Overview Of Nurse's Aide and Certified Nursing Assistant Careers

Certified Nursing Assistants ("CNAs") are among the healthcare industry's most important practitioners.  Without these professionals, doctors and nurses would have a very difficult time ensuring that patients receive proper care.  This is precisely where there appears to be no end in sight to the demand for CNAs.  Nursing homes, doctors' offices, and hospitals have a growing need for their services.

CNA Career Overview

A CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant is also known as a nurse's aide or an orderly.  Ordinarily, CNAs work under the direct and close supervision of a nurse or other licensed healthcare practitioner.  Although most CNAs work in nursing homes or hospitals, they may also be employed as in-home healthcare providers.

Their basic professional tasks include helping patients to eat or dress and bathe themselves.  They also perform many of the same basic functions that licensed medical professionals do, such as taking vital signs and drawing blood.  They also assist patients with moving around.

Many nursing assistants work in patients' homes; many are not certified.

Demand and Job Growth of Certified Nurses Aide and CNA Positions

Current estimates project overall job growth for nurse's aides at about 28 percent during a ten-year time span that ends in 2016.  These estimates include those who work in medical and healthcare facilities as well as in-home healthcare providers.

In-home nursing aide job growth is estimated to increase by 46 percent.  This represents the greatest growth projection for any health-related occupation.  Due to this, in-home healthcare remains at the top of in-demand healthcare positions.

Pros and Cons of Working As A Certified Nurses Aide

A lot of opportunities current exist for CNAs and Nurses aides.  The job entry barriers are very low, while job growth potential remains very high.  Indeed, CNA training is relatively easy and requires only a few weeks to finish.

It should be noted, however, that the training and actual job functions can exact a high emotional and physical toll on a person.  Pay may also be relatively low and career advancement is not very plentiful.  Holding a CNA position can, however, be a great position from which to launch a more advanced medical career.

Education and licensure

CNA career requirements are not as extensive as licensed medical career positions.  Be aware, however, that specific requirements vary from one state to the next.  Employers may also have specific hiring prerequisites.

CNAs employed in medical or health facilities must generally undergo a minimum of 75 hours of training.  Certification is not a requirement for many nurses aide jobs, but it is readily available.

Those employed by in-home nursing aide agencies may have to be certified in at least CPR or other lifesaving techniques.

Many vocational, technical, and healthcare trade schools offer certified nurses aide and CNA classes.  Training can typically be completed within 6 to 12 weeks.

CNA and Nursing Aide Salary Expectations

According to Bureau of Labor official statistics, the average CNA salary currently ranges from $10 to $12 per hour.  This is the equivalent of roughly $20,000 to $24,000 per year.


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