Do not bother with CNA programs unless you have experience in the field. - page 5

by realitycheck2013

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Unless you have experience working in home health care or working in LTC, you won't get hired unless you know someone who is doing the hiring.I paid for a CNA program, passed the state exam, and I haven't been able to find a job... Read More


  1. 0
    ...I live and work in Southern California, was offered a job at my first choice hospital before I even finished my program. About a week out. Starting pay was well above minimum at the time and has increased since I was hired. Granted this was 5 years ago now, BUT my hospital also just hired a new group of CNAs who have zero experience, one even onto day shift on the highest acuity unit we have that uses CNAs.

    Jobs are out there, it just requires a lot of perseverance. That said, LVN prospects are worse than CNA out here. Everyone uses CNAs whereas many hospitals have phased LVNs out. They are out there, but I was unable to find an LVN job even with 5 years of acute care experience as a CNA. Don't waste your time and money--go straight for the RN. Not to say that the RN new grads are having an easy time of it, but it's better for them than the new grad LVNs.

    Hopefully my years working as a CNA will pay off when I finish my RN in April--hoping to stay on at my current facility in a new role.
  2. 1
    This has been my wife's experience. Took 2 years to find a CNA job...then again she was fine being a stay at home mom, but for those just graduating as CNA and getting certified, the first thing to do is try the place where you took clinicals at, if they don't hire then look up staffing agencies. It is only when I found this out a few weeks ago that my wife was able to get something in homehealth. Staffing agencies will hire reguardless, just apply to as many as possible, some do hospice work, some LTC and some place you in hospitals. Once you get a job, stick at it no matter what for 1 year! you need that one year experience to get your career moving. If all else fails, immediately volunteer at a hospital of nursing home. DONT allow gaps to build up on your resume, thats the worse possible thing you can do as a new CNA. go to ligit websites like rn.org to keep your CU's updated, just check that it meets your state's requirements.
    nguyency77 likes this.
  3. 0
    I live in rural California and like these two people there are observer jobs here (like what IHeartNursing321 said). I work as a lab tech and L--- works at one of the local hospitals as an observer as their 2nd job. They come to work with funny stories about their work there. It sounds like you help them with small tasks and watch them.

    I heard people can sit for the CNA exam after their first semester of nursing school. CNA work seems extremely simple... I've looked at sample tests online and it basically seems the same as a caregiving job. People could probably guess the right answers. I honestly don't see how a CNA cannot work in in-home care for a year as some posters say. I helped a family member with their job caring for a woman with Alzheimer's for a year and a half maybe even two years and it wasn't very difficult. Many around here work in caregiving at $12 pay an hr and are not certified. Nursing home care work seems horrible compared to in-home care. There is no one-on-one relationship and the people in nursing homes cannot be watched 24/7 like in-home care nor is there enough freedom or independence for them. The pay is even lower like $8.25 for nursing home workers and no one even wants to work there (unless they are so desperate they'll take any job, but they'll leave ASAP for in-home care or some other job when they can, and many of the people living in the facilities hate it too and want to go in-home care).

    Like irisheyesRsmilin most of the nurses around here get hired right away (might need to move though, possibly) if they work as a CNA while in school. It takes longer if you don't. There's an externship program which lets people work at various hospitals while in college which helps land them a job afterwards. People love the local colleges locally, too. All the jobs here are in healthcare, there is not much variety, so nearly everyone goes into it (though some drop out of the track, obviously, and try something else). In a metropolitan area there's more variety for you and less elderly. The cost of living here is great too, so we get the same wages state-wide, but better living standards. Forget the $1500 a month for a studio, here we can get a whole house. It's really safe too, people walk all over the place without worry. Only drawback is that everyone knows each other because many people grew up here or once they move here never leave. There's still around 30,000 people in the two colleges here so it's not too small, but still there is definitely a strong small-town feel as people live here their whole lives.

    Quote from IHeartNursing321
    After I got my CNA license, I worked for home health for 2 months then got a job at a hospital as a patient observer. Yes, the hospital wouldn't hire me as a CNA because of my lack of "hospital experience" because sadly, working in home health is not considered valuable experience (which I think is stupid)! So after working six months at the hospital, I'll just transfer to a CNA position. I do think that having my CNA license is what helped me get the patient observer job since I was a little "overqualified." My advice would be to apply to non-CNA positions as well if you have your CNA but cannot find a job as one. But then again, I am 19 and live with my parents so money is not an issue. But for people who are older and have bills to pay, it can be stressful.
    Quote from irisheyesRsmilin
    I am sorry that the employment situation in California ( and other locals) is so bleak. I took CNA class ( around $900.00) at local community college and did so to shave off time once I got into the nursing program (ADN) that I wanted. I had a semester free, so I did it. The place we did clinicals at needed 2 CNA's and myself and another gal were approached with a job offer. I wasnt planning on working as a CNA but loved the place I did clinicals at, so I happily accepted. Great Decision on my part, as I have learned many many things that will assist me in the RN Program. I have also talked to many nurses who were and were not CNA's and the ones who were are greatful they started there and learned what they did, and those who did not feel like they missed out a bit on that level.
    I am in Illinois and the CNA jobs are out there to be had in my area thankfully.
    Another bonus I have heard form my new grad friends are that the RN's getting jobs are the ones who already had an established relationship working as a CNA for the hospitl or LTC facility and they sailed right into the RN position. My DON, ADON and schedualer has already told me I have a job waiting for me next year as LPN and then in 2 years as RN when I complete my studies. Cant be happier about that!!!
    I wish everyones situation was the same as mine regarding finding employment, and I wish you all luck.
  4. 0
    This happens to be true in NY too. I was already accepted to a BSN program nearly a year in advance and figured I would get some relevant job experience by becoming a CNA. I took the class last April which turned out to be a big waste of money. Of my whole class, 1 person was able to get a job and it was a male who is multi-lingual. I applied to every position as a CNA i could find - hospitals, ltc, staffing agencies and every place wants at least 6 months experience. Just to add, I do have tons of work experience and much of it is in mental health.
    Finally, after applying to one hospital system literally 60 times since April, I have been hired as a nursing attendant. They did tell me, that the CNA license really didn't matter and that it is my previous work experience and my interview skills that made them give me a shot.
  5. 0
    Quote from stelon
    ...I live and work in Southern California, was offered a job at my first choice hospital before I even finished my program. About a week out. Starting pay was well above minimum at the time and has increased since I was hired. Granted this was 5 years ago now, BUT my hospital also just hired a new group of CNAs who have zero experience, one even onto day shift on the highest acuity unit we have that uses CNAs.

    Jobs are out there, it just requires a lot of perseverance. That said, LVN prospects are worse than CNA out here. Everyone uses CNAs whereas many hospitals have phased LVNs out. They are out there, but I was unable to find an LVN job even with 5 years of acute care experience as a CNA. Don't waste your time and money--go straight for the RN. Not to say that the RN new grads are having an easy time of it, but it's better for them than the new grad LVNs.

    Hopefully my years working as a CNA will pay off when I finish my RN in April--hoping to stay on at my current facility in a new role.
    hi may i know what city your in in so cal?
  6. 0
    That is horrible. The experience for me was a bit different. I have my EMT license, my phlebotomy license, and my CNA license and I will tell you the CNA license is the only one that has paid for itself and beyond. I got a job within a few weeks of finishing. The money is mostly crap, I took a large pay cut but I knew that I would initially. But the CNA was only a stepping stool for me, I would agree with you that this is not a strong career choice if you want to make a lot of money. I would think you would be better off getting an MA license for the long term.


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