cna-500CNAs, or certified nursing assistants, fall under the employment category of nursing aides. Under the supervision of nursing and medical staff, they handle many aspects of patient care within a hospital or care center, taking a hands-on role with patients. Tasks vary but often include feeding, bathing, dressing, and answering calls for help. CNAs also make beds and straighten up rooms occupied by patients. Some take patient vital signs and assist medical staff with setting up equipment. CNAs who work in nursing care facilities often serve as the principal caregivers, having the most contact with residents.

CNA Career Assessment

Take our CNA career assessment. This 30 question quiz let’s you know if you’re cut out for a career as a certified nursing assistant by analyzing your abilities, skills, and interests.

1. Are you someone who has patience with people who may take a long time to do something on their own?

2. Do you value a person’s independence and self-determination?

3. Are you someone who enjoys working with people of different ages, backgrounds, gender, and mental and physical abilities?

4. Do you have a good understanding of anatomy, nutrition, and physiology?

5. Do you work well on a team?

6. Are you able to respond positively to a patient’s frequent requests for assistance?

7. Do you possess the physical strength to lift, move, and otherwise assist patients with getting in and out of beds or chairs?

8. Are you able to transport patients in a wheelchair or rolling bed?

9. Do you have any issue with assisting patients with toileting needs?

10. Do you have strong interpersonal communication skills?

11. Do you give others a chance to finish what they want to say without interruption?

12. Are you comfortable providing emotional support to patients and their families?

13. Would you enjoy helping others with personal grooming, such as shaving, bathing, and dressing?

14. Are you OK with the possibility of being exposed to infectious diseases or illnesses?

15. Would you be willing to be responsible for collecting and transporting bodily specimens to labs?

16. Can you take a person’s blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and other vital signs?

17. Are you OK administering medicines or providing procedures like enemas, suppositories, or other treatments?

18. Do you work well independently?

19. Would you find satisfaction in assisting someone to feed him/herself?

20. Do you enjoy making a room pleasant for a patient, including changing bed sheets, tidying personal belongings, and removing food trays?

21. Would you be able to notice subtle changes in a patient’s behavior that might indicate a health concern?

22. Are you able to explain medical information to patients and their caregivers in an effective, understandable manner?

23. Are you competent in keeping track of information through electronic records?

24. Are you able to stay on your feet for extended periods of time?

25. Are you someone who has excellent time management skills?

26. Do you enjoy providing customer service to visitors?

27. Are you able to set up medical equipment and explaining its use to caregivers?

28. Do you like keeping track of and ordering necessary supplies?

29. Do you have a strong commitment to patient privacy and a facility’s HIPAA privacy code?

30. Are you OK having to restrain violent or aggressive patients?


Certified nursing assistants are typically dependable, friendly, and motivated by a strong desire to help others. They are honest, patient, and in control of their emotions – a particularly necessary attribute when dealing with patients who are not feeling well or concerned family members. CNAs should be physically able to move patients easily and be able to work long hours.

Here are further details on a career as a CNA (statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average earnings for nursing assistants per year.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a high school diploma or equivalent.

CNA Education

In order to qualify for CNA training, you will need a high school diploma or the equivalent. Training courses typically include about 120 hours of classroom and practical work, where you will learn about patient care, legal issues, rights and responsibilities, use of basic medical equipment, as well as CPR and other emergency procedures.

CNA Job Outlook

With a rapidly aging population, the need for certified nursing assistants is increasing, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the CNA field to grow faster than the average for other industries over the next decade. Job prospects are good, as those in the profession often move on after several years to seek training for more advanced medical careers.

CNA Salary

The average salary of nursing assistants and orderlies was $25,710 in May 2015. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,390, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $36,890.

CNA Job Duties

CNAs are typically responsible for the general care of their patients. While their duties will vary depending on the workplace (in a hospital, extended care or home setting) and on the specific needs of the patient, they may take and record vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure; assist them to and from their bed or chair as needed; and help them with feeding and personal hygiene. CNAs may also assist doctors or nurses during medical procedures.

CNA Career

Becoming a certified nursing assistant requires special skills as shown in the table below.

CNA Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by CNAs:Typical Work Activities:
•Service Orientation
•Active Listening
•Social Perceptiveness
•Critical Thinking
•Complex Problem Solving

•Oral Comprehension
•Problem Sensitivity
•Information Ordering
•Speech Clarity
•Near Vision
•Oral Expression
•Speech Recognition
•Deductive Reasoning
•Blood Pressure Cuff Kits
•Lower Extremity Prosthetic Devices
•Shower or Bath Chairs for the Physically Challenged

•Assisting and Caring for Others
•Getting Information
•Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates

Related Careers

Home Health Aides

No Formal Education

What Do Related Careers Pay?

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