Nurse Aide vs CNA: Differences and Similarities

Did you know healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries? It seems everyone is looking for a higher level of care in their daily lives. Perhaps you are interested in a healthcare career but don’t know where to start.

Sound familiar? If so, you might seek a hospice care or nursing job. What’s the difference between a nurse aide vs cna?

Check out our guide to learn the differences.

Education Requirements

A Nurse Aide (NA) and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) both have education requirements. Both must be trained from a certified program and pass a state exam to become certified. This is where the similarities end, however.

A Nurse Aide program is typically shorter and less intense than a CNA program. It can sometimes take place in a high school setting. A CNA program is more focused on medical knowledge.

In addition, CNAs must have at least a high school diploma. They must complete additional clinical training in addition to the instruction and educational hours completed in the CNA program. This usually requires more class time to obtain certification.

Career Paths 

CNAs tend to have more autonomy in their roles. They can help with patient care and do more of the “behind the scenes” duties than a nurse aide can. Although both serve essential functions in healthcare, nurse aides are typically overseen by a registered nurse (RN) or another healthcare professional, while a CNA may be supervised independently.

While nurse aides are not as formally trained, they are excellent communication points in the medical field. They help with administrative tasks that a CNA may be unable to do.

Wage & Salary Expectations

There are similarities and differences in the wage and salary expectations of a nurse aide versus a CNA. Starting, the average salary of both a nurse aide and a CNA is about the same at around $30,000 a year, depending on other factors such as location and experience.

Additionally, nurse aides and CNAs can expect to receive benefits such as paid time off, health care benefits, sick leave, and other employer perks. However, one difference between a nurse aide and a CNA is that the former is not typically required to be certified. In contrast, the latter must have the appropriate certification or training to be employed by a hospital.

Job Outlook

They both have a similar job outlook for the future because both jobs require knowledge and skills to work with individuals in the healthcare industry. NAs typically have little to no prior training and usually complete a short course before working in the medical field.

On the other hand, CNAs have higher responsibilities due to their experience and more comprehensive training. They may have to complete a one or two-year certification course and must pass a state exam to work in the medical field. If you want to pursue a nursing career, check more on nursing aide registry.

Understanding the Differences Between Nurse Aide vs CNA

A nurse aide vs CNA both play a crucial role in the healthcare industry. They each have their distinct responsibilities, but there can be some overlap. Research, certification, and licensure are necessary to pursue either work. 

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