While there are a lot of certified nursing assistant (CNA) jobs in hospitals, home healthcare, and long-term care facilities, opportunities abound in some surprising settings.
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) provide patients with bedside care and hold an important role in healthcare teams. While most CNAs work in nursing care facilities and hospitals, there are many different options for CNAs to explore.e
Are you a CNA seeking a new workplace, or are you considering a potential career as a CNA? This guide looks at the diverse work settings that employ CNAs to help you in your career path.
Thanks to an aging population and expanded healthcare coverage, certified nursing assistants are in high demand in places like assisted living centers, hospitals, home healthcare, and clinics. The job growth rate for CNAs is much higher than average, indicating a promising employment outlook.
CNAs can expect to take home an annual average CNA salary of $32,050, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Benefits and signing bonuses can increase wages. Additional training and specialty nursing certifications may also improve a CNAs earning potential.
CNAs are essential members of any healthcare team. A CNA career includes duties like patient cleanliness and safety, assistance with daily tasks, and helping with patient mobility. They provide hands-on care, address patients needs, and advocate on patients behalf.
These skills apply to many work settings. The list below looks at specific CNA roles at each workplace.
- Long-term residential facilities.
- Nursing homes.
- Rehabilitation centers.
- Adult daycare centers.
- Rarely, clinical facilities.
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Education and training for a CNA
If youre interested in becoming a nursing assistant, you can enroll in a training program to earn certification. Training can take as little as two months before students are ready to take an exam. These training programs include:
During the education portion of training for CNAs, students learn about patient anatomy, physiology and nutrition and hydration, which helps access basic patient needs, monitor vital signs and provide wound care. They also take courses on infection control to help contain disease, handle hazardous materials and this knowledge aids in wound care. An important job role CNAs have is to assist nurses by collecting samples or taking a patients history, and students also learn these technical skills while in the classroom.
CNAs have the opportunity to learn many of their required skills in a clinic with hands-on experience, but instructors also teach some skills, such as CPR, in the classroom.
Certification to be a nursing assistant requires clinical experience, which students receive in the training program. During the clinical education, students can practice patient care, such as bathing patients and helping with basic hygiene. They also get hands-on experience to take vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure, and they learn how to assist patients with mobility.
After completing the education and gaining clinical experience, students can take a two-part exam. This exam tests a students knowledge of basic patient care, anatomy and the duties a nursing assistant performs. When a student passes this exam, they become a certified nursing assistant.
What is a CNA?
A CNA is a certified nursing assistant. Healthcare professionals also refer to CNAs as nursing assistants or patient care nurses. These individuals support nurses by attending to patient needs that mostly relate to hygiene. Some of a CNAs job duties include:
Important skills for CNAs
Here are skills to help ensure success as a CNA:
Where can CNAs work?
CNAs can work in a variety of locations and environments, including these 11 places:
Hospitals are the most popular setting for a CNA to work. In this environment, a nursing assistant may see a variety of patients and help treat and care for many conditions. Sometimes they may work in a specific department, such as oncology, and regularly treat patients with the same condition. Typically, it is a full-time position, and a hospital may offer a higher base salary than other types of medical clinics. Hospitals prefer CNAs with experience because of the volume of patients and the variety of tasks they may need to care for in a hospital setting.
Assisted living care centers
CNAs who work in assisted living care centers work with patients who are independent but require some assistance. Most patients need emotional support and help with mobility. Many training programs for CNAs take place in assisted living because the patients require little care and are not in critical conditions. In this work environment, CNAs can enjoy meaningful bonds with patients and a low-stress job.
Nursing homes are in constant need of certified nursing assistants because patients in these medical centers often require full-time care. Working in this environment, therefore, requires emotional endurance and compassion. CNAs often help with hygiene, maintain basic care, such as nutrition and hydration, and provide mobility assistance and emotional support.
Home healthcare enables patients to stay in their own homes while receiving personal care. In some cases, CNAs working for a home healthcare agency earn as much as they would in a hospital. The work environment can be low-stress because in-home healthcare professionals work with fewer patients and the work pace is slower than at a hospital. CNAs may need to assist with mobility, bathing, using the bathroom and cooking.
Adult day care centers
CNAs who work in adult day care centers help patients who have mental or physical disabilities that prevent them from caring for themselves. In this work setting, nursing assistants get to work with familiar patients and enjoy full-time hours. Typically, they work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. because patients are not residents in the day care center and return home with caregivers each day. This work environment can be slow-paced, and patients often require less intensive care.
CNAs working in adult day care centers can expect to assist with mobility, eating and using the bathroom. They also provide company and perform recreational activities for patients, such as crafts and board games.
Private practices are typically small, specialty clinics where CNAs can work. Patients do not stay overnight, so nursing assistants can enjoy regular work hours. Care is less intensive in private practice, so CNAs primarily focus on assisting staff by stocking supplies, prepping patients and recording medical histories. In private practice, it is common to see patients with similar conditions because the doctors who own the practice likely specialize. For example, the practice may be for family medicine, dementia care or radiation therapy.
Traveling CNA agencies
CNAs can choose to work as independent contractors and travel to medical facilities that need nursing staff. Traveling CNAs have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, which means they see patients with many conditions requiring differing levels of care. Traveling CNAs gain a lot of experience in different environments, which is helpful if they have an interest in eventually working in a single location.
Department of Health and Human Services
The Department of Health and Human Services has offices in every state, often even in every county, and they hire CNAs to help assist with patients in a variety of settings, including substance abuse centers, developmental facilities, psychiatric hospitals and neuro-medical treatment centers. The work environment depends on patients and the degree of treatment they require. Job duties for a CNA in the Department of Health and Human Services often involve providing company and basic care and assisting medical staff.
Federal Bureau of Prisons
CNAs can work for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and provide medical treatment to residents of a prison. This includes giving vaccinations, dressing injuries, treating diseases and assisting medical staff. The work environment of a prison can be challenging emotionally, but it is important and rewarding work.
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense hires CNAs to work with military personal. They may assist field medics and treat soldiers injuries. CNAs working for the Department of Defense may also work adjacently to the National Guard and aid in emergency situations such as natural disasters. This employer may require travel, but CNAs can treat a variety of patients and conditions.
Veterans Health Administration
The Veterans Health Administration takes special care to provide healthcare to veterans. For CNAs, this work environment involves assisting in the treatment of disabled, injured or ill patients. They work in clinics that specialize in treating veterans, and many employees have high job satisfaction because their work is valued. Similar to civilian hospitals, CNAs may work irregular hours, including night shifts, to provide overnight care.
Where can CNAs make the most money?
What is the best job for a CNA?
- Nursing Technician. Salary range: $30,500-$132,500 per year. …
- Nursing Unit Clerk. Salary range: $31,000-$70,500 per year. …
- Nurse Aide Evaluator. Salary range: $31,500-$58,500 per year. …
- Cna Per Diem. Salary range: $33,500-$50,000 per year. …
- Cna Ltc. …
- CNA Hospital. …
- Cna Pct. …
- Nursing Attendant.
What tasks can CNAs do?