Is a Certified Nursing Assistant the Right Career for You?

Updated on October 20, 2021

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) plays an important role in providing comfort and assistance to patients in the healthcare field. It’s a rewarding career where you can make a difference directly, but is it the right one for you? This quick guide will provide the information you need. 

What the work involves

Reporting under a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse, a CNA can be responsible for numerous responsibilities. This is down to elements such as the state, the nurses’ level of demand, and the setting they’re working in. The latter can include inpatient hospitals, rehabilitation centers, residential facilities, and adult day care centers. 

CNA tasks can include:

  • Answering calls from patients 
  • Feeding patients, including recording their liquid and food intake
  • Bathing patients
  • Cleaning rooms, including bed linen
  • Shaving, combing hair, brushing teeth, and nail trimming
  • Repositioning or turning patients
  • Dressing wounds
  • Obtaining vital signs
  • Stocking and gathering supplies

The qualities a CNA needs 

Understandably, a nursing assistant role is not suitable for everyone. You need to possess a certain set of qualities to not only do this job effectively but also enjoy the work it involves. 

Most importantly, it’s essential you love interacting and talking with people. You will also require compassion, advanced communication skills, flexibility, and time management. Due to how the work can involve moving patients, physical strength is also beneficial. 

Becoming a CNA 

To become a CNA, it’s necessary for you to complete a training program approved by your state. Furthermore, you also need to successfully pass the CNA certification exam.

Selecting the right program can be the difference between succeeding and failing. You want a program that not only delivers all the information you need but also presents it in an easily digestible way. These aspects are central to CNA courses from Aceso Institute of Health Professions, for example, where their mix of skills and theory practice supply an engaging, thorough learning experience. 

Career outlook and earnings

Unsurprisingly, there’s a great demand for nursing assistants. Based on research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 1.5 million jobs in this field presently, and this number is expected to increase by 8% over the next decade. 

The median annual pay for a CNA is $30,830. This figure can differ drastically depending on two main factors: area and setting. The highest paying states for CNAs, for instance, are currently Alaska and New York, and you can expect to earn over $40,000 in these areas. Those who work in a VA hospital will also typically earn more than those who work in, say, a home health care setting. 

Future career prospects

Becoming a CNA is a useful way for someone to determine if healthcare is the right path to take. For those that do want to progress their career in this field, a CNA role can help them gain the knowledge required for a more prominent nursing role. This includes working as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or registered nurse (RN). 

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.