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What's the Employment Outlook for a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?

Certified nursing assistant (CNA) employment growth is expected to be strong due to the high demand for healthcare for an aging and elderly population. Read on to learn about what affects demand for these professionals and what the job prospects look like.

Job Outlook

Job growth for nursing assistants in general is expected to be at a rate of 11% over the 2016-2026 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This projected growth is faster than the average for all occupations and is expected to create 173,400 new positions by 2026. The BLS expects long-term care facilities and nursing homes to have the best job opportunities because of the aging baby-boom population.

Important Facts About Certified Nursing Assistants

Work EnvironmentNursing and residential care facilities, hospitals and more
Similar OccupationsHome Health Aides, Registered Nurses, Psychiatric Technicians and Aides
Professional Certification Aside from the standard Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) credential, individuals may also pursue the Certified Medication Assistant (CMA) designation
Key QualitiesCommunication skills, Compassion, Physical stamina

Factors of Growth

Due to the growing demand for in-home services, home health aides are expected to gain jobs more quickly than nursing assistants. This is due to an increasing elderly population and efforts made by hospitals and insurance agencies to keep costs lower. These agencies are now moving patients out of care facilities more quickly. Patients who require long-term care are also receiving treatment at home using new medical technologies.

Since this career has limited opportunities for advancement, low pay and high physical demands, many nursing assistants are expected to leave their jobs to pursue higher formal training. This will result in more job opportunities for those who have the right training and meet their state's examination requirements.

Salary Information

According to PayScale.com, most CNAs earned between $19,000 and $41,000 as of June 2019, and the median salary was $27,314. The BLS reported in May 2018 that nursing assistants earned an average wage of $28,560 working for nursing care facilities and $31,540 working for general hospitals. The highest-paid nursing assistants worked for scientific research and development services and averaged $41,990 in May 2018, reported the BLS.