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How to Become a Hospital CNA

What Does a Hospital CNA Do?

CNA helps elderly patient

Hospital certified nursing assistants (CNAs) have the extraordinary opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of their patients. By aiding the nursing staff in nearly every aspect of patient care, hospital CNAs play a significant role in a patient’s day-to-day experience within a healthcare facility. CNAs respond to calls; help move, clean and feed bedridden patients; monitor blood pressure and vital signs; and ensure their patients take in enough nourishment at mealtime.

Another primary responsibility of hospital CNAs is to help patients remain mobile by helping them up from bed, transporting them by gurney or wheelchair when necessary or assisting them with short walks. Hospital CNAs, who may also be referred to as licensed nurse’s aides, also help clean and maintain hospital beds and rooms in some facilities. The valuable assistance they provide gives CNAs the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the quality and comfort of a patient’s stay at a healthcare facility.

In addition to direct patient care, many hospitals employ CNAs as unit clerks to enter data in computers, answer phones and, after special training, to watch monitors and alert nursing staff if there are any concerns.

Workplace Details

Most hospital CNAs work in full-time positions, where common working hours include nights, weekends and holidays. A hospital CNA should be strong because the work frequently requires physical exertion such as moving bedridden patients. CNAs must also be alert so they can quickly identify any change in their patients’ health. Because CNAs work closely with their patients, they often develop strong, friendly relationships and earn a deep sense of personal satisfaction from their work.

CNA Salary and Job Outlook

State
Average Wage
California
$32770
New York
$34300
Florida
$25230
Texas
$25410
Pennsylvania
$29190

Hover over any state to explore local income and job growth data.

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ALABAMA

Median Salary: 
$21,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $29,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 800

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Birmingham$16,770$21,850$29,700
Huntsville$18,040$22,950$32,520

ALASKA

Median Salary: 
$36,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $28,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $47,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 70

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Anchorage$26,950$36,570$46,860
Fairbanks$31,760$36,310$43,190

ARIZONA

Median Salary: 
$28,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 19%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,030

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Phoenix$22,470$28,940$37,520
Tuscon$21,470$27,350$33,010

ARKANSAS

Median Salary: 
$21,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $28,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 690

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Little Rock$19,650$23,240$30,760
Fort Smith$16,560$20,210$24,850

CALIFORNIA

Median Salary: 
$29,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $45,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 19%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 4,170

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Los Angeles$21,230$28,620$41,950
San Francisco Bay$22,430$34,560$53,930
San Diego$22,000$28,980$44,060
Sacramento$24,440$37,720$49,340

COLORADO

Median Salary: 
$28,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 30%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 930

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Denver$24,300$30,480$38,870
Colorado Springs$20,130$25,570$32,120

CONNECTICUT

Median Salary: 
$30,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $24,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $41,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 5%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 640

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Hartford$22,980$29,680$40,020
Bridgeport$26,130$32,710$41,910
New Haven$25,150$32,930$44,510

DELAWARE

Median Salary: 
$28,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $36,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 200

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wilmington$22,240$28,510$37,070
Dover$20,350$27,960$36,420

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Median Salary: 
$32,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $24,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $42,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 130

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Washington DC$20,990$28,380$38,730

FLORIDA

Median Salary: 
$23,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 23%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 4,050

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Miami$18,520$23,230$30,510
Orlando$19,270$24,010$30,890
Tampa$19,630$24,070$30,890
Jacksonville$19,340$23,450$30,160

GEORGIA

Median Salary: 
$22,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 19%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,530

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Atlanta$17,530$22,980$31,310
Augusta$16,960$22,540$33,040

HAWAII

Median Salary: 
$30,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $39,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 210

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Honolulu$21,610$29,870$39,080

IDAHO

Median Salary: 
$23,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,600

Job Growth Data Not Available

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boise$18,340$23,870$30,890
Idaho Falls$18,220$23,020$29,780

