Certified Nursing Assistants must have a high school diploma or GED, and complete at least 75 hours of state-approved nursing assistant training. They are required to be CPR certified, have a clean background check, and pass state competency exams after their postsecondary training is complete.
Caregiver CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) work for and sometimes live with patients who cannot perform various daily chores for themselves. This career requires little formal training: individuals may secure a job as a caregiver or nursing assistant with as little as a high school education and CPR certification. More structured educational programs in the field are available. Most nursing assistants also must obtain certification or state registration by completing a competency test.
|Required Education||High school diploma or GED; on-the-job training; certificate programs are available|
|Additional Requirements||State competency exam; CPR certification is often required; clean background check|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||18% for nursing assistants|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$26,820 for nursing assistants|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for Caregiver CNAs
The minimum educational requirement for caregiver CNAs is a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, specific training requirements such as having CPR certification may vary by state or employer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) maintains that CNAs who wish to work in a healthcare facility are federally required to complete no less than 75 hours of state-approved nursing assistant training and take competency exams. Though caregiver CNAs may choose to work in the private sector, helping clients who wish to continue living in their own homes, it may prove helpful for them to have additional training and certification.
According to the BLS, these training programs offer students information about nutrition, anatomy and physiology. They train students to master techniques such as bathing, grooming and toileting. Classes and programs may also be available at high schools, community colleges, vocational centers, technical institutes and nursing facilities. Organizations such as the American Red Cross may also offer nursing assistant training programs.
Caregiver CNAs should be in good physical health. They may be asked to provide proof that they are drug-free and submit to a criminal background check. In addition, having reliable transportation and a valid driver's license may prove helpful.
The BLS reports that employment for nursing assistants was expected to increase by 18% between 2014 and 2024 as the need for workers to assist the elderly and infirm increases. Caregiver CNAs working in the private sector may also have the option of living with their clients, providing full-time care via such tasks as:
- Bathing, feeding and dressing clients
- Running errands
- Providing overall companionship
- Checking pulse rates, taking temperatures and reading blood pressure
According to the BLS, nursing assistants earned a mean annual salary of $26,820 per year as of 2015. Nursing assistants employed by the federal government earned the highest average wages of $36,760 per year.
CNAs assist patients with feeding, bathing and personal care. They may also need to run errands for their clients, check their pulse, take their temperature and monitor their blood pressure. Caregiver CNAs also provide companionship to their clients, and in some cases may live with their patient.