Starting Your Career as a CNA

You’ve just completed your CNA training. What now? Well, the good news is that you are trained in one of the most in-demand fields today. According to the United States Department of Labor, excellent job opportunities are available to CNAs, and employment for trained CNAs is projected to grow faster than average.

Due to the increased need for long-term care in America, the Department of Labor projects at 19% growth in employment opportunities for nurse’s aides through 2018.

What does this mean for you? This means that after training and passing the CNA exam, you stand a very strong chance of finding a job.

What to Expect

As a CNA, you will have direct patient contact daily. Your tasks may vary depending on what institution you work at; however, your typical duties will include helping patients eat, bathe and dress, as well as taking vital signs, helping patients to ambulate and reporting any change in the patient’s medical condition to other nursing staff.

Because patients need 24-hour care, you may be required to work a variety of different shifts. Most CNAs work full-time and as a new nurse’s aide you might have to work holidays and weekends, depending on the scheduling needs of your place of employment.

Where to Find Work

Nursing Homes/Community Care Facilities

Because Americans are living longer, the need for long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes is dramatically increasing. In fact, almost half of CNAs that are employed in America are working in some type of long-term care facility.

The multitude of opportunities to care for the elderly is valuable insurance for your future employment prospects, even in the midst of a troubled economy. Nursing homes are a great resource for CNAs that are looking to begin their careers in healthcare.

Many CNAs are also employed in community care facilities. These residential care facilities care for elderly patients and for people with special needs. The clinical setting is similar to nursing homes; however, these patients will typically require fewer needs than patients do in nursing homes.

Home Health Aide

Working as a CNA home health aide is another growing opportunity for CNAs. As a home health aide, you will be responsible for taking care of patients in their homes. Many home health aides will be responsible for a variety of patients at several different locations.


Working in this environment will require you to have a strong sense of independence. As the population in nursing homes increases, the home health aide path will continue to be an excellent career opportunity for CNAs.


CNAs employed in hospital settings will be exposed to a wide variety of assignments. As a CNA in a hospital, you will be responsible for several patients at the same time. A strong proficiency in multitasking is essential to be successful in this environment.

Another benefit to working in a hospital is that you may be exposed to several diverse specialties within the hospital. For example, a CNA working on a Medical/Surgical floor will observe different clinical procedures than a CNA employed on an Oncology or a Maternity unit.

CNA Wages

How much money you earn as a CNA will ultimately depend on a variety of factors such as the type of institution that you are employed at as well as in what part of the country you work. Since the cost of living varies in America, this will be factored into your pay.

Here are a few examples of typical hourly rates:

  • Nursing homes –                   $10-$13
  • Community care facilities –  $9-$12
  • Hospitals –                             $11-$14
  • Home health aides –              $8-$10


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