University of Wisconsin–Madison

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) is an entry-level position. Persons interested in health careers often begin as a CNA.
  • CNAs provide personal care to residents/patients of nursing homes, home care, hospitals, and other health agencies.
  • They accomplish a number of tasks to assist nursing and medical staff in the care of patients. They are responsible for attending to a patient’s everyday needs which may include turning or repositioning a patient in their bed, bathing or dressing, transporting a patient by gurney or wheelchair, taking blood pressures and temperatures, serving food, feeding, and maintaining patient’s hygiene.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • CNAs enjoy helping people.
  • Their work requires lifting and moving of residents/patients in bed and to and from chairs. They run the risk of injury/back problems.
  • Their job has a lot of walking and standing.

Getting Started

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2012 (Wisconsin): 35,450
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 1,492,100
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 1,754,100
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 18%
Expected Annual Openings: 59,900
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $26,478

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

  • CNAs usually work 40 hours per week.
  • Shift work can include evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays.
  • They can work full-time or part-time.
  • Advancement opportunities for nurses’ aides are often limited to pay raises with experience.
  • Some become ward clerks.
  • Others work independently and contract their services as Home Health Aides.
  • At North Central Technical College (NTC) and Mid-State Technical College (MSTC) experienced CNAs currently on the Federal Nursing Assistant Directory, can complete a 100-hour program to become a Medication Assistant allowing them to administer medication to residents of a skilled care nursing facility.
  • Registered Nurses in Wisconsin are now required to be Certified as a CNA before being admitted into a nurses training program.
  • Can specialize into specific areas of focus: Geriatric Nursing Assistant, assists in the personal and daily care of elder patients; Psychiatric Nursing Assistant, assists psychologists, psychiatrists and other staff to care for mentally or emotionally challenged patients.