CNA with bachelor's in biology cannot find job. What next?

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    Hello all,

    I graduated from Michigan State U with my bachelor's in human biology in 2012 and will be starting a 12 month BSN program at a MI public university next spring. My plan was to obtain my CNA license and gain experience while paying down debt until I start.

    The problem is that after applying to local hospitals and a few LTC's, I have not even gotten a single interview. The furthest I have gotten is having my references cleared and passed on to a few hiring managers at a local hospital. I have worked for almost 3 months as a resident aide in the dementia unit of a dilapidated assisted living facility. I love the residents and my coworkers are decent but getting $8/hr with the licensure I hold and educational background is demoralizing.

    My long term goal is to use my CNA experience to land an RN job after finishing my BSN and be the BEST grad nurse I can be, ultimately landing in the hospital.

    Right now I do not know where to turn. Should I redouble my efforts in the job search, apply to volunteer in the hospitals I would like to ultimately work, both or something else I haven't even considered yet?
    Blanca R likes this.
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  3. 13 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I'm not sure where you live, but where I'm from you make more money working in a hospital as a "patient care technician" (PCT) or "clinical partner". They help patients with activities of daily living like baths, ambulation, etc. They check blood sugars and do vital signs. I was a PCT during nursing school, and I had an offer from the hospital where I worked when I graduated. I chose to work PRN at my first job, making $12/hr with the ability to pick up as many shifts as I wanted. At my second PCT job I chose to work part-time instead of PRN and made 10.50/hr. This is in MO, and people here don't usually make as much as those in other states.

    Many hospitals also hire "student nurse technicians" which also do the same things as CNAs and PCTs. PCT positions don't require any schooling, they'll hire people off the street and train them. I'd consider looking for those positions in hospitals before giving up.
    man-nurse2b likes this.
  5. 0
    I agree with the above. I worked as a tech in the hospital during nursing school. The pay was terrific (we started at $15/hr), the schedules were flexible, and the experience was far better than you will get in a nursing home. Especially if you want to work in the hospital as an RN, I would definitely look at local hospitals!
  6. 4
    Quote from AdamMSU
    getting $8/hr with the licensure I hold and educational background is demoralizing.
    I have a degree in biology and I worked in the back of a department store picking up trash all day for $8. I had no problem with it because it was honest, hard work.

    Don't be so entitled.
    HouTx, glcx33, loriangel14, and 1 other like this.
  7. 7
    You are not licensed, you have a certificate.
    HouTx, glcx33, loriangel14, and 4 others like this.
  8. 2
    I had a BS in Biology AND a Masters in teaching when I got my CNA. I worked for $8-10/hr as a home health aide for 18 months while I got my ADN. You are working for experience not the money. I got my job because of my home health experience.

    If you have a job as an aide in a facility, keep it. Recruiters told me they look for longevity at a job, not necessarily the specific experience. They will teach what they want you to know after you are hired as an RN.
    HouTx and loriangel14 like this.
  9. 0
    I too live in Michigan. Are you in the Metro Detroit area?

    While I'm not surprised of your difficulty finding a position within a hospital (since everyone wants to work in one, especially in this economy), I am surprised that you're having difficulty finding something in LTC. Many LTC facilities have rapid turnover and are almost always hiring.

    I would keep trying in LTC, particularly facilities that are hospital affiliated. That way, after you get some experience you can internally transfer to the affiliated hospital. Good luck!
  10. 1
    CNA's are low paid even in hospitals some start at around $10/hr to only $15 max and most don't care that you have a degree. There is more than just nursing out there you could go for an ultrasound tech and make just as much under much better working conditions, a biology degree would be a perfect in for that program as more are requiring a BA/BS to weed people out. Also medical coder is another quick technical program although it doesn't make as much. There are various tech programs that pay better than a CNA such as OR tech or nuclear med tech. You could go for a physical therapy assistant or phlebotomist or respiratory therapist. Also PA school is another possibility or direct entry MSN NP. Anyway there is more out there than just to become an RN. Right now there is a glut of RN's in many places and it is difficult to get a job, not the shortage that is proclaimed everywhere.
    Last edit by brandy1017 on Aug 26, '13
    JeanettePNP likes this.
  11. 0
    Thank you for the correction.
  12. 0
    I too have no problem with honest hard work. An entitled person would sit at home wondering why no one was tossing a comfortable, high paying job with benefits onto their lap. I work an average of 60+ hours a week giving everything I can give to residents. There is nothing wrong with trying to figure out what more I should be DOING to move forward in my career.


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