ILLINOIS

Median Salary: 
$24,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $35,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 2,220

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Chicago$19,910$25,490$36,900
Rockford$20,860$26,990$38,030

INDIANA

Median Salary: 
$23,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,140

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Indianapolis$20,490$24,600$31,760
South Bend$20,090$24,300$33,160
Fort Wayne$19,660$22,970$30,320

IOWA

Median Salary: 
$25,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $34,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 870

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Des Moines$19,730$27,550$37,130
Cedar Rapids$19,910$24,420$31,130

KANSAS

Median Salary: 
$23,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 5%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 510

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wichita$20,110$23,310$29,910
Kansas City$20,090$24,680$32,370

KENTUCKY

Median Salary: 
$24,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 46%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,750

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Louisville$20,360$26,190$33,300
Lexington$20,850$26,490$31,450

LOUISIANA

Median Salary: 
$20,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $27,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 830

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New Orleans$16,900$22,270$29,730
Baton Rouge$16,570$21,080$28,100
Lafayette$16,080$18,760$24,490

MAINE

Median Salary: 
$24,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 290

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$21,360$27,480$36,200
Lewiston$20,340$24,770$30,800

MARYLAND

Median Salary: 
$28,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 31%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,640

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Baltimore$21,150$28,200$37,540
Frederick$21,490$29,100$39,430

MASSACHUSETTS

Median Salary: 
$29,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,250

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boston$23,460$29,560$39,470
Worcester$23,070$30,010$39,160
Springfield$21,800$28,810$38,450

MICHIGAN

Median Salary: 
$27,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $36,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,640

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Detroit$20,600$28,170$36,850
Grand Rapids$21,900$27,630$34,170

MINNESOTA

Median Salary: 
$27,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 920

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Minneapolis - St. Paul$23,020$30,030$39,620
Rochester$21,250$29,210$39,770

MISSISSIPPI

Median Salary: 
$20,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $28,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 530

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Jackson$16,630$21,130$28,130

MISSOURI

Median Salary: 
$23,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,600

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
St. Louis$20,050$23,670$31,300
Kansas City$20,090$24,680$32,370

MONTANA

Median Salary: 
$24,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 230

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Billings$20,340$24,490$32,150
Missoula$20,150$22,860$29,080

NEBRASKA

Median Salary: 
$24,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $32,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 470

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Omaha$20,450$24,500$33,250
Lincoln$20,540$24,650$31,150

NEVADA

Median Salary: 
$31,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $44,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 230

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Las Vegas$25,640$32,430$46,520
Reno$22,480$29,210$37,390

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Median Salary: 
$29,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 340

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Manchester$25,030$30,850$38,950
Nashua$21,620$27,680$36,180

NEW JERSEY

Median Salary: 
$27,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 2,060

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Newark$21,280$27,750$37,480
Trenton$21,350$27,270$35,410

NEW MEXICO

Median Salary: 
$25,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $36,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 220

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Albuquerque$20,290$27,850$36,800
Las Cruces$20,540$23,700$30,520

NEW YORK

Median Salary: 
$33,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $44,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 4,270

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New York City$24,740$34,250$45,000
Buffalo$21,510$29,160$37,590
Rochester$20,680$27,110$35,200
Albany$20,930$26,950$36,050

NORTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$22,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 25%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 2,560

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Charlotte$17,460$22,830$30,220
Raleigh$17,750$23,340$30,900
Greensboro$17,420$22,610$29,830
Winston - Salem$17,680$23,020$30,110

NORTH DAKOTA

Median Salary: 
$29,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 310

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Fargo$21,790$28,020$35,820
Bismarck$23,220$29,140$37,350

OHIO

Median Salary: 
$24,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $32,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 2,710

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cleveland$19,590$25,100$33,210
Columbus$20,010$24,230$31,280
Cincinnati$20,480$24,850$33,740
Dayton$20,660$25,930$34,920

