Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Job Description

CNA job description

  • On average, Certified Nursing Assistants make around $11.50 per hour
  • Many CNAs often decide to pursue careers as a Registered Nurse
  • There will continue to be good job opportunities for CNAs

What do CNAs do?

Maybe you're thinking about a career in nursing but you're not quite ready to take the plunge. Maybe you've always known that nursing is where your heart is. Either way, a certified nursing assistant job can be a great choice.

Nursing aides often work directly with patients, under the supervision of an experienced medical staff, to tend to their patients' immediate medical needs. Many of the medical requirements of the job like taking temperature or blood pressure require specialized training on technique, but not all of them. Nursing assistants also assist patients with routine activities such as getting out of bed or assisting with meals.

Video – How to Become A CNA

How much do CNAs make?

The average hourly pay for all Certified Nursing Assistants is about $11.50 per hour, but will vary by experience and location. Experienced Certified Nursing Assistants can earn up to $19 per hour.

Education requirements

To be a Certified Nursing Assistant you'll need at least a high school education or GED to complete the federally regulated requirements. All CNAs must finish at least 75 hours of a training course approved by the state, and pass a test to prove the mastery of the material covered in the class. Once you complete the requirements, you're listed on a state registry of approved nursing aides. Sometimes individual states have additional requirements, so you'll also want to check what those are in your area.

Learn more about how to become a certified nursing assistant.

Career paths for CNAs

Many people who work as Certified Nursing Assistants choose to complete additional education certifications to become registered nurses (RN) or licensed practical nurses (LPN). A career as a CNA can be an excellent entry-level position to gain real-life nursing experience.

The future of CNAs

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects above average growth for Certified Nursing Assistant positions and will correspond to growth in population over the 2008-2018 decade. Because hospitals are constantly being pressured to release patients earlier and earlier by insurance companies, patients are being discharged to nursing facilities. The staffing needs of these types of facilities will drive job growth for CNAs.

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Nurse Job Description

  • Nurse job description60 percent of registered nurses work in hospitals.
  • There are more than 2.6 million nurses in the United States.
  • On average, registered nurses make $62,000 a year.

What do nurses do?

It ain't just fluffing pillows and waiting on doctor's orders. Jobs in nursing demand a lot of the same things as physician jobs do - and then some.

Nursing jobs require not only treating patients who are sick and injured, but also offering advice and emotional support to patients and their families, taking care of paperwork (lots and lots of paperwork), helping doctors diagnose patients and providing advice and follow-up care.

That's right, there's a lot more to nursing than meets the eye. It's one of the hardest and most emotionally draining jobs out there, but it can be incredibly rewarding. There aren't many jobs out there were you can actually save someone's life, but this is one of them. Got a weak stomach? Then consider a different career, my friend. Working as a nurse means having to deal with terribly sick people - and that often involves various bodily fluids (yuck).

How much do nurses make?

Registered nurses who work at hospitals make $63,000 a year, on average. Those who choose to work at nursing homes or with a home healthcare service make around $58,000. That's pretty good money, right? We hate to be cheesy, but the real reward is the feeling you'll get by helping those who need you.

Education requirements

If you want to be a nurse, you've got a good bit of education in your future. Seriously, do you want someone doing a tracheal intubation on you if they don't know what they're doing?

The two most common ways to become a registered nurse are to get a bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) or an associate's degree in nursing (ADN). A BSN takes about four years to complete at a college or university. An ADN program at a community or junior college takes about two to three years. After finishing one of these programs you'll also have to pass an exam given by your local licensing board.

Career paths for nurses

Most nurses start out as staff nurses at a hospital. Once you master the art of reading a doctor's handwriting you could move on to a better shift or a shift management role. After that, nurses can advance to assistant unit manager or head nurse. Get an advanced degree and you could find yourself as an assistant director, director, vice president, or chief of nursing.

The future of nurse jobs

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), job opportunities for nurses are growing at a better than average pace. Job prospects will be the best for nurses who choose to work in doctors' offices. They also project that there will be solid opportunities available in nursing and assisted living homes, especially as the baby boomers age.

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Massage Therapist Job Description

Massage therapist job descriptionInterested in a job that lets you spend your work hours bathed in soothing music, soft lighting and scented oils? Massage therapy offers some pretty sweet and exotic working conditions: flexible hours, calm work environments and a job that is focused entirely on relaxation and health.

