rate.

What are the benefits of working at Living Branches?

There is a lot more to working at Living Branches than your specific responsibilities, salary, and the pride of working for a successful organization that makes a difference. Living Branches also contributes to benefits that help to provide security for you and your family.

  • Medical Insurance: After 90 days as a regular full-time team member you can select from two medical plans that include a prescription plan. Depending on the plan you choose, your cost to cover yourself can be as low as $10.00 to $20.00 per pay if you participate in the Passport to Wellness program. If you opt not to participate, your total will be $40.00 or $60.00 per pay.
  • Dental and Vision: Benefits are administered through Guardian for regular full-time team members.
  • Paid Personal Leave: All regular full-time team members are eligible for paid personal leave (PPL).
  • Retirement: A 401(K) retirement plan is available to all team members who are 21 or older and have completed three months of service. You can join the plan the first of the month after meeting these requirements. The plan includes an employer contribution after one year and is provided in three parts with an employer match and an employer paid elective contribution totaling 7%, subject to board approval.
  • Insurance: Living Branches provides short-term and long-term disability, life insurance, and AD&D insurance for all regular, full-time team members.
  • Educational assistance: Assistance of up to $3,000 per year is available for regular full-time team members and up to $1,500 per year for regular part-time team members. In addition, yearly nursing scholarships are available.