What Does a Job Description for CNAs Include?

If you would love to get into the medical field – but don’t want to go to med school – check out a CNA job description. With just some short training, you might be the perfect fit for a CNA opening!

What exactly would you do as a CNA?

Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant means taking on more of a behind-the-scenes – but completely necessary – role. While doctors are busy making diagnoses and writing prescriptions, CNAs are in the background taking care of patients’ everyday needs.

They do everything from help patients get out of bed, comb their hair, and even help them travel to surgeries and therapy sessions.

In a CNA job description, you will also find a list of duties that most people could find distressing – like changing bed pans and diapers. Unpleasant as those things may be, though, they are vital to keeping patients as happy and healthy as they can be!cna job description

If you get a job as a CNA, you will also be responsible for many of the basic “building blocks” of medicine – like taking patients’ blood pressure and other vitals, along with monitoring them for any physical or behavioral changes. After all, CNAs are very hands-on with patients.

They might spend an entire day with a patient, while a doctor or nurse only sees the patient for a couple of minutes.

That makes CNAs the most likely people to spot minor changes in a patient’s condition. And, remember, even small changes can have major significance!

Where would you work?

With some searching, you will see a job description posted at all kinds of different medical facilities. That’s because nursing aides have to go wherever the patients are! As a result, you will find them working in hospitals, private doctors’ offices, and nursing homes.

There are even certified nursing assistants who handle personal in-home care for patients who need it!

What kind of qualities do you need to meet the demands of a CNA job description?

Because a duties for CNAs can include plenty of various things in so many different facilities, if you want to succeed at this kind of work, you will have to be able to handle all kinds of different patients. One day you might work with someone who has been seriously injured. The next day, you might have a patient who is losing the battle with dementia – and is completely confused and irritable.

Even if it is not stated outright, part of meeting a job description means being in relatively good physical shape. You do not have to be a bodybuilder, but you will have to be strong enough to lift patients in and out of bed, in and out of wheelchairs and in and out of diagnostic machines.

You will also have to be robust and fit to let patients lean on you when they are up and walking around.

Adding to the physical challenge?

You will have to spend lots of hours on your feet. When you are not in a patient’s room taking care of them, you will be responsible for responding to their calls for help. If you want to work as a CNA, you’ll need a great pair of rubber-soled shoes and the ability to move quickly!

You will also need a good immune system. After all, you are going to be subjected to all kinds of germs on a daily basis!

As important as all of these qualities are, there is another big part of meeting the requirements of a  job description for nurse aides – getting certified.

Unlike doctors and nurses, you won’t have to spend years in school, racking up thousands of dollars of debt in order to get trained. Instead, as long as you’ve got your high school diploma or GED, you can learn everything you need to be a nurse aide during a 50 or 75-hour training course. After that, you will have to pass the CNA certification exam.

The learning doesn’t stop there, though!

Once you’ve gotten your CNA certification, you will have to keep taking classes every couple of years in order to keep it. Your exact continuing education requirements will depend on your specific state or province. Luckily, all of that ongoing education is a great chance to upgrade your skills and make yourself more marketable to employers!

If you have got a “dream” job description in mind – one that focuses on a specific part of medicine – you can get there with the right education. By choosing the right continuing education courses, you can qualify for a CNA job that’s very specialized. For example, you might be able to get  employment in an ICU or working alongside a physical therapist.

No matter which route you take, meeting any CNA job description means getting able to think on your feet, act independently, and – most importantly – preserve your patients’ dignity!


United States Department Of Labor – Nursing Aides, Orderlies and Attendants


17 Responses to “What Does a Job Description for CNAs Include?”

  1. Janet says:

    I didn’t think you could be a CNA if you had a GED. Is it still like this?

    • Dayton says:

      Hi Janet,

      thanks for your question. Yes, with a GED you can enroll in a CNA training program.

      In general, a high school diploma or GED is not needed. However, some training facilities and states require a high school diploma or equivalent. Therefore, it’s advisable to check always first with the appropriate authorities and training facility.

  2. Cara says:

    I am a natural care giver and am in great shape so this looks like a great field for me. I will have to find the right school that is offering a CNA program. Great informative article.

  3. Jill says:

    You have to 100% be the care giving type to do well in this particular field. If someone is not, being a CNA would not be right for that person.

    • Dayton says:

      Jill you are absolutely right. Jobs in healthcare are very demanding requiring a lot of energy and commitment, and to be successful in this job you have to love to interact with other people.

  4. Amber says:

    I am a natural caregiver so this is why I am excited to become a CNA. Someone who does not have that trait would not be the right fit for this line of work.

    • Dayton says:

      Amber, you’re absolutely right. To enjoy this job and be successful you have to be totally committed.

  5. Beatrice says:

    I know this is the type of job I would love to have. I am going to find out where I can get started with the training.

  6. Yetta says:

    Hey Dayton – with the continuing education involved with retaining your CNA certification, I wonder how many people bite the bullet (financially speaking) and just opt to become an RN?

    • Dayton says:

      Hi Yetta, as I mentioned in quite a few articles on this website starting a career in the healthcare industry by becoming a CNA is one of the fastest and most cost efficient ways nowadays. And yes, most people see it as a kick start to their career. Quite a few CNAs continue training to become a LPN, then a RN and even specialize further. However, on the other hand, there are probably equal numbers of trained CNAs who are happy in their job as it is like, for example, caring for the elderly in their community.

  7. Alexis says:

    It does seem like many people would be interested in consistently assisting others rather than seeing them for a short period of time as what nurses and doctors do. Much more bonding takes place and knowledge of patients’ changes.

  8. Hank says:

    Thanks for being honest and letting me know that I will be changing diapers and doing the really physical dirty work as a CNA. I am going to really have to consider if this job is for me.

    • Dayton says:

      Well Hank, I think you got to have a realistic look at this. Think about the short training time and a relative minimal financial commitment, enabling you to have a fair start in the healthcare industry. Then try it out, and if you like it and go from there. Anything is possible; it’s entirely up to you…

  9. Sharron says:

    I feel like in my area (Utah), many of the available CNA jobs are in nursing homes. I would really rather not work in a nursing home, do you feel there will be ample other opportunities in say a hospital setting or should I look at other options? Thanks!

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