Certified Nursing Assistant

Certified Nursing Assistant Job Description

CNAs are on the front line of patient care, and although not a particularly impressive title, the job is one of the most important in daily health care. People skills and compassion are every bit as important as medical qualifications; CNA tasks include feeding, grooming and bathing patients, checking vital signs and aiding nurses with medical equipment. CNAs, sometimes known as nurses aides, orderlies, home health aides or patient care technicians, work under nurses’ supervision, providing care and assistance where necessary; They also make note of relevant information to pass on to nurses, while supporting their patients both emotionally and socially.

Certified Nursing Assistant Salary

Certified Nursing Assistants at entry-level can earn between $35,000 and $50,000 annually, with the top CNAs earning an average of $65,500; factors here being where they work and years of experience. DNA is working in hospitals and other health facilities will have different salaries than those working in private home care. Clearly salaries will differ from state to state as well, but national averages are a good guideline.

Certified Nursing Assistant Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that 20% growth in nursing assistant jobs by 2025; the highest growth expected in home health care, (with more people preferring the comfort of treatment at home, as well as the cost saving aspect) although hospital work and jobs in nursing homes are also predicted with faster growth than the average career.

Certified Nursing Assistant Requirements

To begin a career as a CNA you must complete a certified nursing assistant program, and pass the examination. The exam is in two parts; written and practical, with the written portion generally being multiple-choice questions and will test the understanding of several skills. The practical or technical portion of the exam requires students to perform particular skills and demonstrate their abilities. Although it is possible to work as a nursing assistant without certification, job prospects and earning potential are greatly reduced.

Certified Nursing Assistant Training

There are many choices open to you for training, usually involving a course covering 6 to 12 weeks, leading to the final CNA exam. Training courses are available through local community colleges or through the Red Cross (these may cost between $300-600 for a course which may last as long as six months, but give more extensive training. Some health care facilities, i.e. nursing homes provide free classes, or projects where you pay as you learn, and some will cover the cost of your exams, then expect you to stay there to work over a certain period in exchange for this help. Search for practice tests online to prepare yourself, in fact nowadays it is possible to take your training course online too. These online Certified Nursing Assistant programs are fast joining the ranks of the most popular online training programs on offer.

It is important that you check with your state registry, as regulations on certification vary between states; detailed information can be found through your State Nurse Aide Registry or State Licensing Board.

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