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The Ultimate Guide to GNA  Jobs

The Ultimate Guide to GNA Jobs

Dr. Charlene Brown
Dr. Charlene Brown
Founder, Caregiver Jobs Now

Becoming a GNA

So, do you love caring for seniors? Well, our nation is aging and our aging loved ones need certified caregivers who can help them to age gracefully. That's why senior care companies, especially nursing homes, advertise so many jobs for geriatric nursing assistants or GNA jobs. In Maryland, only certified nursing assistants who have taken GNA classes and become certified as geriatric nursing assistants (GNA) are allowed to work as caregivers in nursing homes.  It's the law! So, why are only GNA allowed to work in nursing home jobs? Well, a GNA has specialized training above and beyond their CNA training that prepares them for the unique challenges of working in a nursing home setting.

Nursing homes are the #1 employers of nursing assistants in Maryland. That's why Maryland nursing homes are always hiring GNA. If you are already a Maryland certified nursing assistant and you love caring for seniors, this is the best time to become a geriatric nursing assistant (GNA) and look for GNA jobs. If you know that you want to work in GNA jobs at nursing homes in Maryland even before starting your CNA training, some schools offer combined CNA GNA classes so that you can pursue both certifications together.

If you are going to take GNA classes or CNA GNA classes, then the first step is to review the list of all of the organizations that provide GNA classes and are approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing (MBON). If you already have a CNA certification, then just consider the companies that offer GNA classes, including nursing homes that offer their own GNA training. If you are exploring becoming a certified nursing assistant for the first time, then you can find CNA GNA classes at select Maryland training programs. 

CNA to GNA Training Programs

Name

City, State

Phone Number

 School Type

Quality 1st Training Center  Hyattsville, MD (301)-270-5105 Private Career School
Prince George’s Community College Largo, MD (301)-546-5215 Continuing Education*

CNA/GNA Training Programs

Name

City, State

Phone Number

School Type

Alleghany College Cumberland, MD (301)-784-5529 Continuing Education*
Anne Arundel Community College Arnold, MD (410)-777-7387 Continuing Education*
Baltimore City Community College Baltimore, MD (410)-986-3207 Continuing Education*
Bethel Healthcare Institute, Inc. Hyattsville, MD (301) 559-0200 Private Career School
Caroline Center Baltimore, MD (410) 563-1303 Private Career School
Caroline Center - West Baltimore, MD (410) 929-7518 Private Career School
Carroll Community College Westminster, MD (410) 386-8100 Continuing Education*
Center of Applied Technology –North Severn, MD (410) 969-3100 Private Career School
College of Southern Maryland La Plata, Leonardtown, & Prince Frederick, MD (301)-539-4760 Nursing School**
Community College of Baltimore County Essex & Catonsville, MD  (443)-840-2222 Continuing Education*
Coppin State University, School of Nursing Baltimore, MD (410).951.3000 Nursing School**
Gandhi Health Career Services Pikesville, MD (443) 341-6171 Private Career School
Greenbelt Career Institute Greenbelt, MD (301) 982-1262 Private Career School
Harford Community College Bel Air, MD (443) 412-2172  Continuing Education*
Healthcare Training Solutions, LLC Temple Hills, MD (240) 455-6278 Private Career School
IT Works Learning Center - Fayette Baltimore, MD (410) 626-0200 Private Career School
Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing   Baltimore, MD (410) 955-4766 Nursing School**
NurseOne, Inc. Lanham, MD (301) 459-8899 Private Career School
Salisbury State University Salisbury, MD  (410)-548-2242 Nursing School**
Stein Academy Baltimore, MD (410) 922-4910 Private Career School
Stevenson University  Owings Mills, MD (410) 486-7000 Nursing School**
Top Knowledge Healthcare Institute  Baltimore, MD (301) 602-4564 Private Career School
Vision Allied Health Institute Towson, MD (443) 520-0801 Private Career School

*Most community colleges offer non-credit/continuing education CNA/GNA courses. These schools also offer nursing programs. There are certain classes that nursing students in the degree programs take that confer eligibility for them to take the NNAAP exam and become licensed as a GNA.

**There are some nursing schools that do not offer non-credit/continuing education CNA/GNA programs. The nursing students in the degree program are still able to take the NNAAP exam and pursue licensure as a GNA if they take the nursing courses that meet the GNA requirements.

