When you decide to choose a nursing career, you’re making the decision to be a caregiver, an advocate, a listener, and a teacher, all at once. A certified nursing assistant (CNA) can be the first rung on the ladder or a lifetime career.
During National CNA Week, we take extra time to celebrate and show appreciation for the CNAs who tend to patients and work closely with nurses and physicians. There are so many reasons to become a CNA that it’s difficult to limit the list, but these are the top five reasons you may want to consider a career as a CNA.
One thing you can be assured of is that CNAs will always be needed. The job growth rate for CNAs is relatively high with a 9% growth rate expected by 2028. More than 130,000 CNAs will join the workforce between now and then.
Lots of Opportunities
The great thing about being a CNA is that you aren’t lacking in opportunities. You can become a career CNA and try working at a variety of health care places until you find one you love. A CNA can work for home health care services and spend time with patients in their homes, general hospitals, long-term nursing facilities, and skilled nursing facilities.
Experience as a CNA can be helpful if you want to move into another position in health care, such as becoming a registered nurse (RN), nurse practitioner (NP), or another specialty. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities for CNAs to work while they continue their education, such as with nursing agencies, like Clipboard Health.
Another benefit of becoming a CNA is that it’s an affordable path. You won’t need to have a college degree to get started. Find a CNA program in your state and enroll. The average cost of a CNA program is $1,200, but this will vary from state to state, and school to school. You’ll also have to pay for your materials, such as books and supplies.
It’s a short program, too: An accelerated program can take as little as four weeks, and a regular program takes about 12 weeks.
Flexibility in Schedule
Depending on where you work and what shifts are available, you could have a fairly flexible schedule as a CNA. There are those who prefer morning or afternoon shifts, and there’s always the night shift. If you work as a CNA at a facility with 9-to-5 hours, you can have a predictable schedule. Otherwise, you could choose to work for a nursing agency where you can choose only the shifts you want.
Perhaps the most important reason to choose a career as a CNA is how rewarding the job is. It’s hard work, yes, but you end each day knowing that you were able to help your patients with everyday tasks, learn how to manage a health issue, or simply make a patient feel less lonely.
Whether you decide the CNA path is a lifetime choice or just a step on your way to a specialized nursing career, you’re likely to look back on your time as a CNA with gratitude for the experience. For all the compassion and empathy you show, you’ll get back lots of smiles, thanks, and appreciation from your patients and your coworkers.