What Is a CNA?

Certified nursing assistants or CNAs are the medical workers who mainly transport patients and assist with their day-to-day living in a healthcare facility or in the patient’s home. They also do tasks that do not involve direct patient care. Basically, they are assistants and are supervised by staff such as nurses.

It is vitally important to be informed!
Be sure to request information from more than one school in order to compare which program is best for you.

Popular Schools — Or Choose A State —>

Matching School Ads

At Post University, we believe you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold to further your education. That’s why we offer a wide range of quality Certificate, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in a highly interactive online format that emphasizes flexibility, convenience, and support. Whichever program you choose, you can take classes in 8-week modules, six times a year from faculty members with advanced degrees and extensive real-world experience. You’ll also enjoy access to a full array of academic support services, including advising, tutoring, writing center assistance, and our virtual library at no additional charge.

Programs:

  • Certificate: Legal Nurse Consulting
Looking to advance your career or enhance your professional skills? Earn your degree online at Grantham University. Programs include Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Computer Science and more.

Programs:

  • Bachelor of Science Nursing - Nursing Diploma
  • Master of Science in Nursing (Bridge Program)
  • Bachelor of Science Nursing - Associates to Bachelor
  • And more...

An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so what you’re learning is immediately applicable to your career. We serve more than 36,000 students from the U.S. and around the world and offer more than 140 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 20 certificate programs.

Programs:

  • BSN - RN-to-BSN Completion (CCNE-accredited)
  • MSN - RN-to-MSN Nursing Leadership and Admin (CCNE-accredited)
  • MSN - Nursing Leadership and Administration (CCNE-accredited)
  • And more...

Give your career a boost with University of Saint Mary. We offer online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels to help make your educational and professional goals a reality.

Programs:

  • RN to Bachelor's of Science in Nursing
  • MSN - Nurse Administrator
  • MSN - Nurse Educator

Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

Programs:

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • RN to BSN
  • RN to MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*

Programs:

  • MS in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • MS - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
  • And more...

 Located on a beautiful campus in Washington, D.C., The Catholic University of America (CUA) is the national university of the Catholic Church and the only higher education institution founded by the Catholic Church and the only higher education institution founded by the U.S. Catholic bishops. Founded in 1887 as a center for graduate study, CUA has evolved into a modern American university, committed not only to graduate but also to undergraduate and professional education. The University is dedicated to advancing the dialogue between faith and reason, seeking to discover, preserve and impart truth through excellence in teaching and research, all in service to the Church, the nation, and the world.

 

Catholic University has more than 40 research centers, institutes, and interdisciplinary collaborative arrangements currently in place and is home to approximately 7,000 students from 50 states and 85 countries. The University is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and 97 percent of the full-time faculty has doctoral or terminal degrees in their fields. At CUA, you will find a supportive and friendly learning environment where students experience personal attention from dedicated faculty members and caring advisers who are committed to nurturing your potential for professional and personal success.

Programs:

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
Locations: Washington

Earn your degree online with Grand Canyon University. We offer approximately 100 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs that can be completed 100% online. Degree programs are available in the fields of education, nursing and health sciences, business, fine arts and production, and liberal arts.

Programs:

  • M.S. in Nursing: Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist with an Emphasis in Adult-Gerontology
  • M.S. in Nursing: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with an Emphasis in Adult-Gerontology
  • B.S. in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to B.S.N)
  • And more...

Fortis Institute can give you the skills you need to train for a career in the healthcare field.

* Programs vary by location

* Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information

Programs:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Dental Assistant
Locations: Richmond

Maryville University students may choose from 50 academic programs, including degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.

Programs:

  • Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP) - Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)
  • Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP) -Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP)

CNA’s At a Glance

CNA Training LocationsOther Job Titles: Nursing Aide, Attendant, Orderly
Salary Range:
$17,000-$35,000; Median $24,000
Education/Training Required:
Post-secondary certificate; on-the-job training for those not involved with direct patient care
Desired Skills/Aptitude:
Communication skills, patience, compassion
Certification/Licensing:
Certification varies among states; Typical is the CNA
Locations with Best Opportunities:
Alaska, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts
Employment Outlook:
20% growth through 2020 (faster than average)
Opportunities for Advancement:
Typically seek new opportunities in the medical field through continued education; Most do not stay in this position long; certification as a Certified Medication Assistant (CMA)

What a CNA Does

The typical duties of a CNA are:

  • Providing assistance to nurses and doctors
  • Helping patients in a home health care environment
  • Assisting patients with daily living tasks
  • Moving patients (wheelchairs, hospital beds, between bed and chair)
  • Checking vital signs
  • Serve meals to patients
  • Listen to patients

A CNA works under the supervision of a licensed medical professional such as a nurse or doctor. This is an important distinction because CNAs are not to be confused with LPNs (Licensed Nurse Practitioners). A CNA is certified whereas an LPN is licensed and must take a state licensing examination. An LPN will have more duties than a CNA however their duties will overlap in some cases.

Another scenario where CNAs are employed is in the home healthcare business. They help patients who are shut in and unable to take care of their daily living tasks such as eating, bathing, and dressing. In this situation, the CNA is probably the person a patient sees the most and is the primary caregiver.

CNAs also need to be good listeners because oftentimes a patient will express their concerns while in a healthcare facility. The patient typically does not know the difference between a CNA and other nurse employee. The CNA needs to be able to listen and relay the concerns of the patient to the appropriate staff.

The Workplace

As indicated before, the workplace of a CNA is most often in a nursing home or other long-stay healthcare facilities to include a patient’s home. They also work in hospitals. The work can be quite strenuous as well as stressful because the CNA must perform cleaning tasks such as changing bedpans and sheets that are soiled. They may have to lift patients who are heavy thus the CNA’s risk of injury is increased. Furthermore, since these facilities are a 24 by 7 operation, there must always be one or more CNA’s present to perform these tasks at all sorts of odd hours to include holidays and weekends.

Education and Certification

Many enter the field with a high school diploma but can open the door to more opportunities in the healthcare field through continued education. Those who want to have more involvement with direct patient care (with limitations) need to obtain a post-secondary certificate through a program at a community college, trade, or vocational school. Typically these programs teach the basic fundamentals of nursing and the student benefits through supervised clinical sessions.

Once they have finished their education program, they may take a competency exam as prescribed by the state where they will work. Successful passing of the exam results in certification as a CNA. Upon achieving certification, they will most likely be placed on the registry of CNAs in the state and will need to be on that registry in order to be employed by a healthcare provider. It is best to check with your state as to specific requirements.

*Salary Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2012