Working as a CNA before nursing school?

Students Pre-Nursing


I was just wondering what you guys would advise? Are there any nurses who worked as a CNA before nursing school?

Also if I wanted to work in pediatrics at a local hospital - can I do that as a CNA? or will I not get hired there??

How much are you CNA's making in ohio??

Any information would be lovely!


138 Posts

I would love to get a PCT job in a hospital but I have to keep my full time job bc I am a single mom and make over $17 and hour. I have to be able to pay my bills but I do want to be employed but a hospital before I graduate. And I know both of the children's hospitals here hire CNA/PCT's.

I think in Missouri they make about $8 an hour


12 Posts

Thank you for your input! I appreciate it!

- Miss Magee

Specializes in Med/Surg.

I work as a nurse tech and unit clerk. I mostly do the unit clerk thing though. I have been working at my hospital for nine years, and have worked in healthcare as a nurse tech/CNA/unit clerk since 1996. The advantage of working as a CNA/PCT/nurse tech etc., is the experience. Also, most hospitals offer tuition reimbursment when seeking a career in healthcare. I would definitely go that route. It's even better if you have a teaching hospital or a hospital linked with a university nearby. You could get a job there and possibly get a discount and or reimbursement from them. I am lucky that my boss is willing to work with my schedule and school. I'm going into my 3rd week of my 1st year of nursing school. Thanks to my boss I am still able to work full time and got to school without passing out lol. If anything, you have a foot in the door on a possible job when you already work there. It's good to be able to cut your teeth in a familiar place. I've read where a few folks are graduating and are not able to find jobs.

Seriously, the experience is great. You will also have the chance to learn and practice in the actual setting. My co-workers are the bomb! They are so excited that I finally got into the program. They have been very helpful. They even bought me a Littmann stethoscope! The advantage of being a unit clerk is I can shadow the nurses when I'm not busy, which is most of the time. I work night shift. Definitely look into getting a job as a CNA, preferably in a hospital. You want to be in a place where you can get experience and learn and get a job in when you finish. You also want to always look into tuition reimbursement and other benefits they may offer. My hospital also offers scholarships. Keep in mind that most schools are requiring you to have health insurance. If I didn't have some through my job, I would have been in trouble. I'm in MD. So, I'm not sure what your CNAs make there. Here they usually start between $13 - $16 and hour plus possible shift differential, depending on experience of course. My main focus was paying as little as possible for school, having a place to practice when not in school, and having my foot in the door for a job when I finish. Good Luck!!


39 Posts

I am working in a hospital as a CNA, hoping to get into the program next Fall. A few colleges encourage future candidates to work as a CNA. I think it is great experience, as some people may realize it is not for them. I would say go for it you have nothing to lose! Good luck and here in Minnesota hospital CNAs make $10.51-21.00/hour depending on what area and experience.

I want to do the same thing - work as a CNA while I finish my pre-reqs and while a NS to get some experience and my foot in the door someplace. I can't help w/the salary thing b/c I'm in Florida and not employed as a CNA (nor do I know any here).


10 Posts

I worked as a CNA in a nursing home, and will recommend it to every nursing student out there. It made me realize nursing was for sure the right path for me.

In FL, starting CNAs in nursing homes make about $8.00-9.50.


85 Posts

I was thinking about going into being CNA while in nursing school also; but I get paid over $20 per hour working at a doctor's office so I don't know if it's financially worth it to me, although I could try to manage if I can work during the evenings. I think the CNAs here make at a minimum of $10 and up.


4,547 Posts

Specializes in critical care.

CNA experience before nursing school is honestly a great idea and you will truly benefit from it. Pediatrics will depend on your area. My local hospital literally sits empty of kids many shifts. If they have more than 2 or 3 kids, its a busy day. They don't keep CNAs on that floor. But if you're near a hospital that does acute care peds stuff, you may hit the jackpot.

allnurses Guide

Hygiene Queen

2,232 Posts

Why being a CNA first worked for me:

1) I was a known entity-- they knew my work ethic (which was excellent)

2) I became accustomed to the culture and saw with my own eyes how difficult nursing can be-- less culture shock for me when I got my RN

3) I received tuition reimbursement and a scholarship through work

4) Because of #1, I easily got a job in my hospital in my unit

CNA or PCT-- if you can do it, do it.

secquoria, CNA

109 Posts

Specializes in MedSurg, Tele, ER, ICU, Float.

Divatologist I'm so eager to get in your shoes. I'm a prenursing student in MD with hopes of a CNA/unit clerk position at either UMMC or Hopkins. I'm currently at Genesis with my first job as a GNA but the environment is toxic and disorderly. Did you have to take a PCT or unit clerk course before applying for your position in the hospital?


85 Posts

I totally understand the idea of networking while being a CNA - but can you make those same networks while in nursing school during Clinicals?

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