Career Options for Certified Nursing Assistants

Many professionals who enter the medical industry as a certified nursing assistant have bigger goals in sight. This career option is the ideal choice for those who have very little working knowledge about various medical careers and wish to experience the hyper-dynamic environment that is the healthcare industry. If you’re interested in becoming a certified nursing assistant, but with to use this training and work experience as a jumping-off point to a more advanced-level career, then you’ll be surprised at the number of options available to you.

Registered Nurse

So what is CNA Certification in the grand scheme of nursing, and what career paths does it lead to? After working as a certified nursing assistant, you may be drawn to advance your career and begin training as a registered nurse. While becoming a registered nurse, or RN, requires at least an associate’s degree in nursing, your training and experience as a CNA will simplify more complex learning topics. Not only are CNAs set apart from the crowd through their training, but by working alongside actual registered nurses, your practical experience and clinical knowledge is much greater than that of someone who’s never worked in the medical field.

A career as a RN is not only professionally rewarding, but with an average annual salary of $65,000 in the United States, this profession is quite lucrative as well. As with many other healthcare-related careers, the job forecast according to the U.S. Department of Labor is expected to increase by 19-percent, which breaks down to over 500,000 new jobs by the year 2022.

Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed practical nurses, also known as licensed vocational nurses, report to registered nurses but have more responsibilities than a certified nursing assistant. The typical duties of an LPN/LVN include collecting samples, performing routine laboratory tests and providing interpersonal patient care. While exact job functions of an LPN/LVN are limited by your state’s nursing board, this is an excellent career opportunity for CNAs who wish to expand the scope of their practice without having to undergo such intense and prolonged training/certification registered nurse careers require. Typically, to become an LPN you must take a certification training program then pass your state’s LPN examination. If you’ve already received your CNA certification, then this process will be quite familiar.

Although the average annual salary of a licensed practical nurse is not as high as a registered nurse, it is still substantially more than what certified nursing assistants bring home each year. With an average annual salary of just over $40,000 and a 25-percent increase in jobs by the year 2022, this is a financially stable and reliable career option for certified nursing assistants.