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What Is an STNA and How Are They Different From CNAs?

STNA stands for a state-tested nursing assistant. This title is used exclusively in the state of Ohio and is equivalent to the title of a certified nurse assistant, or CNA. Though extremely similar, there are minute differences between STNAs and CNAs.

STNA Job Description and Duties

The job duties for both titles will generally be the same regardless of state. STNAs and CNAs can provide basic personal assistance as well as perform various limited medical procedures under supervision by a nurse or physician. Although job responsibilities may vary between one workplace and another, STNAs and CNAs typically fulfill the following duties:

  • Look after the nutritional requirements of patients;
  • Administer medicine to patients;
  • Assist bedridden patients with movement;
  • Measure vital signs such as temperature, sugar, blood pressure, respiratory rate, etc;
  • Maintain patients medical records;
  • Inform the supervisory nurse or doctor of the client/patient’s medical condition(s);
  • Ensure hygiene and other physical and psychological need(s) of patients;
  • Clean, maintain, and sterilize medical equipment.

STNA Work Environment

Both STNAs and CNAs work in nursing homes, hospitals, day-care centers, rehabilitation centers, residential care facilities, and assisted living facilities. In some cases, STNAs and CNAs may work in a patient’s home, but traditionally they work in a clinical setting since at-home privately paid positions do not generally require certification/formal training.

STNA Education

To gain entrance into a CNA or STNA education program, students are required to complete a high school diploma or must possess a GED (General Education Development) certificate.

Nurse aide certification requirements vary between states, but, traditionally, nurse assistants are required to undergo at least 75 hours of classwork and training which includes theoretical and practical portions, from a program school that is accredited by the State Department of Health. Topics which covered in the CNA classes are:

  • Human Physiology;
  • Anatomy and Physiology;
  • Patient safety/cleanliness;
  • Professional communication skills;
  • Basic health needs;
  • Daily living personal care;
  • Activities/exercise;
  • Foods and fluids;
  • Digestion/elimination;
  • Vitals;
  • Special/situational procedures;
  • Mental health.

Finding Nursing Schools

There are various options for finding CNA training. School requirements, program costs, scholarships, and paid training options vary by state. Both programs can be found online or offered by various local care companies. There are many advantages to accredited CNA programs and accredited STNA programs. If you choose to go with a program that is not accredited, be wary. Avoid making hasty decisions, make sure to look at reviews, and contact the school for more information to ensure that you will be receiving a proper, comprehensive education.

STNA Certification

STNA certification is carried out at the state level. A CNA certification program generally consists of 120 hours, broken into:

  • 80 hours of classroom work;
  • 40 hours of clinical instruction.

An STNA program generally takes fewer hours to complete — sometimes as little as two weeks. The program is generally 75 hours, broken down as:

  • 59 hours of classroom work;
  • 16 hours of clinical instruction.

If you have (or had) a CNA license — or STNA license in Ohio — transferring licenses to another state comes down to whether or not there is a reciprocity agreement between the state you have your license in and the state you wish to work in.

STNA Certification Exam

You must take and pass a nurse aide exam conducted by the concerned state to become a CNA or STNA. The STNA examination can be found and registered online. The 79-question, 90-minute test is broken down as follows, with each bullet representing topics of interest and the number of questions associated with them:

  • Safety – 10
  • Infection – 7
  • Personal Care – 7
  • Mental Health – 4
  • Care Impaired – 6
  • Resident Rights – 7
  • Communication – 7
  • Data Collection – 4
  • Basic Nursing Skills – 11
  • Role and Responsibility – 8
  • Disease Process – 4
  • Older Adult Growth – 4

You are also required to take a skills test where you perform four skills randomly chosen from a list of 25 essential nursing skills. Both tests require an 80% to pass, and you can find practice tests and various study guides online to help you prepare

20 different jurisdictions use the NNAAP exam to determine how prepared CNA license applicants are. These jurisdictions include:

All other jurisdictions use a state-level examination. The CNA skills that are tested and the exam requirements tend to vary between states. This test is also a two-part exam — a written/oral test and a skills demonstration. Similar to the STNA test, you also need to pass both with 80%. You can find various practice tests and other study guides online as well.

What Is an STNA Salary?

The average hourly pay for STNAs is around $12.21. At 40 hours a week, this equates to about $25,397 annually. The average CNA salary is around $15. At 40 hours a week, this comes out to about $31,200 annually. It is important to note that this number can fluctuate depending on the amount of education you have, the amount of experience you have, and the city/state that you practice in.

STNA Career Growth

One of the reasons for choosing a career as a CNA is that certified nurse assistants have bright job prospects, and they can apply for jobs in a variety of realms — this also is true for STNAs. The occupational outlook for nursing assistants is expected to grow at 9% between 2018 and 2028 — faster than average for most fields. Some may choose to stay at this level forever, but both respective titles offer unique career ladders to climb.