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Certified Nursing Assistant Career Profile

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Certified Nursing Assistant - CNA Description

Certified Nursing Assistants as the name implies, assist in basic nursing functions. A Certified Nursing Assistant is commonly referred to as a CNA. CNA's operate under the direction and supervision of a Registered Nurse. They are qualified to perform many basic, non-invasive nursing tasks and are primarily dedicated to the physical care and comfort of their patients. CNA's often develop close bonds with patients as they serve as the primary care giver, assisting in the performance of many basic grooming, hygiene, dietary, and sanitation functions. They are also called upon to assist nurses in checking vital signs and evaluating the overall health condition of the patients they care for.

The CNA can be a great training ground and starting point for an individual who has aspirations of becoming a Registered Nurse. Working as a CNA will provide an excellent background for a nursing career. Many CNA's will become certified to work as a CNA and go to work to earn a decent living while they further their education on a part-time basis en route to a registered nursing license. The CNA job can be physically and emotionally demanding - but it is also said to be one of the most rewarding jobs in healthcare because of the close interaction CNA's have with patients on a daily basis.

Certified Nursing Assistant - CNA Career Statistics

As part of the broader nursing pool, CNA's are in extremely high demand in the healthcare industry. In fact, according to the Department of Labor, the Certified Nurses Assistant position is one of the most rapidly growing careers in the healthcare arena. What is more, it is anticipated that due to a rapidly aging population in the US, Certified Nursing Assistants will enjoy a 19% growth rate over the next decade and will experience above average growth in job opportunities over the next several decades. Due to this extremely high demand it is an excellent time to enter this fast growing career field.

Education and Training Requirement for Certified Nursing Assistants

There are a number of community colleges and vocational career programs that cater to the training and preparation of CNA's. There are also a number of home study and online programs available. Be aware, that as is the case for all nursing careers, there is an important clinical component to the training. This typically must be conducted at a health care facility or a physical training facility designed to accommodate the needs of the CNA curriculum. If a CNA chooses to work in a State Licensed Nursing Care Facility, a minimum of 75 hours of State approved training is required. Additionally, the applicant must pass a certification exam. A typical curriculum for a CNA will include aspects of patient care and a variety of medical related coursework such as anatomy, physiology, disease processes, nutrition, and a detailed introduction to the basics of nursing and patient care. As mentioned, training programs will also include a clinical component.

Certified Nursing Assistant - CNA Salary

Once certified, a CNA can expect to find work quickly and should earn in the range of $10 - $14 per hour in an entry level position. This equates to roughly $23,500 to $29,000 annually. Salaries will increase over time depending on experience level, geographic location, and the type of healthcare facility. CNA's will have many options. Most work in care centers or hospitals, but many also work as home health aides and in assisted living centers or rehabilitation centers. Mental health centers, nursing homes, hospice companies, private homes, and government facilities also employ a good number of CNA's. As the baby boom population continues to advance in age, the demands for healthcare will increase exponentially and opportunities for CNA's will grow in tandem.

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