Passing the NNAAP exam (aka the GNA exam)

When choosing a school for your GNA training, make sure that the GNA classes will prepare you for the GNA exam also known as the NNAAP Exam (National Nurse Aide Assessment Program) Examination. MBON publishes the list of required courses at each GNA training program and you can make sure that you know and take the classes that will make you eligible to take the Maryland NNAAP exam. You can find and review the list of required courses at each school that offers GNA training on page 7 of the list of 2019 approved nursing assistant training programs 

It’s important to remember that you cannot work as a geriatric nursing assistant until you have successfully passed the NNAAP exam (written and skills). When you are evaluating schools, be sure to ask them about their GNA exam pass rates so you can figure out if they are doing a good job with training and test preparation. Once you pass the exam, the Maryland Board of Nursing will provide your actual GNA license number. It's the Maryland State government, through the Board of Nursing, that gives you your license, not the company that conducts the GNA exam. If you miss the GNA exam, you still be able to take it, under certain circumstances.

How do I get my GNA License?

The Maryland Board of Nursing explains the initial GNA certification and we’ve summarized it in 6 easy steps below:

  1. First, complete GNA classes or CNA GNA classes at an MBON-approved training program, as described above.
  2. Second, if you don’t already have a CNA license, you will need to become certified as a CNA by MBON before you can take the exam
  3. Third, apply to take the NNAAP exam and pay the necessary fees.  Check out this handbook from Pearson Vue that explains how to do that.
  4. Fourth, once your exam scores have been calculated, they will be sent to the Maryland Board of Nursing for review.
  5. If you passed the NNAAP exam, your nursing assistant license status will be updated in the MBON license lookup database to include your GNA license and license number. You won’t get a new document, but it will show up on your CNA certification whenever you renew your CNA.
  6. You will need to meet all federal requirements and Maryland continuing education requirements to renew your GNA certification. 

How do I prepare for GNA jobs?

It's actually really hard to get a job right after you finish your GNA training. Some nursing homes will hire you in another role until you obtain your GNA license. Most nursing home employers are likely to wait until you have passed the NNAAP exam and received your GNA license before hiring you to work for them in GNA jobs. This makes sense because nursing homes can't legally hire you to work as a caregiver unless you have a GNA license from the Maryland Board of Nursing. It's even worse if you've taken CNA GNA classes. As noted earlier, you need to get your CNA license before you are eligible to take the NNAAP exam and become licensed as a geriatric nursing assistant. Unfortunately, you may face a waiting period between the time you finish your GNA classes and the time that you are legally licensed and allowed to work as a geriatric nursing assistant in a skilled nursing facility

Even though the GNA specialty was created specifically to prepare CNA for work in skilled nursing facilities, a GNA is still a type of CNA. This means that a geriatric nursing assistant can work anywhere that a CNA can work. That’s good news for you as a new geriatric nursing assistant. In addition to nursing homes, you will be able to find caregiver jobs at home care agencies, assisted living facilities, adult daycare centers, and more. If you have your heart set on working in a nursing home, then you can work in CNA jobs and other types of caregiver jobs to pay your bills until your GNA license is ready. Some caregivers working outside of healthcare in retail or food services while waiting for their GNA license. 

Once you have passed the NNAAP exam, look for GNA jobs at skilled nursing facilities in your area and start preparing for your job interviews. Consider the following resources to help you prepare for GNA interviews: 

How do I find GNA jobs near me?

If you're a geriatric nursing assistant wondering how to find nearby GNA jobs, visit the listings for GNA jobs on CaregiverJobsNow. There are some particularly hot markets for GNA jobs in Maryland. Nursing homes, home care agencies, assisted living facilities, and more want to hire you. Check them out by clicking any of the city names listed below! 

GNA Jobs

Baltimore Emmitsburg Lutherville-Timomium Rockville 
Bel Air Frederick Middle River Sandy Springs  
Bowie Frostburg Mitchelville Severna Park 
Catonsville Glen Burnie Mount Airy Silver Spring
Cockeysville   Hagerstown Nottingham Suitland
Columbia Hampstead Odenton Sykesville
Cumberland La Plata Parkville Upper Marlboro
Easton Lanham Pikesville Waldorf
Ellicot City Laurel Randallstown Westminster

Also, ask your friends, review employer ratings, and make decisions about the best places to look for GNA jobs. We wish you an exciting career as a geriatric nursing assistant. Remember to take the right GNA classes, study for and pass the NNAAP exam, get your GNA license, and look for the best jobs doing work that you love.

The CaregiverJobsNow Team


Dr. Charlene Brown

Dr. Charlene Brown is the Founder of Caregiver Jobs Now where we connect CNA and Caregivers to meaningful jobs. She is a recognized expert in public health who is Board-certified in Preventive Medicine, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, and licensed to practice medicine in the State of Maryland.

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