Career Spotlight on CNAs

Posted February 8, 2020 - Revised February 8, 2020

The job of a certified nursing assistant (CNA) involves providing medical care to ailing or disabled individuals who cannot properly care for themselves.

CNAs are found in hospitals, mental health facilities, and clinics. Some make in-home visits to offer care, and a bit of companionship. Many CNAs work in nursing homes and assisted living facilities where they provide care to the elderly. These employees fill an essential role in both the healthcare industry and in society. Without CNAs, it would be difficult to provide patients with the physical and mental care they need. Therefore, a career as a CNA is rewarding yet challenging. It can also be the first step in a long successful career in healthcare.

CNAs, LPNs, and MAs.

Unlike a medical assistant (MA) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN), a CNA focuses on delivering direct patient care, usually in a long-term care environment. MAs often take on administrative duties and offer clinical support inside a doctor's office or hospital. LPNs assist doctors and registered nurses (RNs) with medical care tasks and the monitoring of various treatments. Under the supervision of a doctor or RN, LPNs will check vital signs, offer basic medical care, and talk with patients about their medical care regimen.

In comparison, CNAs spend most of their time offering more primary care, often in a nursing home or hospice environment. The educational and licensing requirements for becoming a CNA differ significantly from those for becoming an LPN or an MA. An LPN must be licensed by the state in which they wish to practice, which may require passing an examination. LPNs must typically hold a college degree to earn their license, while CNAs only need certification to practice.

How to Become a CNA

To earn CNA certification, students typically must finish a state-authorized training program, which often includes completing mandatory clinical hours and classroom instruction. Aspiring CNAs can enroll in programs offered by hospitals, vocational schools, community colleges, the American Red Cross, and other organizations. Furthermore, an expanding number of schools are providing CNA instruction online.

Most CNA programs require a high school diploma or equivalent to apply. Spanning medical terminology, physiology, and other topics, CNA coursework focuses on patient care theory and techniques. The clinical component of a CNA program concentrates on patient care through hands-on experience and patient interactions.

CNA programs typically include 4 to 12 weeks of coursework. After completion, graduates can earn the certification they need practice. Each state has a distinct certification program. Requirements might include passing exams, completing skills tests, and working a mandatory number of clinical hours.

Across the country, the healthcare field is desperate for care providers, and CNAs typically don't have problems finding employment. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for CNAs will grow by 9 percent through 2028.

We Can Help You Become a Successful CNA

At Ambassador, we often have well-paying, attractive CNA positions available. Please contact us today to find out how we can connect you to one of these opportunities.