If you love the idea of pursuing a career path that may help you enhance the health and well-being of others, but don't want to dedicate a decade or more of your time to medical school, you may want to consider a field that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has pegged as one of the fastest-growing professions in the years ahead: the certified nursing assistant. According to recent job market data, CNAs are likely to enjoy an unparalleled number of new job openings in the next decade, and job seekers with specialized training are likely to receive the most favorable -- and lucrative -- positions.
CNA Training School: What to Expect
Certified nursing assistants may provide help to nurses and other medical personnel in a variety of health care settings, including hospitals, doctors' offices, clinics, assisted care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and other medical environments. As such, CNA training programs offer students a broad-based introduction to all the information that is necessary to begin providing basic medical care and support to patients. Typical course content covered may include:
- Clinical lab techniques
- Diagnostic and imaging methods
- First aid and health care basics
- Health care ethics
- Health care administration
- Medical terminology
There are many different degrees that you may pursue to prepare for a nursing career. Basic CNA training or certificate programs may often be completed in a matter of months, with some or all of the coursework available online. This type of CNA certificate program may prepare candidates for entry level jobs as nurses' aides or nurses' assistants. Individuals looking to advance in the health care field may go on to pursue associate's or bachelor's degrees and work as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs).
Career Options for CNA Training School Graduates
Once you have pursued your CNA training, there are many different types of positions that you will likely be qualified for. Common job titles for recent grads of CNA degree programs include:
- Long-term care assistant
- Home health aide
- Nursing technician
- Psychiatric aide
- Hospice aide
- Rehabilitation assistant
While the specific duties associated with each of these roles can vary, they usually involve similar responsibilities. In a typical day on the job, certified nursing assistants respond to patient requests, collect laboratory specimens, make notes about patient food intake, assist in patients' personal care and grooming, serve meals, provide cleaning assistance, and help transport patients to appointments.
Salary Outlook for CNA Training School Degree Holders
Although the annual compensation for some entry-level jobs in the CNA field is relatively modest, these positions offer a level of stability and opportunity that many other fields with similar education requirements do not. Training as a certified nursing assistant is a great way to enter the health care field quickly and opportunities for employment are expected to be excellent in coming years.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mean annual salaries for certified nursing assistant jobs include:
- Hospital CNA: $26,540
- Nursing home CNA: $24,080
- Home health care aide: $23,070
- Government clinic CNA: $27,140
Because certified nursing assistant roles are often regarded as entry-level jobs, many CNAs leverage their training in the field as a way to break into the health care sector, and then continue with their education and specialized training to move into more lucrative sub-fields.
If you think a career in the rapidly expanding medical field might be the right path for you, CNA training can be a great way to get your start in health care. For more information and enrollment details, explore traditional and online CNA schools to find a program that suits your needs.