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What is a C N A ??? How do you become one???

Updated: Aug 1, 2021

WHAT IS A C. N. A. ???

A Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA as defined by the The National Association of Health Care Assistants, is one who works in a “nursing home or hospital and performs everyday living tasks for the elderly, chronically sick, or rehabilitation patients who cannot care for themselves."

Certified nursing assistants may also have other designated titles, such as a nursing assistant, or nurse’s aid. Whatever the title, a CNA is a Nurse's right hand, as well as a second pair of eyes and ears.


The requirements to become a CNA will vary from state to state, but the overall education and training are generally the same. To become a CNA, you must attend an accredited CNA course (generally 4 to 8 weeks or a semester’s length, depending on the school), acquire a specific number of supervised hours of actual clinical experience, as would be done in a hospital or skilled nursing facility; complete the course work, and then finally pass a state CNA exam.

After passing the exam, a CNA must fulfill mandatory continuing education hours every two years, as well as pay a fee to maintain certification. The CNA must also maintain a “clean” record, without any infractions on their record, and be free from abuse or neglect of patients.


Certified Nursing Assistants are the eyes & ears of licensed nurses, whether they be Licensed Practical Nurses / Licensed Vocational Nurses or Registered Nurses.

Certified Nursing Assistants are usually supervised by these licensed nurses.

A CNA works directly with patients in assisting them with their activities of daily living (ADL’s), such as eating, bathing, grooming, hygiene, and dressing, and can range from minimal assistance to full patient care.

In addition to assisting patients with their ADL’s, additional job duties and responsibilities of CNA’s may also include but are not limited to: Checking and monitoring vital signs, Documenting vital signs, I’s & O’s (intake: food/drinks and output urine/bowel movements); Answering call lights (patient calls), turning patients, assisting and supporting walking; providing for safety, preventing patient falls and injuries, changing bedding, Cleaning rooms, and other duties as assigned such as clerical, stocking of supplies, or just sitting with the patient.


CNA’s can work in a variety of healthcare settings, such as:

Acute Care Hospitals, Skilled Nursing facilities, Adult Daycare / Respite care center, Long-term Care Hospitals, Assistive Living Facilities.

How much do CNA’s make, what is their salary?

As with any type of job, pay, or salary is going to vary depending on where someone lives, the organization that they are working for, experience, and many other factors.

On average CNAs earn an hourly salary of around $13.50. This translates to an average annual salary of around $28,000 per year. This can be considered an entry-level position, but many can make a career as a CNA, and is often ideal for those just starting out working, or those considering a future in nursing. The location where you work will play a large role in how much money you will make as well.

At the times of this BLOG, the highest salaries in the United States are Alaska at $38,000 per year and New York at $36,000 per year; and the lowest salaries being Louisiana and Mississippi both at $22,000 per year.

Whether You choose to make being a CNA as a career, or as a means to become a licensed nurse; the knowledge, skill, and caring levels that you will acquire will make it an enjoyable experience. Many times, a CNA touches the lives of patients in a profound way, and that is a reward in itself.

However, many times we walk away from a patient experience and it is seen as what we did for the patient, whether it was emotional support, physical support, or psychological support (just by listening), and the patient will be gracious and thankful; but it will not be half as rewarding as to how much the patient touched our lives, and what we took away from the experience. Many times, we may not remember their names, whether it was Mr. Doe or Ms. Doe, but we will always remember how they touched Our lives.

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