How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant


A certified nursing assistant (CNA) operates under the supervision of a senior nurse or a Registered Nurse (RN) while providing healthcare and assistance to patients. Since nursing assistants have a lot of contact with patients, they are able to provide all sorts of care to them such as medical, hygiene, emotional, physical and so on.

Working as a certified nursing assistant is a tremendous opportunity to work with professionals, physicians and other medical staff members – all of which allow you to gain maximum experience. It is a mentally and physically challenging job whereby most of the time may be spent multitasking and taking care of a number of patients.

If you wish to assist registered nurses and various medical professionals, becoming a certified nursing assistant is the way to go. It is also a good way to enter the medical industry as you may be exposed to many different departments. This will allow you to discover your strengths and interests – in due time you may be able to develop an area of interest which you could divert your energies towards. Ultimately, the learning and experience you gain may help you in advancing your career.

Job Duties

As a certified nursing assistant, you will have to fulfill a combination of duties which generally revolve around patient care and support. Some of your duties will also revolve around assisting senior nurses, physicians and other medical professionals. The list below should only serve as a general outline for job duties that you may face as a certified nursing assistant. Duties may ultimately vary depending on a number of variables such as experience level, size of medical facility, specialization, number of patients, and so on.

  1. You must be ready to perform any and all duties that full under the scope of the industry under the supervision of a senior physician or a registered nurse
  2. Provide food and manage the nourishment of the patient. You will also help feed patients who are unable to do so themselves
  3. Transfer patients in and out of rooms. Some patients may be immobile and you will need to help them move around
  4. You will be responsible for the patient’s hygiene care which may include bathing, dressing, grooming and so on. Hygiene comprises of personal hygiene as well as that of the surrounding
  5. Record and monitor the basic vitals of the patient. Blood pressure, temperature, breathing, intake etc. fall under this category
  6. The hygiene and sterilization of various equipment, instruments and medical peripherals is also a task you will be faced with.
  7. If needed, you will have to provide personal attention to patient’s in their homes. This is ideal for patients who are unable to get admitted into a hospital or a healthcare facility
  8. As a certified nursing assistant you may have to help your supervisors perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there may be an expansion in the hiring of nurses in the coming years owing to a number of reasons. Employment growth may take place once the number of hospitals, clinics, healthcare facilities and medical centers increase. Factors such as increased health awareness, improvement in technological devices that allow treatment and early detection of illnesses and increased importance on preventative medicine contribute to this expansion.

There is also an increasing trend in out-patient care where patients and families prefer the aide of a nursing assistant at home instead of a hospital. This too may contribute to an expansion in employment. Another point to note is that the turnover in the nursing industry is high as many candidates advance into their careers which may leave plenty of openings.

Salary Prospects

The average annual salary for a certified nursing assistant is $32,000 ( This figure may increase as you gain market experience and if you have a specialized skill relevant to the medical industry.

Educational Requirements

To become a certified nursing assistant, you must receive a post-secondary approved training program completion certification. You may actually find a number of training programs that specialize in nursing assistance. Most states require a license for nursing assistants to practice and the laws and regulations may vary from state to state – therefore each state’s requirement must be carefully researched. The usual licensing requirements outline that to complete a training program a candidate must have completed at least 75 hours worth of classroom lectures and patient-care training under the watchful eyes  of a supervisor.

Related Reading

Further Reading

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