How to Further Your CNA Career

Nurses together studying

There’s nothing more satisfying than coming from work each day, and knowing you’ve made a difference. That’s the driving purpose behind our healthcare heroes like you.

Working as a CNA is a great place to get your start in the healthcare industry. As you gain experience in your CNA career, it’s important to know that you can continue to learn and earn more. You can grow your career and boost your salary to match your advancing skills — all with the help of continued education.

The more education and training you get, the more opportunities you can find to further your CNA career.

Three Ways to Further Your CNA Career

If you’re a CNA thinking, “What’s next?” you’re not alone. From becoming a CNA to PCT or CNA to LPN, there are endless paths you can take to further your CNA career.

Here are three powerful opportunities you can take to get closer to your healthcare career goals:

1. Continuing Education Classes

You don’t have to ditch the CNA career path to boost your pay and qualifications. There are several additional certifications and continuing education classes you can take to further your CNA career and increase your value.

The certifications and classes you choose will depend on your unique career goals and which healthcare settings you prefer:

  • If you’re passionate about working in nursing homes, home health care, or private duty care, you may consider a Home Health Aide Certification.
  • If you’re specifically interested in working with seniors, you may also want to consider Alzheimer’s Training to equip yourself with the knowledge needed for memory care.
  • If you want to work in a more traditional healthcare setting, such as a hospital, walk-in clinic, or doctor’s office, you may consider EKG, Medical Assistant, and/or Phlebotomy training.
  • If you’re passionate about mental health and rehabilitation, you may consider Seclusion and Restraint and/or Psychosocial Care Skills training.

Some of these certifications may not be required for certain positions and settings. However, continuing your education expands your skills and strengthens your qualifications. As a result? You’ll discover more opportunities to further your CNA career.

2. CNA to PCT: Training and Certification

If you’re interested in working in a hospital setting, shifting from CNA to PCT may be the right career move for you.

A Patient Care Tech (PCT) has very similar responsibilities, and skills as a CNA yet is trained for more clinical settings, such as hospitals and walk-in clinics. Because of their extra training, PCTs can care for patients at their bedside while assisting with more technical tasks, such as EKGs, phlebotomy, and advanced medical equipment monitoring.

If you’re already a CNA, the switch from CNA to PCT can be pretty simple. There are a few different ways you can make it happen:

  1. Enroll in a PCT certification course at a local or online college.
  • Obtain your EKG and Phlebotomy training certifications. This can close the gap between CNA and PCT qualifications and allow you to receive any other necessary training on-site.
  • Get on-the-job training at a hospital or clinic. Note that this may be more competitive and challenging than other routes.

3. CNA to LPN or RN: Heading Back to School

As a CNA, you work closely with the nurses around you. It’s easy to dream about taking the leap and furthering your CNA career to become an LPN or RN, especially when you’re passionate about the field.

If you do head back to school, know you’ll be met with endless career opportunities and options. The current nursing shortage gives you an advantage in the workforce, making your career skyrocket in value.

But which is right for you: LPN or RN?

Just like a CNA, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is responsible for supporting patients with daily care and comfort. However, an LPN specializes in basic medical tasks, such as taking vital signs, managing medication, and updating charts. Advancing as a CNA to LPN allows you to further your CNA career while still enjoying valuable relationships with your patients.

RNs (Registered Nurses) provide more advanced daily medical care. RNs often oversee LPNs and CNAs. They might administer treatments and medication, coordinate patient care, perform and analyze tests, and educate patients with post-care tips.

As you can see, your CNA experience lays a solid foundation to further your career in healthcare, whether as a CNA to PCT, LPN, or RN.

Salary & Education Requirements

Here are the average hourly salaries and education requirements for each career path as of 2022. Keep in mind that your experience, education level, state regulations, location, and healthcare setting may affect these rates and requirements:

Average Hourly Rates (Nationally)

  • CNAs:$15-$18/hour.
  • PCTs: $17-$19/hour.
  • LPNs: $22-$27/hour.
  • RNs: $30-$39/hour.

Education Required

  • CNAs: It takes an average of 4-16 weeks to become a CNA.
  • PCTs: Training can vary. On average, training can last between 2-8 months.
  • LPNs: It takes an average of 1 year of schooling at a technical or community college to become an LPN.
  • RNs: You must earn your associate’s, bachelor’s, or diploma from an accredited nursing program to become an RN. This can vary from 2-4 years.

Further Your CNA Career with CareerStaff

Whether you’re set on furthering your CNA, PCT, LPN/LVN, or RN career, we’re here to help you make it happen.

At CareerStaff, we believe you should have total control of your time, pay, and career growth. That’s why we promise access to a dedicated recruiter to connect you with new job opportunities built around your unique CNA career goals. When it comes to your career, your recruiter will always be just a text, call, or email away.

Have any questions? Get started now, and start opening up your career opportunities ASAP. At CareerStaff, we’ll connect you with local, travel, per diem, and permanent job positions across the country that meet your personal and professional standards.

Here’s to reaching your goals, your way.