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CNA worth it?


Looking for opinions/advice.

I am starting nursing school in two weeks. I'll be going part-time, working on my prereqs for the next year and half...wait listed to begin RN classes in 2010/2011...hoping to graduate in 2013.

This is a second career for me. I already have a BA (Business) and work as an executive assistant making nearly $17/hour (only 25 hrs/wk).

I recently learned that there is a Nursing Home 5 blocks from my house that will hire/train CNA's at their facility. From my understanding, you have to work for them for 4 months before eligible to take State Test (they facilitate all of that as well)...and then you are contracted to continue working for them for a set time period (I'm not sure how long). I'm pretty sure pay is around $10/11 per hour. But they also offer tuition reimbursement (a benefit I don't currently receive), and because they are such a large facility, I'm pretty sure their medical benefits are better/less costly than what I have right now.

I can't really afford the pay cut...but if I would be able to work nights, I could work 5 days/week (childcare would otherwise be an issue), and that would make up for the pay difference. But I hate to give up my 3 day work weeks. lol

Anyway...looking for opinions. Would it be worth it to receive the tuition assistance? Would the work experience as a STNA be beneficial as a new RN grad seeking employment? Any thoughts on the likelihood of working 3rd shift even while "in training"?

I hate to pester the HR guy until I'm pretty sure it's something I want to do. Help me decide...is it something I want to do? lol


fuzzywuzzy, CNA

Specializes in LTC. Has 3 years experience.

I guess you'll have to find out what exactly the tuition assistance is- how much they actually give you, and then do the math to figure out if it's worth the pay cut.

Also think about how nursing school is stressful and exhausting, and CNA work is stressful and exhausting- do you want to do that 5 days and 5 nights a week?

It might end up being better to take the class somewhere else like a community college (where you test before 4 months and you're not obligated to work for them afterwards), keep your day job, and work as a CNA on weekends or per diem.

I would not for any reason give up your current job. You make good money work the hours you want, and your going to school. The prev poster was right nursing school is exhausting and cna is exhausting. Unless you have to, don't put them together. I also agree if I were you I would get the cna from a comm college and then put in a shift here and there part time if you want the exp. But after your first semester of nursing school you can work as a cna so its time and money saved. Good Luck :)

I didn't realize that about being able to be CNA after first semester of nursing school. Thank you for the info/advise. I think I will hold off for now and see what I can find on a per diem basis a little further down the road.

You will have to watch it though. I am not a nurse but i know that some schools are now requiring you to be cna certified as a pre-reg. for nursing school. Just a heads up.

Thanks. The school I'm attending requires CNA for LPN students, but not for RN students.


Specializes in Case Manager, LTC,Staff Dev/NAT Instr. Has 12 years experience.

Thanks. The school I'm attending requires CNA for LPN students, but not for RN students.

I agree with the other posters nursing school is stressful enough and in a nursing home type settings the chaos of being short staffed is physically/mentally exhausting...any healthcare experience is helpful however the CNA/LPN/RN job descriptions are different, remain where you are and focus on your ultimate goal...becoming a nurse...best wishes:cool:


Specializes in Med/Surg/Ortho/Uro/Rehab CNA.

I would have to agree with the other posters. Although I am going to start the LPN program this fall and I will be working part time as a CNA, I already have 2yrs experience, I know what to expect from both school and work as a CNA and have for the most part figured out how to manage the stress of both worlds. I would not recommend beginning school and CNA work at the same time, personally that would set me up for burnout! :bugeyes:

Just to give my perspective I'm a new full time cna and I'm taking one class a quarter (pre-reqs) for rn school. I have school twice a week two hours after I get off work. Now when I start nursing school I only plan on working PART time as a cna. But taking one class and working full time as a cna isn't that bad for me. BUTTTT like everyone else says you already have a good paying job that works around your school schedule so I wouldn't change anything. Good luck to ya girly!

jb2u, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU, ER, Hemodialysis. Has 5 years experience.

I think it is a great idea for all lpn/rn's to work as cna's first. However, there are reasons why this is not possible. The biggest of which is the fact that the pay is low making working as a cna not possible for many with already high debt to income ratios.

I would not care about the tuition assistance in the nursing home unless you would like to work there after you get your RN. I worked in a nursing home that had free training. It was nice to not have to pay for a cna class, but I knew that I did not want to work there as an RN. After a year, I went to the hospital as a cna. I did take a scholarship from the hospital because I knew I wanted to work there after graduation. I also took the sign-on bonus.

You could work prn as a cna. This way you would get the "experience" without the time commitment. You could work just a couple of shifts a month!!!

As far as 3rd shift goes, I did it, but....DID NOT like it. making the transition from going to school during the day and trying to work at night was just too hard for me.

I wish you well!!!


I'm also in nursing school and just started a part time patient care tech position at a local hospital.....the hospital offered paid training and tuition reimbursement. Although the hospital experience is wonderful (many more learning opportunities than my previous nursing home job = ), I would definitely not take the job for the pay alone. I agree with everyone else....I'd definitely hang on to that good paying job. = ) Good luck in school!!

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