The Certified Nursing Assistant Career Path

Certified nursing assistances, also called CNAs, are assistants to registered nurses, RNs, and licensed practical nurses, LPNs. CNAs work in a wide variety of places. Some of these include assisted living facilities, adult day care centers, hospitals, and nursing homes. You may also hear them referred to as nursing aides or nursing assistants.

The best certified nursing assistances have good communications with patients, which allows them to collect vital information that is passed on to their supervisor. Nursing assistances are the gateway between patients and nurses.

Job Demand 

The employment demand for CNAs is very high and will likely remain so. The certified nursing assistant field has a high turnover rate. This is due to the fact that being a CNA is on the way to being an RN. Many who are CNAs continue their education to become a registered nurse. This leaves many nursing homes and assisted living facilities without qualified CNAs.

CNA Education Requirements 

To become a certified nursing assistant you must have a high school diploma or a GED, and some form of post-secondary nursing education. This education can be from online schools, trade schools, and community colleges.

Programs usually last for about 6 to 12 weeks. There are a few different components to every good CNA education program. These include basic nursing skills, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, and infection control. There are many hands-on experiences during clinical activities where CNAs can better apply the educational concepts that they are learning.

Each applicant for a CNA degree must pass a certification exam given by the state. Those wanting to practice for the exam can go to The test consists of two different parts. There is a multiple-choice portion of the test and a clinical setting portion where you demonstrate the skills you’ve learned.

Once you are certified, you will need to complete 48 hours of continuing education every two years to keep your license. Many employers will cover the cost of this requirement.

Job Responsibilities 

CNAs are responsible for providing hands-on care to patients. Some of the normal job responsibilities include:

  • Repositioning Bedridden Patients
  • Taking Patient’s Blood Pressure, Temperature, and Other Vital Signs
  • Documenting Patient’s Issues
  • Cleaning Rooms And Bed Linens
  • Dressing Wounds
  • Reporting Patient’s Information To RN

The average certified nursing assistant gets paid about $25,090 annually according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. CNAs are typically paid on an hourly basis, which allows for them to pick up additional hours as they may like to increase their income. It’s important to note that geographical location has a large role in the amount of money you make working as a certified nursing assistant.

Many CNAs are happy in their fields because they get to spend time face-to-face with patients. This allows them to feel fulfilled by knowing that they helped other people feel better. Those who are CNAs can always choose to continue their education later to become a RN if they would like to make more money in the future.