Where Can CNAs Work? 6 In-Demand Settings

Last Updated on June 20, 2024

smiling female certified nurse assistant (CNA) helping female elderly patient at work

Wondering, “Where can CNAs work?” Your opportunities are endless: You can find nurse assistant jobs in a variety of settings, from skilled nursing facilities to hospitals. To help you discover the right place for you, let’s look at today’s most in-demand CNA settings and what to consider when applying.

Choosing Your Setting for Nurse Assistant Jobs: What to Consider

When searching for where to work as a CNA, you have options. Narrow them down by determining your ideal schedule, pace, and environment:

Your Ideal Schedule

Do you prefer your schedule to be varied or consistent? Different nurse assistant jobs offer different schedules: Much of it depends on your setting. Decide what days, hours, and shifts you’re open to working, and find a setting that matches.

Your Preferred Pace

Some nursing assistants thrive in high-stakes, fast-paced environments. Others prefer to build their CNAs skills in relaxed, low-pressure settings — or somewhere in between! Find what works best for you by reflecting on the work environments where you’ve felt the most confident and fulfilled.

Who You Want to Work With

Before you ask, “Where can CNAs work?” ask, “Who do I want to work with?” What types of patients and conditions do you picture yourself working with each day? Your setting can highly influence your patient populations, from infants to aging adults.

Your Skills & Goals

Where are you now, and where do you want to be? In other words, consider your current top skills and the skills you’ll need to reach your CNA career goals. From there, you can find settings that allow you to showcase your strengths and develop new ones.

Where Can CNAs Work? Top Settings for Nurse Assistant Jobs

So, where can CNAs work? You have plenty of options to choose from. Let’s look at some of the most in-demand settings for nurse assistant jobs right now:

Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF)

What it’s like: Skilled nursing facilities provide a space for older patients to receive 24/7 supervision for complex medical needs. Many patients in SNFs are recovering from severe illnesses, injuries, or surgeries and typically stay for a month.

Outlook: SNFs offer the highest number of nurse assistant jobs in the U.S., with ⅓ of CNAs working in this setting.

Skills needed: Rehabilitation support, care documentation, and compassionate communication.

Pros: You’ll have plenty of nurse assistant jobs to choose from! Due to the average length of stay, you’ll also get to know your patients better.

Long-Term Care Facilities (LTC)

What it’s like: You’ll work in a long-term care facility, such as an assisted living or memory care community. These facilities are typically the homes for aging adults and aid with daily living, light housekeeping, and personal hygiene.

Outlook: 16% of CNAs work in long-term care facilities, such as assisted living and retirement communities.

Skills needed: Activities of daily living assistance, behavioral support, and active listening.

Pros: The medical care provided in LTCs is typically less intensive than SNFs. Patients can be more active and independent, making the necessary care simpler.

Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTACH)

What it’s like: LTACHs are specialty care hospitals for patients with intense medical conditions in need of long-term treatment and monitoring. Often, these patients are too sick to stay in a hospital or skilled nursing facility and need closer monitoring. Many patients are on ventilators, dialysis, or IVs.

Outlook: Specialty hospitals are some of the top employers of CNAs. The demand may depend on how many LTACHs are in your area.

Skills needed: Vital signs monitoring, reporting, and healthcare team collaboration.

Pros: You can gain hands-on experience in an LTACH while building close connections with your patients.

Hospitals

What it’s like: As a CNA in a hospital, you’ll work to help patients with their daily needs, from moving to feeding. On top of this, you may deliver lab samples and pick up medications.

Outlook: Hospitals are the second-highest employer for nurse assistant jobs, with over 400,000 CNAs working in hospitals as of 2023.

Skills needed: Emergency response, identifying complications, and patient transport.

Pros: Hospitals pay CNAs more than the national average. Often, these roles can give you a wider variety of experience and skills.

Hospice Care Providers

What it’s like: Like other settings, you’ll work with patients to support their daily living activities and personal care needs. Unlike other settings, you’ll do so in the comfort of their own home. Typically at the end of life, hospice care aims to provide physical and emotional comfort to patients.

Outlook: 5% of CNAs work in home health. With an aging population, CNAs are especially needed in this setting.

Skills needed: End-of-life comfort care, emotional support, and symptom reporting.

Pros: CNAs play a central role in helping patients feel comforted and less alone at the end of their lives. Providing care within homes can feel more relaxed and very meaningful.

Psychiatric Hospitals & Units

What it’s like: You’ll work with patients needing mental and behavioral support by creating a safe, clean, and healthy environment for them to receive care. You may provide daily living assistance and companionship while monitoring patients closely for any concerns.

Outlook: With mental health awareness and resources on the rise, mental and behavioral health CNAs are needed more than ever.

Skills needed: Crisis support, behavioral observation, and supportive communication.

Pros: Many psych hospital and unit patients may be more physically independent than in other settings. Your very presence and kindness can make a world of difference in these patients.

How to Find the Best Nurse Assistant Jobs

Now that we know the answer to “Where can CNAs work,” how can you find these jobs? With CareerStaff by your side, get connected with best positions nationwide that align with your goals.

Start searching for CNA roles nationwide now or Quick Apply below to connect with your dedicated recruiter today!