OKLAHOMA

Median Salary: 
$22,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $29,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 690

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Oklahoma City$19,350$23,340$29,970
Tulsa$17,680$22,720$29,890

OREGON

Median Salary: 
$29,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 470

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$22,290$28,990$38,690
Salem$22,020$28,870$38,410

PENNSYLVANIA

Median Salary: 
$28,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 2,710

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Philadelphia$21,310$28,460$38,220
Pittsburgh$21,290$28,260$36,910
Harrisburg$22,100$28,570$36,840
Allentown$20,780$27,950$37,360

RHODE ISLAND

Median Salary: 
$28,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 330

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Providence$21,320$28,170$38,020

SOUTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$22,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 750

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Greenville$17,440$23,050$30,660
Columbia$17,490$23,120$31,950
Charleston$19,130$26,010$34,900

SOUTH DAKOTA

Median Salary: 
$23,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 200

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Sioux Falls$19,990$23,930$30,670
Rapid City$20,370$24,700$34,760

TENNESSEE

Median Salary: 
$22,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 23%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,320

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Nashville$16,750$22,050$30,900
Memphis$17,950$23,880$30,640
Knoxville$19,190$23,270$30,250
Chattanooga$18,330$22,920$30,100

TEXAS

Median Salary: 
$23,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $32,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 30%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 4,410

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Dallas - Ft. Worth$18,570$24,020$34,530
Houston$18,570$24,520$34,470
San Antonio$19,850$23,850$31,180
Austin$19,730$25,730$32,510

UTAH

Median Salary: 
$23,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 33%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 610

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Salt Lake City$20,480$24,970$30,660
Ogden$18,640$22,530$28,610

VERMONT

Median Salary: 
$27,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $35,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 120

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Burlington$21,480$28,350$36,720

VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$24,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $33,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 26%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,790

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Virginia Beach$18,640$24,190$30,500
Richmond$19,670$24,860$31,710

WASHINGTON

Median Salary: 
$28,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,140

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Seattle$24,550$30,400$39,750
Spokane$21,020$26,250$35,310

WEST VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$23,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 200

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Huntington$18,680$23,400$32,970
Charleston$20,080$23,340$30,370

WISCONSIN

Median Salary: 
$26,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $35,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,230

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Milwaukee$20,580$26,530$35,800
Madison$22,210$28,920$39,340

WYOMING

Median Salary: 
$27,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $36,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 110

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cheyenne$20,740$26,600$36,640
Casper$21,110$27,600$36,280

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), hospital CNAs earn a median annual salary of $26,590 or $12.78 per hour. Typical salaries range from $20,040 to $37,900. Wages paid to hospital CNAs often vary depending on the particular CNA’s duties, level of responsibility, educational background and job location. In comparison, self-employed CNAs generally earn higher wages than hospital CNAs, but hospital CNAs on average earn more than CNAs employed in other medical facilities.

Reflecting a growing need for healthcare workers, the BLS reports that employment for hospital CNAs should increase by an estimated 18 percent between 2014 and 2024. The growing elderly population in the United States is expected to increase demand for healthcare services – and therefore the demand for hospital CNAs – significantly in coming years. In addition, many hospital CNAs seek advanced training and education to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs), which creates a high turnover rate in the CNA field and drives up the need for new hospital CNAs.

Compare Salaries by City

New York City NY Median Pay

$34250 Per Year

$16.46 Per Hour

Los Angeles CA Median Pay

$28620 Per Year

$13.75 Per Hour

Steps to Become a Hospital CNA

1

Get a high school diploma or GED.

A high school diploma or a GED is a prerequisite for a hospital CNA.

2

Complete a CNA certificate program.

Completion of a certificate program is mandatory for CNAs. Most community colleges and applied/vocational technology colleges offer these programs, which typically consist of a twelve-week course that includes both theory and practice. The course covers training in basic nursing skills and safety, and the basic concepts of hygiene, nutrition, infection control and life support. Students also review some human anatomy and physiology.

