Difference between NA & CNA?

  1. What's the difference between a NA and a CNA? I know that NA isn't classified as being certified (which obviously involves a certification exam.) I'm starting my first CNA class on monday, and thinking/reading back to the emails between the instructor & I, she always referred it to the NA class. When I had my interview w/ her, I kept referring to it as a CNA class, and how great this class would be to get started in my chosen career path. The class I already know involves hands on training/clinicals, book work, LOTS of studying, homework, and an exam at the end. Lol I know this is probably a stupid question, but I just wanna make sure! :-)
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    About AmandaS<3

    Joined: Feb '10; Posts: 11; Likes: 4
    from US


  3. by   caliotter3
    You are right. The CNA is a nursing assistant who has passed the certification exam. Most employers require nursing assistants to be certified by the time they have been employed for four months, (state requirement for LTC facilities?), or similiar regulations. A CNA will have an easier time getting employment and can command a higher salary. It is also advised to obtain the HHA (home health aide) certificate to broaden employment opportunity.
  4. by   AmandaS<3
    I'm pretty sure that this class is meant for hopeful CNA's. Because why else would there be a certification exam at the end (6 weeks of training fyi.)
  5. by   caliotter3
    Nursing assistants are hired, then trained on the job. There are no formal classes. The formal class is for those seeking the CNA certificate.
  6. by   AmandaS<3
    Ah I see. That makes me feel better. I guess I am just starting to become nervous and anxious about this class, that I'm now overthinking everything!
  7. by   TheCommuter
    CNA = Certified nursing assistant
    NA = Nursing assistant

    CNAs and NAs are both nurse aides, but the only difference is that the CNA has passed a certification test for the state in which he/she works. Many facilities will hire NAs with the goal of getting them to pass the state exam within a certain amount of time after the date of hire.
  8. by   jolly_tamale
    I think what your instructor meant was, for example I am in the (L) PN program right now. However, I'm not an LPN upon graduation, only after passing the test. Just like you don't become a CNA when you pass the class, just when you pass the test. My school doesn't call their LPN program that, they call in the PN class since they don't license us. She was probably saying you are in a NA class, and are eligible to take the test to become certified once you passed.
  9. by   ItsTheDude
    it really depends on who your asking, just look at job descriptions for differ employers, same job req/duties, but differ job titles. i've seen cna's referred to as a cna, nurse tech, nurse aide, nurse assitant, nursing aide certified and so on. basically a cna can be any of those job titles, but only a certified person can hold a job title that implies certification (cna). just because your a cna and the job requires you to be a cna, doesn't mean you employers will call you a cna, they may have their own name for it like those mentioned earlier.
  10. by   Ev1987
    The class I had was referred to NAT (Nurse assistant training). After completing the course, I was qualified as a nursing assistant. Once I took and passed the state board exam, I was then certified. Classifying me as a Certified nursing assistant. You only become certified if you pass the state boards, not by completing a training course.
  11. by   AmandaS<3
    Alright yeah, all that makes sense. Just because you're going into a CNA training course obviously doesn't mean you ARE a CNA. Only after you pass the state exam, and I know for sure that there is a certification exam after the six weeks. Thank you all for replying with your input. I'm really excited for this class. Being a nurse is my dream job, and in my opinion becoming a CNA first is a great way. Not that I would personally know, but through what everyone has said to me and doing my research. But it's different for everyone! I've heard that through 'free' training (which is what I'm doing), you'll usually be obligated to work at that facility for a certain amount of time. I guess that could work both ways, it basically guarantees you a job, but if you don't neccesarily care for the environment then that is sort of a downer. The nursing home in which I'm taking the class actually doesn't expect you to start working there. They offer it to the students but you don't have take it. So I think it's kinda a good deal! I think my first choice would to be in a hospital setting but I don't have any experience anywhere to really know.

    PS. If you work in an hospital, can you choose to work on a certain floor? For example I would love to work w/ the cancer patients (which in the hospital I would want to work in, anything that has to do w/ cancer has it's own floor.) My dad was a cancer patient for along time... And honestly, that time of my life & being in the hospital for that period of time was when I knew I wanted to become a nurse. Sorry for the huge reply!
    Last edit by AmandaS<3 on Feb 27, '10
  12. by   jolly_tamale
    Usually certain floors hire post for jobs separately, but even if you start in a floor that isn't your dream job it makes it much easier to later transfer to the floor you want. I started as a CNA and am now in nursing school. I think starting as a CNA is a great start! I am not nearly as nervous about clinicals as my classmates who have no prior background in the medical field.

    Good luck, I'm sure you'll do great!