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Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) originated in WW1 when the Red Cross created a nurse training program called Volunteer Nurses’ Aide Service. As a CNA, you’re part of the greater good, taking care of people who need you. There’s no greater act of kindness than selflessness.
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CNAs work in healthcare settings such as hospitals, outpatient and assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. You may also find a job as an in-home caregiver. Your typical day as a CNA will look like this:
Becoming a certified nursing assistant is pretty straightforward and isn’t too terribly difficult of a goal to achieve.
Expect the clinical (hands-on) portion of the exam to be a bit harder than the practical (written) section. Be warned, you may have to recruit a friend for the clinical part of the state exam.
Also, depending on your state, you may have to provide your fingerprints and background check to be eligible to sit for the exam.
Many CNAs decide to go back to school in order to advance their careers. If you’ve decided that is what your plan is, then consider the following nursing options:
LPN: Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) usually supervise CNAs. You’ll dive deeper into patient care. More education will be necessary. You can choose to get either a diploma/certificate or an associate degree. It should take between nine months to two years to complete your education. You’ll make about $46,000 per year.
RN: You will need an associate degree if you plan on an entry-level registered nurse position. There are bridge programs available to jump from an associate degree to bachelor’s. Expect to earn around $65,000 annually.
Specializing: As an RN, you can decide to go into one of the many specialties. Consider pediatrics, maternal health, geriatrics, and much more. Or, you can decide to continue your education and get your Bachelor of Science-Nursing or Master of Science-Nursing. You could even get a doctorate in nursing. It’s just up to you and how far you want to take your career.
Because there isn’t too much education involved, becoming a CNA is considered more of an entry-level position. But, you’ll have your foot in the door of the medical field. You can expect your salary to be in the area of $28,000, with the high end pushing $39,000. The highest paying industries are government, hospitals, and nursing care facilities. The highest paying states are Alaska, New York, and Hawaii.
Over 173,000 new positions will be open through 2026. Due to the baby boomers aging, which is the largest demographic, more health-related issues will be prevalent. Also, there are a lot of openings due to job burnout because of the nature of the occupation. States where the most CNAs are available are Rhode Island, North Dakota, and Kansas. Industries with the highest concentration of jobs are nursing care facilities, retirement and continuing care facilities, and specialty hospitals.