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The healthcare industry would crumble without nurses. Indeed, a Gallup study highlights how nurses are one of the most trusted professions across all industries ⁠— and we need them more than ever now, as the global health crisis continues to wreak havoc across the country. The role of nurses in the healthcare system continues to evolve and expand as well. Now, you can find careers in nursing that focus on specialized areas such as genetics, mental health, oncology, critical care, and information technology.

The rapidly increasing newborn and aging population has also contributed to this huge demand for nursing professionals. From major hospitals and private practice clinics, to healthcare firms and nursing care facilities, there’s a gap that people with nursing certifications and degrees need to fill.

If you want to respond to this demand, you’ll have to start somewhere before you can become a full-fledged nurse. However, many aren’t ready to commit four years of their life as a BS Nursing student. In this post, we’ll discuss why becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a great alternative stepping stone to starting a fulfilling nursing career — and talk about what they do, where they work, and how it can shape your future in nursing.

What are the responsibilities of a certified nursing assistant?

CNAs are tasked with assisting patients with their healthcare needs under the supervision of a nurse. However, the duties of a CNA are limited as the requirements to become one are not as extensive as registered nurses (RN) and other medical professionals. Since it’s considered an entry-level job in a healthcare facility or hospital, CNAs may do physical and complex tasks for patient care. But unlike RNs, CNAs don’t have autonomy over their tasks and are only there to lighten the workload of RNs and other healthcare professionals.

Here are some of the job responsibilities of a CNA:

Where do certified nursing assistants work?

CNAs can work in various healthcare settings. These include:

What is the career trajectory for certified nursing assistants?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for CNAs is $30,720. However, this can vary depending on where you work. If you want to advance your career, you can choose to complete a one-to-two year program to take the licensure exam for licensed practical nurses (LPN). Completing a two-year associate’s degree to become an RN can be fulfilling too, since RNs get paid at least $75,510 a year.

Want to become a CNA and start your career in healthcare? Be sure to check our guide on how to choose a CNA training program.

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By: Regina Jaycie