Show Me Schools »

3

Undergo supervised training.

Through the CNA certification program, students will gain at least 100 hours of supervised training and at least 50 hours of classroom training, although some states only require 75 total hours. In addition to the certification program, most CNAs receive training on the job.

4

Pass the CNA certification exam.

Once students complete the certification program, they take the CNA certification exam. Certification applicants must be at least sixteen years old and have completed a CNA certificate program within the last two years. In addition, some states require a criminal background check (conducted by the Department of Education).

Applicants take the CNA certification exam, which is administered under the auspices of the American Red Cross, over the course of one day. The exam consists of two parts:

  • The first, the theoretical portion, is written and has seventy multiple-choice questions
  • The second part of the test, the practical portion called “Skill Evaluation,” requires applicants to perform five skills randomly chosen by the testers on a volunteer acting as a patient

Once hospital CNAs pass the written test and perform each of the five skills correctly, they receive the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) certification and are listed in the Nurse Aide Registry.

5

Check with your state to see if continuing education is required.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 governs CNA certification and ensures that the training a CNA receives in one state does not prevent him or her from being eligible to serve as a CNA anywhere in the country. Some states have slightly different requirements, however, and certain states require that hospital CNAs complete continuing education. Hospitals usually require attendance at in-service and skills days for all direct patient care personnel. Details on local requirements are available through chapters of the Red Cross and state nursing or health departments.

6

Explore opportunities for advancement.

Hospital CNAs spend a great deal of their time learning healthcare in literally a “hands-on” way. A hospital CNA may decide to continue his or her education and become an LPN or an RN. After a few years of experience, a CNA may get into management and supervise other CNAs.

Academic Paths

CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

4-12 weeks

Federal law requires that hospital CNAs working in Medicare-certified hospitals receive at least 75 hours of training. Many states now require 100 or more hours for licensure. To meet this requirement, you’ll need to enroll in a CNA training program. The duration of this path depends on the scope of the program and your state’s requirements.

Community colleges, career and technical schools, and the American Red Cross all offer CNA training. (Some schools call this program nurse’s aide training.)

Show Me Schools »

CNA education begins with a couple weeks of classroom instruction. Many schools offer this part of the program online for the convenience of working students. Topics covered include:

Introduction to nurse assisting

Understand the CNA’s role within the healthcare team.

Basic nursing skills

Learn to measure a patient’s vital signs, height and weight, and intake and output.

CPR and first aid

Practice the skills you need to respond immediately to a medical emergency.

Infection control

Study the precautions needed to prevent the spread of disease and meet regulatory requirements.

The final weeks of the course are spent in a healthcare facility. During the clinical portion of the program, students practice their skills with real-life patients under the supervision of a certified nursing instructor.

Keys to Success as a CNA

Necessary Skills and Qualities

Compassion and patient

The most successful CNAs are compassionate and patient. They must be kind and caring as they tend to patients who may require much assistance.

Communication skills

CNAs must be highly communicative with patients and medical staff. Since some hospitals hire CNAs as unit clerks, they need to be informative in electronic communications and speak clearly and effectively on phones and with the staff.

Be in good health

Because CNAs must often exert themselves, physical fitness and strength are also important. They must complete tasks such as moving patients from beds to wheelchairs and helping patients walk short distances. Since CNAs work shifts at all hours of the day, they must ensure they get enough sleep. They need to be alert enough to notice subtle nuances and changes in their patients’ health in addition to completing any necessary tasks, even in the middle of the night.

Teamwork skills

It is critical that CNAs work well not only with patients but also with other facility staff. A CNA is part of the medical team ensuring a patient’s daily needs are met.

Holli Sowerby, EdD, RN

Holli Sowerby EdD, RN is an assistant professor of nursing at Weber State University. Her research interests include the perceptions of graduates regarding laboratory simulation experiences and the effectiveness of simulation.

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