Is Becoming a CNA Right For You?
Are you looking for an exciting career in the medical field? A career that will multiply your earning potential after a few short weeks of training? Do you have a passion for helping people? Is job security important to you? If so, a career as a certified nursing assistant may be just what you are looking for. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are the backbone of the healthcare team as they care for patients in hospitals, clinics, long term care facilities and patient homes. As a CNA, you will monitor and record the vital signs of your patients, ensure their safety, and attend to their personal needs such as bathing, dressing and feeding. Unlike many careers, becoming a CNA allows you to “design” your work life according to your personal preferences. Because hospitals and nursing homes never close, CNAs have a choice of working day, evening or night shift. Clinics offer the option of having weekends and holidays off. Nurse assistants also have the option of choosing from a large variety of specialty areas. Where do your interests lie? Does a fast paced emergency room sound appealing to you? Perhaps you’d prefer caring for patients in the home setting. No matter your area of interest, the preparation required is the same.
To become a CNA, you must first locate a CNA program. Classes are often provided by your local high school, Red Cross branch, community college or vocational school. Some hospitals and nursing homes offer CNA training free of charge in exchange for a work commitment for a set period of time. These programs often allow you to work while you prepare for your test and await your results. No matter the program setting, all students must complete classroom courses and clinical instruction in preparation for a state-board approved test. Salaries for CNAs range from $10-$19 per hour depending on your level of experience and the area of the country in which you live. If you aspire to go higher (looking ultimately toward a career as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse), look for a job in an organization that offers tuition reimbursement as a benefit. Many great nurses began their careers working as a certified nursing assistant while going to nursing school. Having your nursing classes paid for by your employer while gaining great “on the job” experience? What a great career plan!