Are you looking for a fast track into a nursing career, or do you think nursing is for you but aren’t ready to officially leap into nursing school? It sounds like you’re a good candidate for becoming a CNA.
Whether you’re just starting and want to know if you’ve got what it takes to become a nurse (spoiler alert: we sure think you do!), or you want to take that next step on the career ladder, you’ve come to the right place. This article will look at what other jobs you can do with a CNA license and jobs for CNAs who wish to further their education and specialize.
It’s time to look toward the future and see how your CNA credentials, experience, and skills can help you find rewarding work in this role or more advanced and specialized functions.
What is a CNA?
In short, certified nursing assistants are caregivers. They provide essential support in a healthcare environment. A CNA role can be a fulfilling career in and of itself or a stepping stone to a more advanced nursing profession.
Working under the supervision of a nurse to provide patient care, CNAs perform daily activities like bathing, grooming, redressing wounds, moving and feeding patients, checking vital signs, and taking down information during calls with patients.
Where can CNAs work?
Because their work often involves helping patients with daily tasks, CNAs can be found in many work environments, including nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and other adult-care settings.
CNAs also work at the following healthcare facilities:
- Long-term care facilities
- Rehabilitation centers
Eight jobs similar to CNAs
There are a various technician and aide roles that CNAs can fulfill, like being a home health aide or nursing aide. But if you want to look outside of the role and transition to a new one, you can use your credentials as a solid base for the following careers.
Paramedic or emergency medical technician (EMT)
If you like providing medical care but are looking for something more fast-paced than the usual nursing assistant hospital jobs, you might consider becoming an EMT or paramedic. You’ll work on an ambulance, provide basic and advanced life support (BLS and ALS, respectively), and help patients stay alive. To fulfill this role, you’ll need to complete emergency medicine training.
Medical billing professional
Enjoy the administrative side of healthcare work? Your experience as a CNA is the perfect foundation for taking on a role as a billing or coding professional. Thanks to your understanding of medical terms and conditions, you’ll be well prepared to code patient records and understand insurance policies.
Certified medical assistant
For a CNA to become a certified medical assistant (CMA), they have to do a bit more than making a slight change to one of the letters in their job title. After completing training, CMAs can work in an administrative role in a clinical setting. They take down patient information, check vital signs, process payments, and help with insurance.
Physical therapy assistant
If you love sports but aren’t cut out to be a basketball coach, a career in physical therapy may be the perfect fit for you. In this role, you’ll work closely with a physical therapist to help patients who’ve suffered an injury.
If you’re interested in pharmacology, you might try a career as a pharmacy technician. Your clinical knowledge as a CNA will help, but you’ll definitely have to brush up on drugs and their side effects. This role is not the same as a pharmacist, but you’ll learn a lot about medicine, both on the job and through your studies. We recommend earning a certificate in pharmacy technology.
Social/human service assistant
Are you a people person? Do you have the empathy and interpersonal skills to take care of others in difficult situations? Put your CNA skills to good work as a social and human service assistant. You’ll work closely with social workers to help them fulfill their everyday tasks. Plus, you’ll be a part of some rockstar NGOs, social service offices, and government aid organizations.
If working in a hospital or ambulance isn’t for you, perhaps it’s time to open wide and say “aaah” to the world of dentistry. In this role, you’ll perform administrative tasks like keeping patient records, scheduling appointments and preparing patients for their dental procedures. More clerical than clinical, this role will have you sitting at a desk more than making rounds. But get ready to hit the books (again); to work as a dental assistant, you’ll have to first earn an Associate Degree of Science in Dental Assisting.
If the operating room calls to you, consider going for your Certificate of Surgical Technology and becoming an operating room technician (aka an OR tech). You’ll help the surgery team prep for and perform operations by getting the room ready and setting up equipment. And when the surgeon says “scalpel, please,” you’ll be there to hand it over.
What kinds of nursing certificates are there?
Where to begin? With more than 100 different nursing certificates, we feel fairly confident in saying there’s something for everyone. One of the many beauties about a career in nursing is the number of different levels of the profession. Within each, you can specialize in precisely the area (or areas!) of medicine you like.
What’s the difference between CNA and LPN?
While similar in several ways, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are trained and licensed to perform basic nursing tasks like administering medication and maintaining records, while CNAs are not.
We’re here to support you wherever your nursing career path begins and ends. While you shoot for the stars and keep moving up that career ladder, we’ll have all the comfortable scrubs you need as a healthcare professional, plus a student discount to help you while you continue to pursue your education.