There are hundreds of jobs for Certified Nursing Assistants being created each month, but anyone who has started the search knows there are tons of different kinds. The main two types of employment will be at nursing homes or for home health positions. There are major differences between the two and it can be hard to find out which is best for you.
Nursing homes are the most abundant type of job for CNAs. They employ almost half of all nursing assistants, so they are the best place to start your search. When first starting out, it is best to work at a nursing home. They will hire students before certification is complete and offer the best environment for training and becoming an experienced worker. They are also the most reliable place to start a career, as your job will be secure for many years.
Home health jobs are much like working at a nursing home, except that the CNA works one on one with a private client, like a personal caretaker. The job duties are determined by the specific needs of the private client and may include doing laundry, cooking meals, transporting to and from destinations, and other daily activities. But generally speaking, the work tasks are the same at nursing homes. Employers of home health aides are looking for CNAs with experience when hiring. It is possible to apply for work with individuals in need of help or to be hired by a home health care agency that contracts home health aide workers for specific jobs.
Pros and Cons
Home health positions pay better than nursing homes. This is because the CNA is working directly for a family or individual and not a healthcare administration/corporation. The pay is usually hourly because contracts are not guaranteed for long periods. This is the drawback to home health positions: your job could disappear if your client no longer needs assistance or decides to find a new CNA. Nursing homes are much more secure because you are a salaried worker and your job will not disappear as your patients get healthier.
Nursing homes offer three different shifts: day, evening, and night. This gives some basic options for a flexible work schedule, but you are limited to these shifts. Home health positions are much more random, sometimes needed after 5PM until 10PM or only for two hours around lunch time. Again, home health offers greater benefits for planning a flexible schedule, but the unreliability of long-term work could make this schedule disappear after a few weeks or months.