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Become A Certified Nursing Assistant

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Working As A Certified Nursing Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Getting Information
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • $24,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Certified Nursing Assistant Do

Nursing assistants, sometimes called nursing aides, help provide basic care for patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes. Orderlies transport patients and clean treatment areas.

Duties

Nursing assistants provide basic care and help with activities of daily living. They typically do the following:

  • Clean and bathe patients or residents
  • Help patients use the toilet and dress
  • Turn, reposition, and transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs
  • Listen to and record patients’ health concerns and report that information to nurses
  • Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Serve meals and help patients eat

Some nursing assistants also may dispense medication, depending on their training level and the state in which they work.

In nursing homes and residential care facilities, assistants are often the principal caregivers. They have more contact with residents than other members of the staff. Because some residents stay in a nursing home for months or years, assistants may develop close relationships with their residents.

Orderlies typically do the following:

  • Assist patients with moving about the facility, such as pushing wheelchairs
  • Clean equipment and facilities
  • Change linens
  • Stock supplies

Nursing assistants and orderlies work as part of a healthcare team under the supervision of licensed practical or licensed vocational nurses and registered nurses.

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How To Become A Certified Nursing Assistant

Nursing assistants must complete a state-approved education program and must pass their state’s competency exam. Orderlies generally have at least a high school diploma.

Education and Training

Nursing assistants must complete a state-approved education program in which they learn the basic principles of nursing and complete supervised clinical work. These programs are found in high schools, community colleges, vocational and technical schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.

In addition, nursing assistants typically complete a brief period of on-the-job training to learn about their specific employer’s policies and procedures.

Orderlies typically have at least a high school diploma and receive a short period of on-the-job training.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

After completing a state-approved education program, nursing assistants take a competency exam. Passing this exam allows them to use state-specific titles. In some states, a nursing assistant or aide is called a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), but titles vary from state to state.

Nursing assistants who have passed the competency exam are placed on a state registry. Nursing assistants must be on the state registry to work in a nursing home.

Some states have other requirements as well, such as continuing education and a criminal background check. Check with state boards of nursing or health for more information.

In some states, nursing assistants can earn additional credentials, such as becoming a Certified Medication Assistant (CMA). As a CMA, they can give medications.

Orderlies do not need a license, however, many jobs require a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification, which shows they are trained to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Nursing assistants and orderlies must be able to communicate effectively to address patients’ or residents’ concerns. They also need to relay important information to other healthcare workers.

Compassion. Nursing assistants and orderlies assist and care for the sick, injured, and elderly. Doing so requires a compassionate and empathetic attitude.

Patience. The routine tasks of cleaning, feeding, and bathing patients or residents can be stressful. Nursing assistants and orderlies must have patience in order to complete these tasks.

Physical stamina. Nursing assistants and orderlies spend much of their time on their feet. They should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as lifting or moving patients.

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Certified Nursing Assistant Career Paths

Certified Nursing Assistant
Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Manager Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Manager Vice President
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Assistant Director Of Nursing
7 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Supervisor Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Shift Leader Manager
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Shift Leader Supervisor Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Assistant Director Program Director
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Shift Supervisor Supervisor Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Staff Nurse MDS Coordinator
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Staff Nurse Consultant Nurse Nursing Director
Chief Nursing Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Director Nursing Director
Director Of Health Services
10 Yearsyrs
Shift Supervisor Office Manager Assistant Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Patient Care Coordinator Registered Nurse Case Manager Nursing Director
Managed Care Director
9 Yearsyrs
Specialist Executive Assistant Assistant Property Manager
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Clinic Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Case Manager
Wellness Director
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Technician Specialist Activities Director Director Of Social Services
Resident Services Director
6 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Worker Residential Supervisor
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Shift Supervisor Office Manager House Manager
Home Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Nursing Attendant 3.6 years
Nurses' Aide 2.5 years
Resident Care Aide 2.0 years
Resident Aide 1.6 years
Top Careers Before Certified Nursing Assistant
Cashier 22.9%
Server 3.8%
Waitress 3.2%
Volunteer 2.7%
Internship 2.2%
Manager 2.0%
Top Careers After Certified Nursing Assistant
Cashier 10.8%
Server 3.2%
Internship 2.3%

Do you work as a Certified Nursing Assistant?

