You probably decided to enroll in your CNA training course because you assumed it was a quick way to enter into the medical field, and you’re absolutely right. With CNA training courses that last anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months, it is the fast track to working in a semi-professional, medical career. But what about finding employment now that your CNA training course is complete and you’ve earned your certification? Unless you’ve enrolled in training that guarantees job placement, you may find yourself feeling like you’ve hit a dead end. According to Herb Johnson, a Residential Care Facilities Owner, aides fresh out of CNA training is not what most facilities are looking for. “We generally place ads looking for CNAs with at least one year of experience.”
When asked why, Johnson replied, “Well, by the time a CNA training graduate has one solid year behind them, they’ve officially decided whether a career as a CNA is right for them or not. They also have encountered numerous on the job situations that can’t be taught in CNA training. Dealing with patient personalities, learning how to move patients who have varying degrees of mobility, and learning to pick up the fast pace of facility care are all things that a solid twelve months will prove out.”
With this information, we also asked Johnson what his advice was to new aides who have recently completed their CNA training.
“Well, we aren’t saying that we absolutely will not hire an aide who has recently earned his or her certification. There are always exceptions to the rule. We simply don’t advertise for aides with less than one year experience. If a motivated, pleasant, and eager CNA came to us looking for employment fresh out of CNA training, we would certainly be willing to consider whether or not this hire was a good fit for us or not.” Johnson gave no further advice as to other places to look for employment.
More Advice for Recent CNA Training Graduates
An RN at another facility we visited had this advice. “Sometimes you’ll have to go ahead and take a position as a Resident Aide. You’ll be paid less than a CNA with over a year of experience, and you may even have to take a second job to make ends meet, but it will get your foot in the door and the experience many institutions are looking for. Then when you are one or two months away from your one-year anniversary as a Resident Aide, start looking for work as a CNA with a year of experience. You’ll be surprised at how many doors will be open to you at that point.”
One Year is the Magic Number for CNA Training Graduates
Once year seems to be that magic number and your pay can actually increase by over a dollar according to statistics. Are there other options? Yes and no. Of course, you could opt out of facility work altogether and become a home health aide after CNA training. Unfortunately, although home health aides do often make a higher weekly wage, the experience gained doesn’t qualify as facility experience. If you ever want to work in a hospital, nursing facility, trauma center, Hospice, or another institution of this kind, you may have to start out with the lower pay.
Bottom line? CNA training that provides job placement looks better all the time.