What Comes After the CNA Exam: A Comprehensive Guide

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Are you planning to start your career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)? Wondering what comes next after the CNA Exam? Are you confused about the career opportunities and scope of the industry? 

In this article, you will learn about the job opportunities you can have as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), CNA salary and jobs, and career options after CNA.

The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Exam

The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Exam consists of the 2 following sections:

  • Clinical skills exam.
  • Written exam.

The written exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions (MCQs) to test your knowledge on nursing concepts. The duration of the written exam is 90 minutes.

In the clinical skills exam, you will be required to portray your clinical skills by performing nursing tasks in front of a licensed nurse. The duration of the clinical skills exam is about 30 minutes and you must demonstrate about 5 clinical duties in the time given.

The minimum passing score for each section is 70%

The duration for each section of the exam and the passing percentage for each section may vary depending on the state and institution requirements.

What Comes After the CNA Exam

Once you have passed the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Exam, the next step is to apply for a certification or licensure to practice as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in a state or city in the U.S. Once you have received your Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification, the next step is to start looking for jobs to gain experience in the healthcare industry. 

CNA Jobs and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment opportunities are projected to grow about 8% from  2020 to 2030, and there are about 192,800 openings for nursing assistants in the U.S. at the time of writing.

As of May 2020, the average salary for Certified Nursing Assistants was about $30,830 per year, which is about $14.82 per hour.

The highest 10% of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) earn more than $42,110 and the lowest 10% earn less than $22,750.

Most Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) work full-time, while some also work part-time. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are expected to work on holidays, night-shifts, and weekends as they are a part of the healthcare industry.

Let’s discuss the average salary of a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in the top industries they work in. 

TOP INDUSTRIESSALARY (per year)
Government$37,240
Hospitals (state, local, and private) $32,160
Nursing care facilities$30,120
Continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly.$30,020
Home healthcare services$29,210
Average salary of a CNA in the top industries

Some of the industries Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) can work are as follows:

  • Hospitals.
  • Nursing homes.
  • Clinical facilities.
  • Long-term home healthcare.
  • Adult daycare.
  • Rehabilitation centers.
Career options after CNA
Career options after CNA

Career Options After the CNA Exam

After receiving the certification, it is important to be aware of the job opportunities available for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Some of the jobs you can do as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) are as follows:

  • Travel CNA.
  • Critical Care Technician.
  • Patient Care Technician.
  • Home Health Aide.
  • Qualified Medication Aide.

Let’s check out some career options available for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Some of the careers related to Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are as follows:

  • Certified Medical Assistants.
  • Physical Therapy Assistants.
  • Medical Coding and Billing.
  • Paramedics or Emergency Medical Technician.

As a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), you can transition to another field related to the healthcare industry. In some cases, depending on the career and transition requirements, you may need to take a training program.

Pursue Certifications to Advance in Your Career

You can also get certifications to advance your career in the healthcare industry. Certifications help you gain more knowledge and equip your skillset every now and then. 

Earning extra certifications in the relevant field can help you grow in your career. It helps you stand out from the other Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Certifications also pave the way for new job opportunities in the healthcare industry. 

The duration of the program and the certification requirements may vary depending on the state.

As a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), you can take steps to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN). If you are planning to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or Registered Nurse (RN), you may be required to get extra training and certifications. 

Doing a LPN or LVN program costs less and consumes less time than what is required to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Once you enroll in and complete the program, you will become eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, both Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) and Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) are great career choices in the healthcare industry. These careers are estimated to grow about 9% between the years 2020 and 2030. LPN and LVN careers have about 60,700 job openings in the U.S. at the time of writing.

Wrapping Up

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is one of the fastest growing industries in the healthcare industry. As it is one of the fastest growing industries, the demand and job opportunities are also high. Earning extra certifications adds more value to your career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). 

Making the right decisions and doing the right things at the right times can help you advance in your career. This article answers the question, “What comes after the CNA exam” by giving you all the guidance you need.

If your passion towards becoming a certified nursing assistant is high and if you are planning to take the exam, you must try our free CNA practice tests. Our free practice tests can help you prepare for the exam in a more effective way.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I become a CNA online?

In the Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) program, hands-on skills practice plays a vital role. Though most of the programs offer online class options, the candidate is required to complete in-person clinical skills training. Only if the in-person clinical skills training is completed, will the candidate be allowed to take the exam and receive the certification.

How much do CNAs make in an hour?

As of May 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for Certified Nursing Assistants is about $30,830 per year or about $14.82 per hour.

How long does it take to become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

Most of the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) programs take between 4 and 12 weeks to complete. The program is divided into the  2 following sections:

  • Instructional hours.
  • Clinical skills practice.

What are some CNA responsibilities?

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are professionals who help patients with their daily activities, such as bathing and dressing. They assist patients with their day-to-day tasks in nursing homes, hospitals, and adult daycare.

Which state pays CNAs the most?

Some of the best states that pays Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) the most are as follows:

  • Hawaii.
  • Nevada.
  • New Hampshire.
  • California.
  • New York.

To learn more, you can check out our article on 10 Best States for Certified Nursing Assistants in the U.S.

Where is the best place to work as a CNA?

Some of the best industries Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) can work are as follows:

  • Hospitals.
  • Nursing homes.
  • Clinical facilities.
  • Long-term home healthcare.
  • Adult daycare.
  • Rehabilitation centers.

Is being a CNA hard on your back?

As a Certified Nursing Assistant, it is more common to have injuries as the job requires moving, turning, or lifting the patient. Such duties can often result in shoulder and back injuries.