Certified Nursing Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

75.7%

Unknown

13.1%

Male

11.2%
Ethnicity

White

64.1%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

11.9%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

3.3%
Show More
Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

71.0%

French

9.1%

Portuguese

2.8%

Tagalog

2.0%

Russian

1.9%

German

1.6%

Arabic

1.4%

Polish

1.2%

Hindi

1.2%

Chinese

1.0%

Italian

0.9%

Hmong

0.9%

Swedish

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Mandarin

0.7%

Japanese

0.7%

Swahili

0.6%

Urdu

0.6%

Filipino

0.5%

Korean

0.5%
Show More

Certified Nursing Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

21.0%

The Academy

8.5%

Kaplan University

8.3%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

5.8%

Ashford University

5.5%

Everest Institute

4.7%

Grand Canyon University

4.2%

Bryant and Stratton College

3.5%

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

3.5%

Cuyahoga Community College

3.5%

Rasmussen College

3.5%

Remington College

3.4%

ECPI University

3.3%

A-Technical College

3.3%

Liberty University

3.2%

Community College of Philadelphia

3.1%

South University

3.1%

Gateway Technical College

3.0%

Keiser University

3.0%

Baker College

2.9%
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Majors

Nursing

43.4%

Nursing Assistants

14.5%

Medical Assisting Services

8.6%

Business

5.6%

Health Care Administration

5.4%

General Studies

2.7%

Psychology

2.5%

Criminal Justice

2.1%

Medical Technician

2.1%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

2.1%

Biology

1.4%

Human Services

1.3%

Education

1.2%

Pharmacy

1.1%

Health Sciences And Services

1.1%

Social Work

1.1%

Liberal Arts

1.0%

Accounting

1.0%

Cosmetology

0.9%

Management

0.9%
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Degrees

Other

45.8%

Associate

16.0%

Bachelors

14.8%

Certificate

12.0%

Diploma

4.4%

Masters

3.4%

License

3.2%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$24,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$19,000
Min 10%
$24,000
Median 50%
$24,000
Median 50%
$24,000
Median 50%
$24,000
Median 50%
$24,000
Median 50%
$24,000
Median 50%
$24,000
Median 50%
$30,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
CentraState Healthcare System
Highest Paying City
Richmond, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.2 years
How much does a Certified Nursing Assistant make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Certified Nursing Assistant in the United States is $24,133 per year or $12 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $19,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $30,000.

Real Certified Nursing Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead CNA and Staffing Coordinator Victoria Special Care Center El Cajon, CA Sep 15, 2016 $75,234
Nursing Aide/Assistant Lonika's Place Mission Viejo, CA Jun 05, 2008 $47,897
Nurse Assistant Lita & Ava Inc. DBA A Grace Sub-Acute & Skilled San Jose, CA May 31, 2016 $38,958
Nursing Assistants SAH-Rang-Bong Care Inc. Columbia, MD May 21, 2015 $31,970
Nurse Assistant George Primbs, Md Santa Barbara, CA Oct 02, 2007 $31,305
Nursing Assistant Arizona and 21St. Corp. Santa Monica, CA Oct 28, 2015 $30,742
Certified Nursing Assistant The Saratoga Hospital NY Jun 03, 2013 $30,679
Nurse Assistant Lita & Ava Inc. DBA A Grace Sub-Acute & Skilled San Jose, CA Jun 06, 2016 $29,682
Nursing Assistant Cecilia Joy Bollers Lanham, MD Sep 23, 2008 $29,162
Nursing Assistant Cecilia Joy Bollers Lanham, MD Mar 20, 2008 $29,162
Certified Nursing Assistant Elms of Cranbury Cranbury, NJ May 29, 2008 $28,571
Certified Nursing Assistant Elms of Cranbury Cranbury, NJ Nov 12, 2009 $28,571
Nursing Assistant Andover Partners LLC Houston, TX Sep 15, 2013 $28,000
Nursing Assistant Presbyterian Homes & Services Ankeny, IA Jul 25, 2016 $27,893
Certified Nursing Assistant Carrington Court South Jordan, UT Apr 15, 2016 $25,044 -
$29,218
Nursing Aide/Assistant Golden Coast Senior Living, Inc. Mission Viejo, CA Feb 01, 2008 $24,460
Nursing Assistants McIntosh Senior Living McIntosh, MN Nov 17, 2014 $24,209 -
$26,296
Nursing Assistant McIntosh Senior Living McIntosh, MN Nov 17, 2014 $24,209 -
$26,296
Nursing Assistant/Social Assistannce Services A & M Assisted Living Facility, Inc. Palm Bay, FL Apr 01, 2015 $24,001 -
$29,218
Nursing Assistant Carrington Court South Jordan, UT Feb 18, 2016 $24,001 -
$25,044
Certified Nurse Assistant Virginia Hospital Center Arlington, VA Dec 17, 2009 $24,001 -
$26,734
Certified Nursing Assistance Country Oaks Care Center Pomona, CA Sep 29, 2008 $24,001 -
$26,088
Certified Nursing Assistant Arcadia Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Hamilton, NJ Sep 23, 2015 $21,798
Nursing Assistant Master Staffing Inc. Glendale, CA Aug 26, 2016 $21,778 -
$21,840
Nursing Assistant Master Staffing Inc. Glendale, CA Aug 25, 2016 $21,778 -
$21,840
Nursing Assistant Master Staffing Inc. Glendale, CA Dec 27, 2016 $21,778

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Top Skills for A Certified Nursing Assistant

  1. ADL
  2. Personal Care
  3. CNA
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide personal care services and assists in activities of daily living (ADL).
  • Care for patients by changing bed linens, washing and ironing laundry, cleaning, or assisting with their personal care.
  • Worked as a CNA on third shifts taking care of 95 residents by bathing, changing, cleaning, etc.
  • Take vital signs, observe and report any daily changes, observe the signs and symptoms of death, personal care,
  • Ambulate and transfer residents utilizing appropriate assistive devices.

What is it like to work as a Certified Nursing Assistant

3.0

CNA

September 12, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Certified Nursing Assistant.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Certified Nursing Assistant?

Easy license to get for anyone who want to enter a market where there is always job openings available. You take care of residents or patients who need your help and as a reward become part of their family... Show More

What do you NOT like?

It can a short staff sometimes and as a girl when you are young and have to lift heavier patient it can be tiring.
Fear of getting sick from the patients... Show More

3.0

CNA

April 3, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Certified Nursing Assistant.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Certified Nursing Assistant?

I love to hear their stories and helping them with their adl's.. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Short Staffing.. Show More

How Would You Rate Working As a Certified Nursing Assistant?

Are you working as a Certified Nursing Assistant? Help us rate Certified Nursing Assistant as a Career.

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Top 10 Best States for Certified Nursing Assistants

  1. Minnesota
  2. Alaska
  3. New Hampshire
  4. New York
  5. North Dakota
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Oregon
  8. Florida
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Vermont
  • (1,109 jobs)
  • (70 jobs)
  • (373 jobs)
  • (1,542 jobs)
  • (84 jobs)
  • (178 jobs)
  • (431 jobs)
  • (1,760 jobs)
  • (811 jobs)
  • (137 jobs)

Top Certified Nursing Assistant Employers

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