What's the Job Description of a Health Care Assistant?

Health care assistants help patients recover from ailments or injuries. If you have a caring nature and want to help patients get better, keep reading to learn more about working as a health care assistant. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Health care assistants are also called nursing assistants or sometime, nursing aides. In this role, you will work under the direction of a registered nurse or doctor and focus on patient care. You will provide emotional and professional care to each patient you work with at the facility. You will also help patients eat, clean themselves, and assist them while dressing. If a patient needs to be moved from one room to another, you will help them stand and walk, if necessary. Other duties may include maintaining patient files, cleaning a patient's room, making and changing a patient's bed, and assisting nurses and doctors with medical equipment.

Important Facts About Health Care Assistants

Professional Certification Certified Medication Assistant (CMA)
Key Skills Critical thinking, situational awareness, clear communication, close listening, monitoring, service oriented
Work Environment Nursing care facilities, hospitals, residential care facilities
Similar Occupations Medical assistants, personal care aides, physical therapist assistants and aides, personal care aides, registered nurses, home health aides


To perform the duties of an aide or assistant, training can be found at the community college level. In a college program, you will obtain skills in nursing, patient care, emergency procedures, and communication. The curriculum also covers topics involving client rights and infection control. In order to earn your certified nursing assistant (CNA) designation, you must complete your approved program in addition to successfully passing an exam on career-pertinent skills and information.


To obtain a CNA license, you will need to check with your state board to determine the specific state's requirements. Generally, candidates fill out an application with the nursing aide registry and then send it to the state's licensing office. Many times, proof of education is required to be eligible for testing. Depending on the state you live in, you may be required to submit to a background and criminal check before your license will be issued.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of nursing assistants and orderlies is expected to grow by 11% between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov). Because of costs, many hospitals choose to discharge healing patients into the care of short-term nursing facilities; this trend could indicate additional job opportunities. As of May 2018, the BLS reported that the mean annual wage for nursing assistants was $29,580.

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