Can I Work as a Certified Nursing Assistant or Medical Assistant While in School? - page 2

by TheCommuter Asst. Admin

20,230 Views | 28 Comments

Imagine you are a nursing student who wants to start accruing healthcare experience now. However, volunteering at a hospital or nursing home might be totally out of the question because you need to be paid for the services that... Read More


  1. 2
    I started work as a CNA at a LTC just before the first day of class of my RN program. I am going into my second year of RN school, and now work at the hospital I hope to work at as a nurse. Being a CNA is no easy task, but at my job I take EKG's, remove Foley's and IV's, perform ADLs, and most importantly, tell the RN when a patients status has changed. To me, this experience is invaluable. Not to mention getting used to the stress the RN has EVERY DAY!!! Less than a handful of people in my class do patient care as their job. Maybe it should be a prereq to RN/LPN school?
    silverbat and oklahomagal like this.
  2. 0
    What a nice idea. I would love to work as a CNA while waiting for nursing school. Too bad the SoCal job market is hostile and unavailable to those who are monolingual (English) and have no prior work experience.
  3. 1
    You are blessed to have that experience, although that is going too far in supposing we are all mandated to go that route. Jobs in SoCal are impossible to get if you: don't speak Spanish/Korean/Farsi/Armenian or if you don't know someone on the inside of the organization to which you are applying.

    Following that logic would force a student like me to relocate to a less-immigrant dense area, causing me to have to wait a year before trying to further my schooling (in-state residence).

    But if I lived in the mid-west or VA, this would be a perfect plan.

    However, I can't leave the state where an ADN costs a mere $46/per credit @ the local jc.
    CMA2013 likes this.
  4. 2
    Quote from anie10
    However, I can't leave the state where an ADN costs a mere $46/per credit @ the local jc.
    In the area of Texas where I live, an ADN can be earned for $50 per credit hour at the local community college district. I was born and raised in southern CA and moved out of state back in 2005, so I realize how hard the job situation is there.
    besaangel and anie10 like this.
  5. 1
    Thanks, @TheCommuter... I was hoping you'd pipe in... I remember reading you attended CasaLoma, off of Kester.

    I might have to move to Texas.
    TheCommuter likes this.
  6. 1
    I'm really glad I became a CNA. I feel that the experience I've gained as CNA has helped me in my BSN program.. I work the night shift 11pm-715am on weekends and sometimes pick up shifts during the week depending on the amount of homework and studying I have. It really helps to have an employer that's understanding of your schooling situation and most will work with you. I don't regret getting my CNA.
    anie10 likes this.
  7. 0
    @Nurse2b209 - I feel my certification is worthwhile as well... Just frustrated with the job search.

    I was sooo excited when I did my clinicals, I loved doing everything.
  8. 0
    Good information for nursing students to have! A CNA in my state need only take a 75 hr board certified course, including 3 days of clinical, then pass a relatively easy writtin and practical exam. I found a course that I could do over X-mas break and it cost about $700. I was employed within a week of passing my CNA exams and had made back the cost of my certification within my first paycheck. However, I have heard similar stories of MAs having some difficulty finding work. I work with quite a few MAs who basically ended up in the role of CNA, yet they had to work harder and pay more for their certification as an MA. While the hours and work of an MA are easier usually, there is simply a never a shortage of CNA positions, while MA jobs are harder to come by. Also, MA programs are often more expensive and can foster unrealistic expectations (though I do also now some happily employed MAs as well). I am starting my LPN program in May (YAY!!!), and I am so glad I completed my CNA because while I don't want to continue work full time while in school, I can do PRN work, work part time or a bed sitting job or work whatever hours or shifts I choose that are offered by an agency. I think it's very good for newly graduated LPNs especially to have CNA experience because chances are they will be working somewhere in LTC, which is also where most CNAs end up working. Therefore new LPNs will be able to say they have substantial hands-on experience in LTC even if it is only their first LPN job. TY for posting!
  9. 1
    Quote from besaangel
    I did my CNA certification prior to going back to school for my RN. The knowledge I gained from the clinical training portion however, was indeed vital and made the first semester of school rather easy; as compared to an inexperienced nursing student. Quite a few of my classmates wished they had done this to gain prior insight into nursing but its not a detriment in either situation.

    Working as a Home health aide was agonizing and I hated it for the year I did it (if I stayed there, I probably would've given up on nursing altogether). The training though, was a great experience and I loved learning the fundamentals. But CNA work wasn't fulfilling for me.
    Yeah, I agree that CNA work can be quite thankless, boring and strenous. But it is a paycheck and it is experience that others entering the nursing field won't have under their belt. When I finish my nursing program, I'll be glad to put my CNA experience on my Resume. But also glad to never have to be one again hopefully!
    Workinghard123 likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from EsthyLady
    Yeah, I agree that CNA work can be quite thankless, boring and strenous. But it is a paycheck and it is experience that others entering the nursing field won't have under their belt. When I finish my nursing program, I'll be glad to put my CNA experience on my Resume. But also glad to never have to be one again hopefully!
    So true lol... I dont miss the $10/hr for 30 hrs/week and putting over 19k miles on my brand new car that year... but it did make me realize why I'll never settle for anything mediocre (that particular job/hours/mngr)

    Though, the take away is "EXP is exp" whether good or bad

    But in all honesty, I think I wouldnt hate being a CNA that much if I wasnt in HH because the PCTs here has it pretty good.


Top