17 Pros and Cons of Being a CNA

What is your next step in your career, do you have any idea?

If you ever considered working in the medical field, becoming a CNA might interest you.

Learn the pros and cons of being a CNA as you prepare for a vocational change.

Pros of Being a CNA

Steady Income

You always will have work, and you will sometimes even receive overtime pay for it.

If any health care position could provide you with job security, this one will if you remain in good standing and have a reasonably clean criminal background.

Your starting salary will support at least one or two people, and you apply to become a lead CNA after gaining experience.

Always a Need

The need for CNAs may grow by up to 8 percent by 2030.

Change in employment openings totals approximately 118,500 within a 10-year period.

That is about 192,800 new openings per year.

This includes various positions that hospitals must fill when other workers transfer to locations or when someone retires.

Endless Opportunities

You can work onsite at residential facilities for elderly or disabled people.

Otherwise, you could seek CNA work at a hospital or nursing home and within private clinics or a doctor’s office.

Other opportunities include becoming a CNA at a school or university if the nurses there require assistance.

Some people even decide to use their training to experience new cultures while traveling.

Medical Career Experience

Probably one of the best reasons to become a CNA is the experience you will receive for when you maybe decide to pursue other medical staff roles.

Many CNAs move on to become LPNs or RNs after they complete their medical school training and obtain the appropriate licenses, however.

If you can figure out how to manage your time while working as a CNA, you could open up a new world of opportunities.

No Degree Required

You do not need to obtain a degree to become a CNA.

That is not necessary unless you decide to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN).

You may need an associate degree to become an LPN or at least one year of schooling and a certificate.

To become an RN, you need at least three to four years of school and to have a bachelor’s degree.

Every level of nursing care you provide also requires some type of license or proof of training.

Short Training Period

You do not need to attend school for years to become a CNA.

In fact, some training sessions only last between six and 12 weeks.

If you are already working as a home health care worker, the CNA position would be a logical “next” step for you.

If you do take the brief required training, it might make a difference of at least a dollar or two per hour than entry-level caretakers.

Sterile Work Environment

Although the work environment does post some risks, it is much cleaner than if you were to work in an auto mechanic shop or meat packing plant.

Not to say that “dirtier” professions are also “less professional,” but you may enjoy working as a CNA if you would rather spend most of your shift indoors in clean spaces.

Satisfaction of Helping People

You will provide a noble service to many people when working as a CNA, and clients will appreciate you for helping them make their beds, bathe, use the restroom or eat.

That may make your life on this planet a little bit more worth living and give them a reason to not give up on themselves.

Chances to Show Compassion

You may see the eyes of an 80-year-old lady light up when you comfort her, for instance.

Maybe a disabled man will share sad stories during which you can offer him some encouraging words.

For some of these people, you might be the only one they interact with all day.

That could fulfill your need to make a difference in the world.

Cons of Being a CNA

Physically Demanding Work

Some people cannot walk.

You may have to lift them into the tub or in and out of a wheelchair, scooter or another motorized device into their beds.

If they fall, you also will have to help them up and maintain their balance.

Moreover, you will become tired from all the running you will do.

Potential Burnout

You may not always have days off when you want or need them.

It is challenging for many CNAs to turn down shifts even though they know they have reached their limits.

You can, however, say “no” if you want to.

However, you may sometimes feel guilty about it knowing there are people out there who need your help.

High Injury Risk

People could fall, and they could bump into you.

Drink liquids, IV or bodily fluids and food also might fall to the floor, and you could slip on those.

If you are careful, you do not have to worry.

Still, accidents happen.

Contending with Mean People

Patients that do not like feeling helpless sometimes become mean when other people must take care of them.

Therefore, you might have to learn much patience when dealing with some long-term residents.

Fortunately, you can learn interpersonal communication skills while in school or on the job.

Low Pay

You do make a steady income.

However, you might not earn much more than you would if you work at a local restaurant or production plant down the street from you and not attend school at all.

Median 2020 salaries are about $14 per hour, and that is about $26,880 per year.

If possible, try to make time for continuing your education if you do not want to be stuck working only a little more than minimum wage for the rest of your life.

However, it depends on how many people you have in your household.

For one person, you can live on about $14-$15,000 per year with maybe just a bit of funding for buying food.

However, the United States Government has calculated poverty levels for four to five people to be about what a CNA makes per year.

To start with, you can increase your salary at least a little if you become a lead CNA.

High Pressure

For the amount you get paid, you sometimes experience quite a bit of stress.

Much of that pertains to most places not having enough staff to provide quality care.

You usually do not have much time to think about what each person needs.

Moreover, you do not have much time to spend with people as you would like if you are the only one on duty serving several clients.

Emotionally Draining

Sometimes, you can empathize with the people at the facility where you work, but you may end up caring too much.

This can drain you.

Not only that, but you also might feel worn out by the way people act, whereas many people requiring care have severe mood swings.

Furthermore, you may end up experiencing bouts of depression after hearing news of your favorite patients dying.

Some CNAs end up changing professions just because of this if they find it happening more often than they can handle.

You will have to learn self-care, for sure, when serving in this professional role.

Exposure to Contagious Diseases

You could accidentally poke yourself with someone’s vaccine needle, or you could expose yourself to contaminated blood.

In addition, you may breathe in airborne pathogens that cause viral sicknesses and colds.

It does not happen often, however.

Besides, you will receive all the necessary safety information you need for preventing sickness as you receive your training.

Should You Become a CNA?

Becoming a CNA is the opportunity to earn at least a little more pay than you did in the past.

It is probably one of the best ways to improve your financial situation without having to wait years to find a job.

You can start working immediately after training if you decide to take this career path.

Starting out as a CNA may also suit you if you do not mind the physically intensive labor.

It could help you achieve your career goals faster than if you were to decide to become a medical assistant, for instance, which requires at least a year of training.

On the other hand, you may not have as much free time working as a CNA versus as a medical assistant because of the demand.

Pros and Cons of Being a CNA – Summary Table

Pros of Being a CNACons of Being a CNA
Steady IncomePhysically Demanding Work
Always a NeedPotential Burnout
Endless OpportunitiesHigh Injury Risk
Medical Career ExperienceContending with Mean People
No Degree RequiredLow Pay
Short Training PeriodHigh Pressure
Sterile Work EnvironmentEmotionally Draining
Satisfaction of Helping PeopleExposure to Contagious Diseases
Chances to Show Compassion

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