Caregiver CNA: Education Requirements and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a caregiver CNA. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Caregiver CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) work for and sometimes live with patients who cannot perform various daily chores for themselves. This career requires little formal training: individuals may secure a job as a caregiver or nursing assistant with as little as a high school education and CPR certification. More structured educational programs in the field are available. Most nursing assistants also must obtain certification or state registration by completing a competency test.

Required Education High school diploma or GED; on-the-job training; certificate programs are available
Additional Requirements State competency exam; CPR certification is often required; clean background check
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 21% for nursing assistants*
Average Salary (2013) $26,020 for nursing assistants*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Caregiver CNAs

The minimum educational requirement for caregiver CNAs is a high school diploma or its equivalent. However, specific training requirements such as having CPR certification may vary by state or employer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) maintains that CNAs who wish to work in a healthcare facility are federally required to complete no less than 75 hours of state-approved nursing assistant training and take competency exams (www.bls.gov). Though caregiver CNAs may choose to work in the private sector, helping clients who wish to continue living in their own homes, it may prove helpful for them to have additional training and certification.

According to the BLS, these training programs offer students information about nutrition, anatomy and physiology. They train students to master techniques such as bathing, grooming and toileting. Classes and programs may also be available at high schools, community colleges, vocational centers, technical institutes and nursing facilities. Organizations such as the American Red Cross may also offer nursing assistant training programs.

Additional Requirements

Caregiver CNAs should be in good physical health. They may be asked to provide proof that they are drug-free and submit to a criminal background check. In addition, having reliable transportation and a valid driver's license may prove helpful.

Career Information

The BLS reports that employment for nursing assistants was expected to increase by 21% between 2012 and 2022 as the need for workers to assist the elderly and infirm increases. Caregiver CNAs working in the private sector may also have the option of living with their clients, providing full-time care via such tasks as:

  • Bathing, feeding and dressing clients
  • Running errands
  • Providing overall companionship
  • Checking pulse rates, taking temperatures and reading blood pressure

According to the BLS, nursing assistants earned an average of $26,020 per year as of 2013. Nursing assistants employed by the federal government earned the highest average wages of $35,950 per year.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics