CNA is a healthcare profession you can enter with less than one year of training, and will provide a secure future because of persisting high demand.
If you are a service oriented person and love to provide support and care to people needing your help, CNA may be a good niche for you.
What is a CNA?
A CNA is a Certified Nurse Assistant who works in a hospital or nursing care facility and who provides basic care to patients under the supervision of a registered nurse. The CNA performs important services that are fundamental to the functioning of the medical or nursing facility.
They keep the patients clean and cared for, not only physically, but emotionally and socially as well. They assist the nurses in multiple ways to carry out procedures for successful healthcare.
Some of the services CNAs provide are:
• Assisting patients with personal hygiene such as bathing, brushing teeth, shaving, combing hair and dressing
• Monitoring patients such as by obtaining vital signs
• Maintaining charts and providing reports on patient conditions to nurses
• Answering call lights and assisting patients as needed
• Keeping patient rooms and linen neat and clean
• Helping patients move and perform regular exercises
• Gathering needed supplies for the RN or MD
• Helping with medical procedures such as dressing wounds
What Training is Required?
A high school diploma or GED is needed to enter a CNA certificate program of six to twelve weeks offered by community colleges and some medical facilities.
A program of four to eight weeks is also offered by the American Red Cross.
Training consists of classroom instruction and clinical experience. Each state has a specific requirement of the number of clinical hours required before applying for certification.
Upon completion of the program, students take a CNA certification examination. This exam consists of a written part of multiple choice items, and a clinical skills part which is scored by a test observer. Passing the test qualifies you for certification and employment.
If you are specifically looking to become a pharmacy technician, there is a 13 week course you can take to become a pharmacy technician.
What is the Job Outlook?
The job outlook for CNAs is very positive. The number of elderly in the country will increase dramatically as baby boomers age and more CNAs will be needed to provide assistance in long term nursing facilities as well as home care.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an 11 percent growth in employment of nursing assistants between 2014 and 2024.
How Much Do CNAs Earn?
BLS reports that the average annual salary of nursing assistants in 2017 was $28,540. The averages for the top 10 percent in this occupation was $38,630 and for the bottom 10 percent, $20,680.
Salaries were highest for nursing assistants working at general medical and surgical hospitals, averaging $30,640 annually. They were lowest at nursing facilities for the elderly, at $26,700.
Besides quick entry into the profession, the advantage of becoming a CNA is that it gives you exposure to nursing work. If you decide to take further training toward becoming a registered nurse, some colleges may give you credit for your work experience as a CNA.