Working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is both a challenging and rewarding career in the healthcare profession. However, you may also discover that being a CNA has huge perks that may provide a stepping stone for furthering your career and aspiring to your dreams. As numerous nurses, physical therapists and a host of other professionals can attest to, working as a CNA-enabled them to finance their tuition, provided them with paid experience for pre-requisites in their career field and brought an invaluable personal experience that enhanced the practice of their primary profession.
CNA Programs are Relatively Brief
Although all state-approved and individual CNA programs may have their requirements, the length of study and clinical experience, CNA classes are short in duration compared to most other programs for employment preparation. At an average of 75 hours of classroom, skills training, and a clinical practicum, you may be prepared to start earning a living that is well over the minimal wage. Also, CNAs are certified by the state and enjoy the respect of being an integral part of the healthcare team.
Finance Your Next Career
As one of the most highly demanded professions in the country, CNAs have job opportunities available to them in virtually any area that requires patient care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNAs earn an average of $25,000 per year with an expected growth rate that is 20 percent faster than other professions. CNAs may work in facilities such as:
- Nursing Homes
- Adult Day Care
- Medical Centers
- Home Health
- Ambulatory Care Centers
- Emergency Rooms
- Physician Offices
- Entrepreneurs with Businesses
Patient Experience for Admission Requirements
Numerous healthcare schools require that you have experience in caring for patients as part of your admission application. Although many people elect to volunteer in hospital areas or healthcare settings to complete the requirement, they will never present the exceptional experience offered by the CNA. As a certified individual, you will have demonstrated commitment and dedication to the healthcare field that may place you in a top position for acceptance into your chosen field of study.
A Work Schedule that Adjusts to Coursework
Another special perk of being a CNA is that you can change your schedule as needed. A flexible schedule may allow you to work at the time that you are available. If your class schedule becomes increasingly heavy with coursework, you may lessen your time at the workplace. If you are off from school for the summer or a period of days, you may schedule your working days accordingly. Also, home health agencies offer night shifts that allow a little time to study as you care for one client. A flexible schedule may include:
- Working Weekends Only
- Night or Day Shift Rotations
- 10 or 12 Hour Work Shifts
- Private Duty in Home Health
- Work as Needed (PRN)
Experience to Further Your Employment Options
Whatever healthcare profession you ultimately accomplish, your work as a CNA will provide you with the rewards of direct patient care experience, the process of working with nurses and doctors and the acquiring of medical knowledge that may help you excel in your next healthcare career. Your future employer may be impressed with your healthcare experience and value your job application more than those who do not share your dedication.
Expanding Your CNA Role
Also, you may wish to pursue employment alternatives or expand your role as a CNA. As you work in your field and experience the healthcare system, you may find other areas of healthcare that are interesting or exciting. CNAs have the experience and certification for on-the-job training in the following fields of healthcare:
- Mental Health Technician
- Medical Assistant
- Scheduling Manager or Coordinator
- Patient Advocate
- Certified Medication Technician
A Stepping Stone to the Future
Numerous healthcare providers have begun their healthcare careers as CNAs. Working in the realm of healthcare as a certified individual helped provide living expenses, provided them with the resume for their program of choice and enabled them to navigate the healthcare system with ease and confidence. Working as a CNA may also give you the self-satisfaction of caring for others and making a difference in people’s lives.