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

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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 as a CNA. Relocating is out of the question, because it isn't worth the money to relocate on my own for a job that pays less than $20,000 a year in the first year when I can get an entry level job in another field that pays near $40,000 and doesn't require me to relocate at my own expense.CNAs are a dime in a dozen, and even LTCs are picking who they want to hire in this economy. If you don't have experience, don't waste the time or money. The money and time you will waste towards being a CNA should go towards LVN or RN school. I spent a grand out of my own pocket to become a CNA, and couldn't find a job. I'm lucky that I did not take out a loan for it. If someone wants to be a CNA, then go through a Work Source program or a welfare to work program. I would have done the same, but I made too much money this year before I was laid off. I don't mean to sound negative, but I don't want people thinking that they can get a CNA job with zero experience. I have been out of work for months, and now I am out of $1000. If you're 21 or younger, have no expenses, and live at home, then you can spend months looking for a job as a CNA , or even relocate and live in a room at someone's house. However, if you're in you're 30s, have bills, and can't depend on your parents to pay your bills, then do not consider being a CNA , unless you have experience.I cannot stress this enough. If you want to get into the nursing field, and you're out of work, get a job in something you have experience in, and get into a LVN or RN program that will let you attend part-time.In California, the CNA, job market is tight. It's extremely rough if you live in a major city.
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  3. 45 Comments so far...

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    I'm sorry this was your experience. But it isn't like this everywhere. I'm from the midwest, and I took the CNA class, including the book and test for about $650, which has been repaid to me by the LTC I work for. I took the class summer 2011, and everyone in my class that wanted to work as a CNA had a job within 2 months, and most of us didn't have any experience in the field. I had already been working in a LTC as a dining assistant for a couple months by the time I got my CNA, so I was pretty lucky anyways.
    Paws2people and RunnerRN2b2014 like this.
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    Quote from Compassion_x
    I'm sorry this was your experience. But it isn't like this everywhere. I'm from the midwest, and I took the CNA class, including the book and test for about $650, which has been repaid to me by the LTC I work for. I took the class summer 2011, and everyone in my class that wanted to work as a CNA had a job within 2 months, and most of us didn't have any experience in the field. I had already been working in a LTC as a dining assistant for a couple months by the time I got my CNA, so I was pretty lucky anyways.
    I know it isn't like that everywhere. I'm talking about California. EDD and Work Source centers have flooded the market with CNAs, so employers are extremely picky. I haven't found one LTC that will take someone with zero paid experience, unless it's part-time for minimum wage. That kind of pay wouldn't even put gas in my car and pay for bills. Like I said, CNA is great if you're in your early to mid 20s with no bills, but if you're my age, got laid off a job where you're making $38,000 a year plus benefits, then it's a waste of time and money. In other areas in the country, it probably isn't like that. I'm happy for your experience. I'm just warning people like myself not waste their time. I don't want anyone going through what I went through. There is an LVN program starting close to my area next month, and I will have to take out a loan for it. That $1000 I wasted on CNA training and passing the state test won't even count towards LVN school.
    Kandy83 likes this.
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    It really depends on the location. I think when the economy went south several years ago, a lot of unemployed people tried jumping into the medical field, and CNA is the quickest and easiest way into the field, so thats the class a lot of people take.

    Keep in mind, the situation might not be much better when it comes to new LPNs and RNs with no experience. If you do plan on being a Nurse, having some CNA experience, even part time, would probably help landing your first job, so the class might not be a total waste.
    Paws2people likes this.
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    It's also good to do a lot of research before investing the time and money into a medical program.

    Thanks for heads up. I will take into consideration what you said while I am doing my research. I don't want to take out a loan up to $8000 for an LVN program and be in the same situation I am in right now with having a CNA certificate that is almost worthless in this economy.

    The Labor statistics are also misleading. It says that medical field is one of the fastest growing fields in this country (even in California), but it doesn't state that someone can get a job in the field without prior experience.

