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Certified Nursing Assistant

Learn about becoming a CNA and how it may open a door to the world of health care...

Nursing assistants, also called nurse aides, help care for injured, sick, elderly, or disabled individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, or residential care facilities. Other titles, such as home care assistants, hospice assistants, geriatric assistants, patient care assistants, or direct care workers, all fall under the umbrella of nursing assistant.

Certified Nursing Assistant Job Description

They perform many routine duties, offering direct care for the patient under the supervision of the physicians or nursing staff. Some specific duties include helping patients dress, eat, groom, or bathe. They may serve meals, make beds, or assist patients as they escort them to examining rooms. Additionally they may check some vitals, such as temperature, pulse, blood pressure, or may observe their physical condition and report any problems to the nurses. While the job is less advanced than that of a registered nurse, their work is invaluable in helping provide individual care, and they often have more one-on-one contact with the patients than other medical staff.

Become a Nursing Assistant

Nursing Assistant Related Resources

CNA Education and Training Options

This is a great entry-level job if you are interested in working in healthcare, as many employers will offer training on the job with only a high school diploma. However, gaining some training first is ideal. There are training programs offered in vocational and community colleges. Coursework will cover nutrition, anatomy, physiology, communication, infection control, as well as personal care skills. Short certification programs will make you a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Additionally, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice offers some educational programs as well certificates. Most employers will prefer employees who have completed a training program and passed a certificate exam offered in the program. Certification demonstrates that your skills are on par with national standards and that you are serious about this job. Requirements will vary by state, so check with your state’s board of health or nursing to inquire about eligibility to work as a nursing assistant.

Certified Nursing Assistant Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing assistants are expected to grow at a rate of 18% throughout 2018, which is much faster than the average growth for all occupations. The National Network of Career Nursing Assistants estimates that an additional 700,000 new positions will be open and need to be filled over the next twenty five years. The average salary for a nursing assistant in 2009 was $12.01, and the highest 10% of earners earned over $15 an hour. CNA jobs in hospitals tend to be slightly higher paying than in residential care facilities or individual family services.

This can be a quick entry into a growing healthcare field. There are many advancement opportunities from here should you choose to pursue additional training or continuing education. Many registered nurses (RN) start off as nursing assistants as they learn the ropes and how much they enjoy caring for the sick, and go back to school to earn their nursing degree. If you enjoy helping people and would like to begin a career in healthcare, this could be a great career choice for you. But find a cna training program first to ensure that you will be competitive when you seek a nursing assistant job.