Massage therapists manipulate the muscles and soft tissues of their clients to produce relaxation, improved health and other benefits. There are over 80 different types of massage, and many therapists specialize in more than one. Building a client base is vital, and while there are limited opportunities for advancement within the massage therapy industry, successful therapists build loyal clientele and raise their prices over time as demand for their services increase.

Job skills & requirements

Education: Most states require massage therapists to be licensed to practice. Massage therapy licensing varies from state to state, but if you live near a metropolitan area there is likely a trade school that could allow you to pursue certification.

Stamina: You're in contact (literally) with all sorts of clients, and many people are initially very uncomfortable with the process of massage therapy. Having a strong sense of compassion and great customer service skills is vital to enabling clients to feel comfortable and ultimately building a strong pool of customers that will support your salary.

Empathy: You'll need to keep up and pull your weight (and then some) day after day. Make sure you're physically up to the task before you sign up!

Hours: Since massage therapists must take breaks between sessions to avoid injury, and many drive to appointments (which means additional time for setting up a massage table or chair) working between 15-30 hours is considered full time. Many people work part time as massage therapists to supplement their income. Hours depend almost entirely on your client base: therapists for retirement homes, vacation spas and professional athletes may find they are busiest during the day; people who make their money massaging office workers and amateur sports players will likely be booked up after normal work hours and on weekends.

Dress the Part: For an interview, suit up - but bring a comfortable change of clothes in case you are asked to demonstrate your skills. Spas and clinics will probably have a dress code; in other work environments you may find that loose-fitting pants and shirts are standard work wear.

Job Myth

“Why do I have to get certified? I give a pretty mean back rub.”

In your circle of friends you might be to go-to person for sore necks or strained backs, but even then there are tons of things you need to learn before you become a professional massage therapist. How do you set up a massage table? How can you stop to get more oil without ever taking a hand off your client? (Tip: few things are less relaxing than being facedown with your eyes closed, and having no idea whether your massage therapist has wandered off somewhere. A good massage therapist will probably keep in physical contact so that doesn't happen.) Do you know about deep tissue Swedish massage? Hot stone therapy? Prenatal massage?


Then head off to massage therapy school, and hone that gift for giving a mean foot massage into something that can earn you a comfortable living.

Career Paths

  • Salon Manager (Averages $36,000 annually)

Similar Positions

Cosmetologist, Certified Nursing Assistant

Extra Perks

  • Staying active - This job will keep you on the move throughout the day
  • Self-employment potential

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Pharmacist assistant

Pharmacist assistant job descriptionPharmacy aides help licensed pharmacists with administrative duties in running a pharmacy. Aides often are clerks or cashiers who primarily answer telephones, handle money, stock shelves, and perform other clerical duties. They work closely with pharmacy technicians, and refer any questions regarding prescriptions, drug information, or health matters to a pharmacist. Responsibilities may also include:

  • Establish and maintain patient profiles
  • Prepare insurance claim forms
  • Stock and take inventory of prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Clean pharmacy equipment, help with the maintenance of equipment and supplies
  • Manage the cash register

Accurate record keeping is necessary to help avert a potentially dangerous drug interaction. Because many people have medical insurance to help pay for the prescription, it is essential that pharmacy aides efficiently and correctly correspond with the third-party insurance providers to obtain payment.

Working conditions

  • Pharmacy aides work in clean, organized, well-lighted and well-ventilated areas.
  • Most of their workday is spent on their feet.
  • They may be required to lift heavy boxes or to use stepladders to retrieve supplies from high shelves.
  • Aides work the same hours that pharmacists work. These include evenings, nights, weekends, and some holidays. Because some hospital and retail pharmacies are open 24 hours a day, aides may work varying shifts. There are many opportunities for part-time work in both retail and hospital settings.

Training, qualifications and advancement

  • Most pharmacy aides receive informal on-the-job training, but employers favor those with at least a high school diploma.
  • Prospective pharmacy aides with experience working as a cashier may have an advantage when applying for jobs.
  • Employers also prefer applicants with strong customer service and communication skills and experience managing inventories and using a computer.
  • Aides entering the field need strong spelling, reading, and mathematics skills.
  • Successful pharmacy aides are organized, dedicated, friendly, and responsible.
  • Candidates interested in becoming pharmacy aides cannot have prior records of drug or substance abuse.
  • Teamwork is very important because aides are often required to work with technicians and pharmacists.
  • Pharmacy aides almost always are trained on the job.
  • To become a pharmacy aide, one should be able to perform repetitious work accurately. Advancement usually is limited, although some aides may decide to become pharmacy technicians or to enroll in pharmacy school to become pharmacists.


