CNA or not to CNA


I like to keep things simple and direct so here goes... I am currently a student in an AS RN program. I work a non-healthcare related job that pays well. Our instructors have mentioned that we can work as nurse techs after fundamentals. Is it worth leaving my current employment and taking a substantial pay cut(likely about 50%) to gain the experience and networking a nurse tech job would provide?



Double-Helix, BSN, RN

1 Article; 3,377 Posts

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 12 years experience.

Can you swing a per diem CNA position in addition to your current job?

Ask your instructors how job prospects have been for the recent graduating classes. Did they all find work relatively quickly, or are many of them still searching? Only you can decide if the pay cut is worth it, but if your job prospects are generally good and new grads are finding positions fairly easily, then I'd be more comfortable staying in your current job. If new grads are having trouble finding work, then the networking and foot-in-the-door” benefits of a CN job may be worth the pay cut.


482 Posts

No way. Stay with your current job. Sure, being a CNA has its benefits, but it definitely is not worth taking that much of a pay cut.


12 Posts

I'd say no.

I wouldn't take a significant pay cut, which would probably mean working more. I'd rather focus on my studies.

Clinicals are great for networking, so are your professors. Definitely let them know your career goals or desired specialty.


24 Posts

I appreciate the input. I should note that I do have some networking possibilities via my current job as we do business for a couple local hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. I also may have a connection with a hospital group CEO, but I barely know him(family connection) and part of me feels it would be very rude to discuss him helping me be employed at one of his hospitals. I also don't know how involved he is in the hiring process of nurses at his level as well.


38,333 Posts

Sounds as if you are well set-up in your current situation. Don't rock the boat at this point for an opportunity that may never show itself.

ComeTogether, LPN

1 Article; 2,167 Posts

Specializes in Keeping my head above water. Has 8 years experience.

Working as a CNA can really give you exposure to all kinds of things you otherwise won't experience until you're a nurse. It also gives you some insight into how difficult of a job being a CNA really is.

I wouldn't quit the job you have now, but if you could pick up one or two shifts a month PRN I would do it.

Has 6 years experience.

I agree with glycerine. I'm currently working in a CNA type position and it has exposed me to a lot of situations. They float me all over the hospital and I've learned where I don't want to be and where I do want to be. The nurses are usually eager to teach me new things, explain why they're doing what they're doing and so on. I didn't pick up this job for the money because frankly I would rather not work during nursing school, but I took the job for the experience. As for the financial part, only you can decide if you can manage with a pay cut.


22 Posts

Depending on what state you live in there may be a requirement to work as a CNA. So I would check there first. Here in NC, you have to be a CNA before you can become a RN, but you only have to have worked for a total of 8 hours (paid) time. So with that said, I would maybe try working one or two shifts as a CNA just for the experience.


17 Posts

Another thing you might want to consider is that a lot of CNA jobs require physical work that is extremely draining because of the physical demand it puts on your body. It can wear you out, especially if you'd be working in an assisted living facility. I also agree with the comment above about asking your current instructors about their students in the job market. I think that's a super helpful idea. Good luck whatever you decide.