Your Path to Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant

Certified nursing assistants, otherwise known as nurse aides, help with the care-taking of patients through the everyday tasks of living. They essentially watch over patients, usually elderly, who require around the clock care. Nursing assistants will report to registered nurses regarding progress or any special attention needed toward a patient. Some of their basic duties include bed-making, ambulation, bathing and feeding of patients, bathroom assistance, or even prepping for surgery or examinations. Depending on the employer duties can vary.

Step 1 Education

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Federal nurse aide certification is necessary in order to become a fully registered nursing assistant. Exams and training program requirements vary by state but typically they must be a minimum of 50 hours of classroom work combined with 100 hours of supervised clinical training. Students must take the national assessment exam for national certification which is approved by The National Association for Home Care. Those who complete their training are qualified as CNA's or "certified nursing assistants".

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Step 2 Job Search

CNA's typically earn an average salary of $20,266 to $30,287 a year. Incomes can vary depending on location, experience, and shift schedules.

Due to advances in medicine average life spans have increased so the demand for more nursing assistant caretakers has, and will continue to, rise in the next few years.

Step 3 Career

Certified nursing assistants will typically work in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and patient’s homes. Much of their work is done in shifts that can span days, nights, and weekends due to some patients requiring around the clock care. Many persons who take on this career must have a strong sense of compassion and empathy for their patients. Because they spend so much close personal time with them, they can become very emotionally attached.

Usually, CNA's will work in their field for a few short years before advancing into medical assistants, surgical assistants, or (most typically) registered nurses. Advancing into higher positions is easier for them due to their experience and education they have already gained in the medical field. Moving up into more prestigious career opportunities can increase one’s income by $20,000 to $30,000 more a year.