CNA Long Term Care Career Information and Education Requirements

Sep 13, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in a long-term care facility. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are trained in basic care for patients. They often work under direction of nurses to bathe, dress, groom, and feed patients, as well as to perform other tasks such as safe patient transport and changing of bed linens. Certification for this position does not require extensive education, and demand for CNAs is projected to rise.

Essential Information

CNAs in long-term care facilities aid physicians and nurses in providing comfort and services to individuals with chronic disorders. Long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities account for most CNA jobs, ccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). All states require that CNAs complete an approved training program and pass an examination. The training, usually offered at community colleges or vocational schools, takes just a few weeks and includes classroom work and practical experience.

Required Education State-approved CNA training program
Other Requirements Pass state certification examination
Projected Job Growth 9% from 2018-2028 for all nursing assistants*
Median Salary $28,540 (2018) for nursing assistants*

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job Duties of a CNA in a Long-Term Care Facility

CNAs are health care workers who, under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN) or physician, are responsible for direct care of patients. CNAs employed in long-term care facilities assist, encourage and comfort patients who are suffering from chronic physical or mental disorders on a recurring or on-going basis.

Also known as a nurse's aide, patient care assistant or orderly, a CNA has daily duties that include helping patients dress themselves, bathe, eat, brush their teeth and use the toilet. They also might be called upon to assist physicians and other nurses with medical procedures, such as collecting certain types of body fluids or documenting a patient's vital signs. The CNA also serves as the most likely person to observe and report a change in a patient's health status.


The most common work environments for CNAs are hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, extended care facilities and home-health care agencies. The BLS reported in May 2018 that the median annual salary for CNAs was $28,540.

Educational Requirements

CNAs must complete a training program; training can take several weeks. Individual state requirements for certification vary, so it's necessary for CNAs to pass the state-specific certification exam and register with the state in which they want to work. Training and certification courses are offered by the Red Cross, community and technical colleges and many health care institutions that need CNA services.

CNA training includes instruction in basic nursing skills, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, nutrition and infection control. Lectures are supplemented with a lot of hands-on clinical practice. Some programs may involve a clinical externship at a nursing home or similar facility, giving students direct, supervised contact with long-term care patients.

CNAs can begin working after completing a state-approved CNA program and passing an exam. They can often find employment in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, although some find private employment through patients who wish to remain in their homes.

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