A certified nursing assistant (CNA) helps patients perform the daily activities they currently cannot do themselves: bathing, grooming, getting dressed, eating, changing positions, and basic housekeeping. A CNA can take vital signs and even clean dressings, all while operating under a licensed nurse or other medical professional who ensures that all medical concerns are tended to appropriately. CNAs are critical in helping hospitals meet their patients’ quality-of-life needs.
The road to becoming a CNA starts with a high school diploma, GED, or similar equivalence. The specific requirements from there vary by state, but there are some core requirements that are universal. A CNA candidate must clear a background test as well as pass a physical, including a TB test. They must take CNA course work, such as a Red Cross certified program. Ultimately, the candidate will need to pass a State Competency Test to verify their knowledge and skills.
U.S. job prospects for nursing assistants are better than ever, predicted to grow at a rate of at least 20% by 2020, perhaps at least in part due to the anticipated surge in the size of the elderly population. The average salary as of 2016 was just shy of $27,000 per year, but that number continues to increase over time. For anyone interested in a nursing career but unsure of where to begin, becoming a CNA can be a powerful first step for exposure and patient-facing time. Even the sites of work for CNAs are widely varied, as they may operate out of hospitals, clinics, or even home settings. One thing to keep in mind is that the job of a CNA can be somewhat physically demanding, requiring lifting and lots of movement.
If you are interested to find out more about how to become a CNA, or if you would like to find out more about other nursing careers, please use the contact information below to reach out.
My name is Katelyn, I have been a nurse for over 7 years, and I became a nurse after getting a Medical Biology Bachelor of Science. I was always caring for my friends and family. It took me a while to find nursing and when I did it just clicked, nursing was my calling, and it was what I was meant to do. Katelyn H.