5 CNA Certification Jobs (And How To Get One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 14, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There are multiple different roles that can take care of patients in a health care setting. One of these roles is a certified nursing assistant. Understanding the skills and requirements for this position can help you to find a CNA certification job. In this article, we discuss what a CNA does, some helpful skills for the position and a few jobs you can qualify for as a CNA.

What is a CNA?

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a medical professional that helps nurses take care of patients at a medical facility. They work directly with both clients and nurses and can assist with both simple and complex care tasks that a patient may need. Some CNAs may also have qualifications that allow them to perform CPR or other first aid procedures during emergencies.

Related: CNA Skills: Definition and Examples

What does a CNA do?

A CNA's primary duty is to provide quality care for their patients. Some examples of duties a CNA performs include:

  • Taking vital signs and patient measurements

  • Recording allergy information and patient history

  • Checking on wounds to prevent infections

  • Helping patients with daily functions, such as eating, getting dressed, bathing and using the restroom

  • Talking with patients to determine their reported symptoms

  • Coordinating with doctors and nurses to provide quality patient care

  • Turning or moving patients

  • Helping patients transfer position, such as from sitting to standing or sitting to laying down.

How to become a CNA

Here are some steps you can take to become a CNA:

1. Enroll in a program

Before you can get certified as a CNA you need to complete a certified nursing program. These programs typically last a few months and feature hands-on courses about common nursing concepts and techniques, such as anatomy, first aid and patient rights.

2. Get clinical experience

Once you finish your education in a nursing program, you may need to get work experience in a clinical setting. You can achieve this experience by applying for a clinical externship, which allows you to work in a medical setting and gain valuable experience with CNA skills, such as recording information, providing patient care and taking vitals. Consider finding an externship through your nursing program or by talking to nearby medical centers.

3. Take the exam

Most states require you to take a CNA exam to become properly licensed. The details of this test vary by your state. Try to research the testing requirements for your location and consider scheduling a testing appointment in advance.

4. Complete additional requirements

Some states may ask you to obtain additional requirements after completing your CNA test to fully qualify for certification. These requirements can include background checks, additional study or work experience or a second exam. You can research your state's requirements to determine if you need to perform any additional actions to become a CNA.

5. Apply to CNA positions

After you finish your educational requirements and pass your state exam, you can perform work as a certified nursing assistant. Consider looking at local job boards or online job sites to find hiring opportunities. You can also ask friends, family or professional contacts if they know about any potential CNA openings.

What skills does a CNA need?

These are a few skills that can help you perform your duties at a CNA position:


As a CNA, you may need to perform constant care for your patients. These patients often have uncomfortable conditions that can make them challenging to work with. Developing your patience can help you maintain a calm and helpful demeanor while working long of challenging shifts.


CNAs can perform in fast-paced environments that often encounter unexpected situations. You may also meet patients with complicated conditions that can change quickly. Learning how to adapt to circumstances that may change quickly can help you perform your duties and address any challenges that may occur.

Medical knowledge

Most people who work in a CNA profession have a basic understanding of medical concepts. This knowledge can help them record medical information, monitor a patient's vitals and help relay symptoms to a doctor or supervising nurse. You can increase your medical knowledge by taking classes, reading medical journals and talking to medical professionals.

Interpersonal skills

When working as a CNA you may need to interact with a wide range of patients dealing with various medical conditions. You may also have to communicate with doctors, nurses and other nursing assistants. Developing your interpersonal skills may improve your ability to meet your patient's needs and effectively relay important medical information to their doctor.

Hygiene and safety knowledge

As a CNA, you may need to follow certain hygiene and safety procedures to ensure a secure environment for your patients. Understanding these policies can help you protect both patients and other people around you when working in a medical setting. Consider reading about safety protocols, consulting your employee handbook or pursuing a health and safety certification to help increase your safety knowledge.

5 Jobs for a certified CNA

Here are some jobs that you can get when you finish your CNA certification. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, visit indeed.com/salaries:

1. Home health aide

National average salary: $37,362 per year

Primary duties: Home health aides assist someone living independently with day-to-day tasks. They can help with meal preparation, bathing, dressing and moving around the space. Some health aides may also help provide medication reminders or pick up a patient's prescriptions.

Read more: Learn About Being a Home Health Aide

2. Nursing assistant

National average salary: $43,365 per year

Primary duties: Nursing assistants help patients with their basic needs when staying at a medical facility, such as a hospital, doctor's office or retirement home. Some duties include taking vital information, turning patients or helping them move and assisting them with tasks like bathing or eating. This is the most common position for someone with a CNA.

Read more: Learn About Being a Nursing Assistant

3. Hospice aide

National average salary: $45,325 per year

Primary duties: Hospice aides provide personal care to patients that qualify for hospice in their own home. This can include light housekeeping tasks, tracking medical changes and helping with personal hygiene tasks. Aides usually coordinate with a supervising nurse to determine a patient's personal care plan.

4. Qualified medication aide

National average salary: $50,784 per year

Primary duties: Qualified medication aides administer daily medication at medical facilities such as doctor's offices and hospitals. Other duties include monitoring patients and taking occasional samples for testing. This position may require an additional medication aide certificate in addition to a CNA.

5. Patient care technician

National average salary: $51,855 per year

Primary duties: Patient care technicians work with performing basic medical tasks under the supervision of nurses. They can check blood pressure and heart rate, conduct medical tests and monitor a patient's food and water intake. These technicians can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, assisted living communities and long-term care centers.

Read more: Learn About Being a Patient Care Technician

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