Certified Nurse Assistant – Salary, Job Description, Accredited Programs

cna training in michiganBecoming a CNA is an excellent choice when it comes to choosing to work in a profession where there is always a demand for a CNA’s work. The demand is so high due to the fact that the increasing number of elderly population, who will need assisted living now and in the near future, as the employment in the profession is expected to grow by a staggering 18 percent in the 10 year time frame of 2008 to 2018.

This is also the case as a nurse aide can work in a myriad of locations other than just a hospital, some of which include; hospice nursing, home health agencies, assisted living facilities, sub acute care facilities for more experienced aides, doctor’s offices and more.

The best part about becoming a nurse aide is the fact that classes can take as little as weeks to complete and up to a couple of months at the most, which afterwards you can start out in a field that allows one to earn a salary right off the bat, which the current median salary for a  certified nursing assistant is at $29,000 with more experienced workers earning well above that. Classes are also offered during the day, night as well as on weekends, allowing you to customize your learning schedule. Not only can you become a certified nurse assistant quick, you are also attaining the first stepping stone that can provide you with the hands on training and knowledge, as well as clinical experience needed to make the next step in your career if you choose to do so, to LPN or RN.

Certified Nurse Aide Job Description

The easiest way to describe to you the job description of a certified nurse assistant is to explain what is learned through the likes of the curriculum taught in a nurse aide course, as well as general examples of tasks. Courses are taught by both Registered Nurses as well as Licensed Practical Nurses, through lectures, visuals, audio as well as clinical training also known as a clinical externship, and last a minimum of 75 hours.

Proper ways of feeding, dressing as well as bathing, and other encompassing hygiene issues.

How to test patient vitals like their heart rate, blood pressure and respiration among others as well as printing these vitals from the computer in order to chart them.

How to communicate both verbally as well as non- verbally to patients.

Proper catheter care, which tends to consist of just the removal as most all CNA’s are not allowed to insert catheters.

Tending to patients who press their call lights or call signals.

Maintaining a clean environment, which includes basic things like emptying the trash, emptying laundry out of hampers,
Stocking room supplies.

How to assist patients in moving, walking, exercising as well as getting in an out of bed or a wheel chair, without injuring the patient or oneself.

Turning patients to avoid them from developing bedsores.

Monitoring patient habits, which need to be charted for the use of both the CNA coming on after your shift has concluded as well as to the RN. This can include their consumption and bowel movements also known as input and output or I&O, mood changes among others.

Emergency procedures are also touched upon to a great extent as nursing aides must be familiar with these procedures. Classes can include CPR and the Heimlich removal among others.

Anatomy of the body, detailing organ function, circulatory system, urinary systems, nutrition,
Preparing and transporting a patient to an appointment or procedure.

Assisting patients with ambulation using a transfer belt.

Gather patient specimens which need to be relayed to the nurse.

Assisting patients in taking their medication, but a certified nurse aide is not allowed to actually administer the medication.

Preparing as well as bringing meals to patients at both their bed and/or the cafeteria. This also includes the transportation of patients to the cafeteria from their room, as well as back to their room afterwards along with making sure all of your patients are attending meals and not still in their rooms.

Changing bed pans.

Swapping out used for new bed linens, which also requires making the bed properly to allow patients to be as comfortable as possible.

Assisting nurses with anything that they need assistance with.

Monitor the amount of visitors a patient can have each day, as often times too many visitors can be overwhelming.

This may seem like a lot, but your daily schedule no where near consists of all of these, usually a handful. Shits tend to consist of 8, 10 or 12 hour periods which includes generally an hour as well as a couple short breaks, lasting 10 to 20 minutes. The work week of a nursing assistant tends to last a total of 40 hours, which CNA’s generally have a patient load that can range anywhere from 10 to 30 patients.

Where To Find Certified Nurse Aide Classes & Requirements For Acceptance

There are thousands of different schools that are CNA courses, which the course must be certified, as it is a requirement when it comes to taking the Nurse Aide Certification Exam. How do you know if the course is certified? Well there are two methods that you can utilize to make sure, first one being that you can check if the course is approved by the National League or Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), or the second option where you can just contact your states Nurse Aide Registry. Below are the different places that provide CNA courses.

1. Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Facilities – Both of these types of facilities offer certified nurse assistant classes, but are offered at a different location, not at the nursing home or long term care facility. This option has been one of the most favored methods, as these facilities often times offer their applicants the opportunity to have their education paid for if they come and work for them after their certification course has concluded.

2. American Red Cross – There are over 30 different Red Cross Chapters across the United States where you can get your CNA training, which the Red Cross offers at both low and free of cost. If you live near a Red Cross location, it is highly advised that you take your training through them, as they are one of the biggest names in the nursing industry, offering a very credible status to have on your application.

3. Community Colleges – There are many community colleges that offer accredited nurse aide programs as well as some of them even offer the opportunity to enroll in an online class, remember though for either option you want to make sure that the class is in fact accredited.

4. Vocational Schools & Learning Institutes


As far as requirements go, one must meet certain requirements for both acceptances into a certified nurse assistant class, as well as meet certain prerequisites to be able to take the certification examination. Below are the requirements for both categories, which are generic requirements and tend to be similar for each state, but can vary depending on which state you live in, which you can find out your specific requirements by contacting your states Nurse Aide Registry.

Admittance Requirements

At least 18 years of age.

A minimum of a high school diploma or GED is required out of most schools.

Applicants must not be pregnant.

An education test can be a requirement, which assesses whether or not one is capable of learning in a CNA classroom environment.

Certification Requirements

Finger prints testing.

Criminal Background check.

Drug test.

A physical examination with a doctor.

A negative Tuberculosis (TB) test.

A picture ID.

Personal Certified Nurse Aide Qualifications

If you are thinking about going into the certified nurse aide profession, it is a good idea to have certain attributes which will both allow you to have a successful career as well as enjoy what you do. Successful CNA tend to posses the following attributes:

Caring – This should be obvious, but one must genuinely care for people, as this helps develop patient and worker relationships that are essential in making patients feel comfortable for sharing information.

Composure – One must also have the ability to stay calm and composed under pressures that come with the certified nurse aide job, being able to react in stressful situations instead of freezing or becoming overwhelmed. This also includes being able to make quick decisions if need be.

Ability To Work Alone – Nurse aides are often times doing their own thing, and need to have the ability to work just by themselves with no other direction form coworkers or management.

Sympathy – You must have compassion and sympathy for your patients as well as the ability to make them feel as comfortable as possible in times that can be embarrassing, as well as be open enough for patients to open up to you.

Calm – Often time’s patients can get angry or flustered at CNA’s, so one needs to be able to no get upset when this happens.

Ability To Observe – A CNA is always observing patient’s habits and moods, to assist whatever needs may come up as well need to be charted.