If you're thinking about becoming a CNA (certified nursing assistant), you have probably heard about how much CNAs make and how dangerous being a CNA is.
This is what probably led you to ask if being a CNA is even worth it. The answer is not that simple because sometimes it's worth it, and other times it's not. Let me explain.
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Is Being a CNA Worth It?
If you're becoming a CNA (certified nursing assistant, patient care tech, etc.) as a stepping stone to becoming a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse, I think it's worth it. If you're trying to make it a career, there are other careers that pay more and are less dangerous than a CNA.
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When is Being a CNA Worth It?
I think being a CNA is worth it when you're in nursing school or trying to figure out if a healthcare career is right for you.
Please note that I'm using CNA, certified nursing assistant, nurse aide, patient care tech interchangeable.
While there is technically a distinction from my experience, most people don't know the difference.
1. When You're Thinking About a Career in Healthcare
If you're thinking about a healthcare career, becoming a certified nursing assistant is a good option. This is especially true if you're not quite sure if you'll like working in healthcare.
Getting a job as a patient care tech in a hospital can be a great way to give you first-hand experience on what it's actually like working in a hospital setting.
Depending on your situation, I would recommend going the CNA route first if you're not sure.
The reason is that no matter how much you watch YouTube videos on “a day in the life of a doctor” or “a day in the life of a nurse,” it's never the same thing as when you actually work in a hospital setting.
It's one of the reasons I recommend students looking for volunteer hours or nursing students in school to work as a CNA.
This brings me to the other reason when I think working as a CNA is worth it.
2. When You're in Nursing School
These are the nursing students I recommend getting a job as a nurse aide.
- a nursing student that needs to work
- a nursing student that needs volunteer hours
- a nursint student that doesn't need to work
If you didn't get it, I usually recommend that all nursing students should try to work as hospital aides.
Even if it's just the minimal number of hours because it gives you some valuable first-hand experiences you'll never get in lectures or clinicals.
Plus, there's the added network effect that makes getting your first job out of nursing school easier.
Why Being a CNA is not worth It?
Being a CNA is not worth it if you're trying to make it your long-term career. Being a CNA is a dangerous job. That by itself wouldn't be a big deal, but when you combine that with the low pay that's only moderately above minimum wage, it means there are many other jobs you should consider.
1. It's a Dangerous Job
The nursing profession is considered one of the most dangerous professions in America.
Certified nursing assistants work alongside licensed practical nurses and registered nurses in many healthcare fields, so it makes sense that they would also be a dangerous profession.
2. Pay is Not That Good
Because CNA jobs are both physically demanding with a hazardous work environment, it shouldn't be surprising I would try to steer you away from a CNA career and more into a career as a registered nurse.
Use Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant as a Stepping Stone
You should use the CNA route as a stepping stone to becoming a nurse.
Yes, I know the nursing route is harder. Nursing programs are harder to get into, and they're longer than CNA training programs.
The plus side is that nursing gives you many more options (higher wage potential plus more job opportunities) than you'll ever get as a CNA.
So go here to find online CNA classes, and see if you like working in healthcare. When you're ready, go here to search for and apply to a nursing program.
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Have You Read These Yet?
If you want to find out more information about being a CNA, check out these articles.
- CNA vs RN
- Is Being a CNA Harder than Being a Registered Nurse?
- Can a Nursing Student Work as a Nursing Assistant?