Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA)
Certified nursing assistants are in high demand in Western Massachusetts. They are the backbone of care delivered to the elderly in a variety of care settings. This entry-level work is very demanding, so it is important to understand what employers need in an entry-level health care worker and make sure that CNA is a good choice for you before you select a training program.
CNAs help patients perform the basic day-to-day tasks, especially personal care tasks. The majority of job opportunities for nursing assistants are working with the elderly.
Certified nursing assistants:
- Care for patients’ basic needs and assist in bathing, toileting, feeding, dressing, grooming, and moving patients
- Work as part of a care team under the supervision of a nurse
- Perform physically demanding work, lifting patients and standing for a long time
- Work 24/7 with all shifts available allowing for flexibility in selecting a schedule that meets your needs. Overnight shifts earn a higher hourly wage.
Things to consider before you become a CNA:
- Is the wage you can earn enough to meet your needs? Use this calculator to find out.
- Is it the best path for your long-term goals? A job as a CNA can help you understand if a career in direct care is right for you, but it is not a direct path to becoming a registered nurse.
Employment opportunities can be found in:
- Skilled nursing facilities
- Assisted living centers
- Hospitals (where they are called Patient Care Technicians and require additional training)
A high school diploma or GED and a certificate training program are required to become a certified nursing assistant. This training includes exposure to healthcare terminology, safety and emergency procedures, patients’ rights, and other job-related skills. Many CNA training programs also provide training as a home health aide. All CNAs are required to pass a certification exam.
CNAs are also expected to have:
- Ability to juggle multiple priorities
- Physical stamina to work in a demanding environment
The Partnership is exploring how to offer career pathway programs for CNAs who can handle a faster-paced environment and are interested in working in an acute care (hospital) setting as a Patient Care Technician. You can learn more about our work in this area by reading about our Transformations project. STCC is also now offering new training options for Advanced CNAs and Patient Care Technicians. Learn more here.
Western MA Fast Facts
- Education Requirements: High School + Certificate
- Entry Level Wage:$ 12/hour
- Experienced Wage:$ 17/hour
- Learn more at VCN.org
Local Training Programs