What is a Certified Nursing Assistant, Plus a Quick Guide on How to Be a CNA
August 4, 2021

Certified nursing assistants or CNAs play an essential role in any healthcare facility. Supervised by Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), they provide basic care to patients. In this feature, you’ll learn about how to be a CNA as wellas the primary duties that this healthcare position entails.

What are the Basic CNA Duties

In a nutshell, CNAs provide essential care for patients and help them with their day-to-day activities. Their primary responsibilities include:

  • Bathing, grooming, and feeding patients
  • Ensuring that patients’ rooms stay clean and sanitized
  • Answering patient calls
  • Taking patient’s vital health information
  • Collecting patients’ histories
  • Observing patients’ physical, mental, and emotional status
  • Gathering RNs’ or LPNs’ supplies
  • Helping with some medical procedures

CNAs are part of the bedrock of the healthcare industry. Besides assisting with their workplace’s daily operations, they also offer social and moral support to help patients minimize their stress and manage their condition better.

How to Be a CNA

If you want to be a CNA, you have to first earn a high school diploma or a general education diploma (GED). Then, complete a CNA training program approved by your state. These courses, which comprise lectures and in-person clinical training, last from four to 12 weeks.

After completing your training, you have to pass a state-approved competency certification exam. A CNA certification should be renewed every two years.

Take note that CNA requirements vary from state to state. In New York, you also have to provide updated immunization records and pass a criminal background check. The minimum duration of your training program should also be 125 hours (including a 30-hour clinical training).

CNA candidates in the state are also given three attempts to pass the exam. Failing to do so requires retraining. The exam gauges both the candidates’ knowledge and skills. The knowledge test is multiple choice while the skills test involves performing nursing aide duties.

What are the Employment and Career Opportunities for CNAs

Once you pass the CNA competency exam, you can work in different types of healthcare settings:

  • State, public, and private hospitals
  • Nursing care facilities
  • Adult daycare centers
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Residential facilities
  • Private homes

According to 2019 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are around 1.5 million CNA jobs across the country. And with the increasing healthcare needs in the US, nursing aides are expected to become more in-demand. An estimate shows that the employment of CNAs and orderlies or ward assistants will grow 8% from 2019 to 2029 — a rate faster than other occupations.

As of May 2020, the median annual wage for CNAs is US$30,850. In New York, the annual average salary is between US$36,061 and $43,691.

After gaining experience as a CNA, you can also earn specialty certifications and potentially qualify for higher pay. These certifications include CNA II, Certified Alzheimer Caregiver, and Certified Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant among others.

You can further advance your career by pursuing an RN or LPN degree. RNs and LPNs are qualified to perform more advanced healthcare services and clinical functions.

Be a CNA Through Our Comprehensive Program

Apart from the technical know-how, being a nursing assistant requires stamina and a great deal of patience to help patients with their everyday needs.

If you are ready to become a CNA, we have the training program that you’re looking for.

We at the NY Healthcare School offer a hands-on, comprehensive program on how to be a CNA. Our career-focused CNA course can be completed in four weeks or eight weeks. Both our full-time and part-time programs comprise an additional 30-hour internship. For more details click here.

You may also reach us at (718) 840-3366 or school@nyhealthcareschool.com.