Employment is booming in the healthcare industry and Certified Nursing Assistants are one of the most prevalent entry-level positions in the country. Looking at the national statistics for the job paints a hopeful picture for the future of nurse aides, as employment continues to rise at above-average levels throughout the country. Here are some of the best reasons to become a CNA if you are considering making the switch to a career in healthcare or medicine.
Over the course of 2013, there were approximately 8,000 new jobs added to the already huge pool of CNA positions in the United States. These jobs were all at entry-level positions in nursing homes, assisted-living centers, and hospitals. Compared to other industries, this is an exceptionally fast growth rate. Job growth is expected to continue at about 21% over the next few years, whereas other industries and job titles have an average growth rate hovering around 10%.
The average wage for CNAs has been steadily climbing over the past few years. At present, the average hourly wage for a certified nursing assistant is about $12.50. This translates to a salary of about $24,000 per year. In 2013, the average wage was closer to $12 per hour and in 2012, the average wage was closer to $11.75. The trend has continued through 2014, but figures are still not yet complete enough to give accurate estimates of exactly how much more CNAs have been making.
Compared to other entry-level jobs in healthcare, the nurse aide is the most accessible position. Educational programs that lead to certification only cost between $400 and $1200, depending on where you enroll. The training period is only 4-8 weeks on average, which allows workers to get right to the part where they start earning a wage. For perspective, the other two fastest growing entry-level jobs in healthcare are medical assistants and registered nurses. The majority of medical assistants must complete an accredited training program to find work, which requires about 1 to 2 years of instruction with a price-tag between $1,500 and $5,000. Registered nurses must go to college, either at for an associate degree or a bachelor degree. This takes between 2-4 years with an average tuition range of approximately $10,000 to $70,000, depending on the program.