Where will I work?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than half of all certified nursing assistant careers or CNA jobs are found in nursing and residential care facilities. CNAs also work in hospitals, home care and hospices.
Your job will be physically demanding and sometimes unpleasant, as CNAs in any facility are expected to change bed linens, clean and sanitize patient areas, empty bedpans, feed patients and help them move about if necessary. You will also need to assist patients in dressing, bathing and using the bathroom if they are unable to do so themselves. The job often requires that you lift patients on or off beds, examination tables, surgical tables or stretchers.
You will work under the supervision of licensed practical or vocational nurses or registered nurses, or a physician. Because certified nursing assistant jobs involve direct patient care, telecommuting is not a possibility.
How long does it take to find a job?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the outlook for CNA careers is exceptional, especially in long-term care facilities. Due to the demands of the job, however, many CNAs choose to leave the profession to get more training or another job altogether. The high turnover rate creates openings for jobseekers who want to begin a CNA career.
Because of the growing elderly population and the need for CNAs in long-term care facilities, the field is expected to grow 20% from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Growing demand for healthcare services overall will lead to more opportunities for CNAs in places like hospitals as well.
Students who have attended accredited online CNA programs, completed their clinical hours and passed the competency exam, should not have any issues finding employment due to the increasing demand for nursing assistants.
How have careers changed over the years?
Formal CNA training programs are a fairly recent development, though the CNA profession can trace its roots to World War II. During 1944 and 1945, the Red Cross employed thousands of nurse’s aides in what was known as the Volunteer Nurse’s Aides Corps.
CNA training programs were finally established in 1987, and prior to that, CNAs performed medical and household tasks without any training. They often performed medical tasks without the supervision of a licensed nurse or physician.
Growing concern for substandard care led Congress to pass the Omnibus Reconciliation Act (OBRA), which mandates CNA training guidelines. If you are seeking a CNA job today, you are required to complete between 75 and 100 hours of classroom and clinical work. You cannot call yourself a CNA until you have passed the state exam, and facilities will not hire you for a certified nursing assistant job unless you have completed both the coursework and the exam.
What are the top employers?
If you are starting a certified nursing assistant career, your major employers will be nursing and personal care facilities, hospitals and residential care homes. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the largest employer of nurses and nursing assistants in the world. The VHA system oversees 158 hospitals and 132 nursing homes in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and other U.S. territories and the Philippines.
Maxim Healthcare Services is the largest private medical staffing company in the country and is dedicated to helping CNAs find any position that fits their needs.
It is important to note that some states, like Michigan, do not recognize online CNA certification. Many employers, however, will accept CNAs trained through online programs as long as they have performed the required clinical hours and passed the state exam.