    I'm just warning people who are considering becoming a CNA, because they think they can get a job in the field without prior experience. I have another friend who became a medical assistant two years ago, and she hasn't been able to find a job. I think the only people who are making money or the people teaching these programs, and people who have prior experience in the medical field.

    At least with an LVN or RN license, it would be worth relocating to get an entry level. Since the starting hourly rate for a CNA is minimum wage or a dollar or two above that, it isn't worth relocating.

    I blame myself for spending money on CNA program without doing all of the research. I'm kicking myself in the head right now.
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    Since the starting hourly rate for a CNA is minimum wage or a dollar or two above that, it isn't worth relocating.
    My first CNA job was 12.36 an hour in a LTC facility. So you can make decent money starting out as a CNA in some places, especially if they are part of a union. I make almost 14 an hour as a hospital PCT now. I think Cali is one of the worst places to be for any entry level position, in health care or otherwise, because there are a lot of young people there. I live in a rural area where the young people move away. Cali is where young people move TO, including lots of immigrants.

    Just keep in mind the more money you make as a CNA, the more is expected from you, especially if it is a union job. Getting hired in the first place I worked was more like a try out than a job, with really high turnover in the first 4 months(after that you were in the union), so they basically did a review after 3 months and made a decision on whether to keep you or let you go. I managed to make the cut, but it was a really tough stressful job.
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    It also doesn't matter how good you do in the CNA theory part of the program or the clinical. Less than two weeks of clinical hours isn't going to compare to an applicant who has six months or more as a CNA. The longer you have been out of a CNA program, the harder it is for you get a job in the field. If you don't get a job after a month or two from graduating and taking your written and skills exam, then most likely the employer will assume that you have forgotten what you have learned in training.

    These are things instructors or anyone running a CNA or MA program don't tell you. The certificate is good to have on a resume to prove that you have been doing something besides playing video games and drinking beer while being unemployed, but it isn't going to get you a job in the medical field unless you have prior experience.

    Lucky for me, I am being considered for a job in an unrelated field, because the person who interviewed me considered the state issued CNA certificate and the time I was in school as proof that I wasn't sitting on my behind wasting my life away while being unemployed.

    I plan on using the funds I get from this job towards going back to school in order to get my LVN license.
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    Quote from funtimes
    My first CNA job was 12.36 an hour in a LTC facility. So you can make decent money starting out as a CNA in some places, especially if they are part of a union. I make almost 14 an hour as a hospital PCT now. I think Cali is one of the worst places to be for any entry level position, in health care or otherwise, because there are a lot of young people there. I live in a rural area where the young people move away. Cali is where young people move TO, including lots of immigrants.

    Just keep in mind the more money you make as a CNA, the more is expected from you, especially if it is a union job. Getting hired in the first place I worked was more like a try out than a job, with really high turnover in the first 4 months(after that you were in the union), so they basically did a review after 3 months and made a decision on whether to keep you or let you go. I managed to make the cut, but it was a really tough stressful job.
    That's the point I am trying to make. California isn't the best place for an entry level job in the medical field. I didn't want to mention the thing about immigrants, because I would probably get labeled as being racist although I am just being a realist. Younger people is also a draw back. BTW, I am not talking about immigrants being hired over citizens, but LTCs and clinics want people who are bilingual who work there so they can communicate with the patients, residents, visitors, people who call, or etc.

    My point is that the people running the schools don't tell you any of this. They're job is to provide you the material and get you ready to pass a state or national exam. They're job isn't to tell you if it is possible for you to get a job after you finish the program and pass the required exams.

    If someone is in California, please go online and check out the job ads for CNA full-time or even part-time before investing the time and money. If the job ad doesn't say anything about having experience, call the facility and ask if they would hire someone right out of school with zero experience besides clinical hours.
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    Damn, I just got my CNA certification and I'm about to start putting in apps this week :/ I hope my experience isn't this bad...
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    Quote from TurtleCat
    Damn, I just got my CNA certification and I'm about to start putting in apps this week :/ I hope my experience isn't this bad...
    It depends on where you live. Experience varies. My experience might be different from yours. My thread and post are for people who live in major metropolitan areas in California.


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