The Nursing Assistant Career Guide

Updated on June 1, 2020
Rachelle Williams profile image

I'm a research geek who loves helping change lives by identifying emotionally rewarding and financially lucrative careers!

Becoming a nursing assistant offers a true opportunity to assist the sick and the elderly
Becoming a nursing assistant offers a true opportunity to assist the sick and the elderly

What Are the Basic Duties of a Nursing Assistant?

Nursing assistants, sometimes referred to as nurses' aides or healthcare assistants, help provide basic daily care for patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.

In many places, the duties of nursing assistants and orderlies are combined. Orderlies, a job category whose numbers are declining, transport patients and clean treatment areas. This article mainly focuses on the nursing assistant career.

Where Do They Work?

Nursing assistants typically work in residential care facilities and in hospitals and healthcare centers. Their job is usually very physically demanding and they are required to complete chores such as helping to lift and move patients.

How Do You Become a Nursing Assistant?

Nursing assistants will need to complete a state-approved training program. The education required can be gained through short-term training programs. Furthermore, to become a certified nursing assistant, more commonly referred to as a CNA, the nursing assistant has to pass a competency exam in the state in which they reside.

What Is the Average Pay?

As of May 2019, the median annual salary for nursing assistants was approximately $30,720. To find out what nursing assistants earn in your area, you can refer to the nursing assistant salary page at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Nursing assistants can earn a decent salary
Nursing assistants can earn a decent salary

How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

One of the best ways to learn about the nursing assistant career, and see what it takes to become certified, is to take a peak into what it takes to prepare for the CNA certification exam.

Let me first say that some places do not require you to be certified, but certification usually offers more pay and you'll have more confidence in the skills you have learned and obtained through training.

This site offers free CNA Practice Tests for a glimpse into the material you will be required to master before you sit for the certification exam.

What Is Job Availability Like?

Overall employment of nursing assistants is projected to increase 11% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

As the generation of baby boomers continues to age, and the Generation X population begins to age, more and more nursing assistants will be needed to provide care for elderly patients.

Then, there's always the need for workers to help people who are sick and injured of any age.

More Information

If you are seriously considering becoming a nursing assistant, the agencies best equipped to assist you are as follows:

If you have further questions, I will do my best to research and get you an answer. I wish you very best of luck, health and happiness!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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    • Rachelle Williams profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachelle Williams 

      4 months ago from Tempe, AZ

      Good points, Peg.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 months ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      You have presented a realistic picture of this career choice. In the skilled nursing facility where my mother lived for 3 years, the CNAs were among the most important people there with the most interaction with patients, bathing, dressing, and attending their daily needs. It's an essential job that takes patience and compassion along with physical strength.

      Truly these folks deserve a higher wage for the job they do. It's a great entry into the field of patient care and one way to find out if they're suited for a higher paying job such as a nurse, a physician's assistant or a doctor.

    • Rachelle Williams profile imageAUTHOR

      Rachelle Williams 

      21 months ago from Tempe, AZ

      I totally agree with that Rajan. These people ought to be paid much more, because their job is extremely important to the quality of life for so many people...

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      21 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Useful information Rachella. I feel for a job extremely demanding and stressful the average salary ought to be more.


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