Certified Nursing Assistants
You don’t have to be a doctor or physician’s assistant to start a rewarding career in the medical field. If you have a passion for helping and caring for others but don’t want to endure years of school and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition, a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) might be an ideal career.
This guide gives you a complete overview of a CNA, including a certified nursing assistant job description, education requirements, salary information, and potential career paths after completing your CNA requirements.
CNA Job Description
A CNA is a desirable entry to the medical field if you’re wanting to enter the market quickly with minimal training, or if you aren’t completely sure about your career path but want to gain medical experience. Once you earn your certification as a CNA, you can continue your education to transition into a higher nursing role, such as an LPN or RN.
CNAs are in high demand in local, state, and private health institutions, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes. Their primary goal is to help patients with daily activities, including the following:
- Turning patients who are bedridden
- Lifting patients into bed, onto examination tables, or into wheelchairs
- Administering medication
- Changing sheets
- Restocking rooms with supplies
- Cleaning and sanitizing patient areas
- Attending to patient needs and requests
CNA job duties are fairly consistent across healthcare organizations. In addition, CNAs tend to work irregular hours, including overnight shifts, weekends, and holidays.
CNA Salary Expectations
CNA salaries can range from about $18,000 for entry level professionals up to $35,000 for seasoned CNAs. The median salary for a CNA is about $26,500.
The actual salary will vary between geographic area, type of facility (e.g. nursing home, hospital, in-home care, etc), and experience. Though you won’t get rich as a CNA, this job can serve as a vital stepping stone to take you further into your medical career.
Potential Career Paths for CNAs
Many CNAs enter the field as a CNA because they’re in high demand and the requirements are quicker and easier to meet than other medical careers, such as a Registered Nurse.
Once you’ve established yourself as a CNA, you can train to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), both of which come with additional job duties and a significant salary increase.
Or, for regular working hours and a slight pay increase, you may consider training to become a medical assistant. Most medical assistants work in physician offices on a more stable schedule and perform general tasks like taking vitals and recording medical histories.
In some cases, your employer may offer tuition assistance or on-the-job training to help you move to a higher nursing position.
Is a CNA Career Right for You?
With America’s aging Baby Boomers, the demand for CNAs will continue to grow, and the salaries may subsequently increase to attract candidates to the field.
Could becoming a CNA give you a fulfilling, desirable career? If you’re interested to learn more about the field, a nursing internship provides a direct window into the daily life of a CNA.
International Medical Aid offers Pre-Nursing/Nursing Internships for students interested in learning more about the nursing field. IMA’s interns observe first-hand from skilled experts in the medical and nursing fields, gain valuable knowledge, and help you decide your best career move.
Becoming a CNA can be a rewarding experience and introduce you to other opportunities in the medical field. Consider your options and enjoy a career that’s in the business of caring for others.