  • In most cases, benefits are offered only to full time-employees.

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Home Health Aide Job Description

Job description for home health aidesJob highlights

  • On average, home health aides make around $10 per hour
  • You will need certification for most home health aide positions
  • Job opportunities will grow by 50 percent over the next ten years

Home health aides care for physically, mentally or emotionally ill or injured people who wish to receive care in the comforts of their own home. Under the supervision of medical staff, home health aides administer oral medications, check pulse, respiration and blood pressure rates, keep rooms neat, and help patients move, dress and bathe. You should also be prepared to give massages and alcohol rubs on sore muscles, change dressings to cover wounds and sores, and assist with braces and artificial limbs. Patients may be recently discharged from the hospital and only need short-term care, or require extensive care that friends and family are unable to provide.

What are the working conditions?

Hours vary depending on patients' needs, especially those who need around-the-clock care. Most home health aides work a regular 40-hour work week, but some work weekends, nights and holidays. This job requires strength, both physically and emotionally. Work days consist of long hours on your feet and possible heavy lifting, as well as the emotional stress of working with the sick and elderly. Aides should take every measure to prevent the transmission of minor infections and major diseases, such as hepatitis.

This profession may have appeared on an episode of "Dirty Jobs " because aides are usually required to empty bed pans and change soiled bed sheets. Patients may also be unpleasant, disoriented or irritable at times. However, even with the demanding nature of this job, it is extremely rewarding--many aides gain great satisfaction in knowing they have truly helped those in need.

Home health aides may go to the same patient's home for months or even years, but most aides work with several different patients, sometimes on the same day. They generally work alone with periodic visits from their supervisor, so you need to be OK with working alone with the patient. Aides are given detailed instructions on how to care for each individual and are expected to follow them accordingly. They are responsible for getting to patients' homes on their own and may spend much of their day travelling, so you might want to trade your pick-up for a hybrid if you're getting into this line of work.

What skills do I need and how can I get promoted?

In many cases, you don't need a college degree or a high school diploma hanging on your wall for a job as a nursing, psychiatric or home health aide. However, hospitals may require you to have training and experience. Nursing care facilities often require workers without experience to complete at least 75 hours of training and pass an exam within four months of getting hired.

Applicants should be patient, tactful, friendly, emotionally stable and genuinely want to help those who need it. They should be willing to perform all required tasks, no matter how unpleasant, and have good communication skills. Home health aides should be honest and dependable, since they are being trusted to work in a patient's private home. If you're looking to move up in the medical field, you will generally need additional medical training and education. Luckily for all you high school and college students out there, you don't have to cut class to earn a paycheck--the evening and weekend hours give you the opportunity to work during the school year.

Show me the money!

Health benefits, paid vacation, sick-leave and pension plans are available to many hospital and some nursing care employees. Often times, home health care workers are not paid for their travel expenses or the time they spend driving in-between jobs, so you might want to put "gas card" on your holiday wish list this year. Most employers hire on-call workers only and provide no benefits to their employees.

Wages vary depending on location and job description. Check out our wage calculator for more specific information on pay for this job in your neck of the woods.

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Dental assistant

Job description for dental assistantDental assistants perform a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory duties, and often work chair-side as dentists examine and treat patients. They make patients as comfortable as possible in the dental chair, prepare them for treatment, and obtain their dental records. Assistants hand instruments and materials to dentists and keep patients' mouths dry and clear by using suction or other devices, and also sterilize and disinfect instruments and equipment, prepare trays of instruments for dental procedures, and instruct patients on postoperative and general oral health care.

Some dental assistants prepare materials for impressions and restorations, take dental x rays, and process x-ray film as directed by a dentist. Helps with office duties schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, keep treatment records, send bills, receive payments, and order dental supplies and materials.

Dental assistants should not be confused with dental hygienists, who are licensed to perform different clinical tasks.

Working conditions

  • Dental assistants work in a well-lighted, clean environment.
  • Their work area usually is near the dental chair so that they can arrange instruments, materials, and medication and hand them to the dentist when needed.
  • Dental assistants must wear gloves, masks, eye wear, and protective clothing to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases.
  • Following safety procedures also minimizes the risks associated with the use of x-ray machines.
  • About half of dental assistants have a 35- to 40-hour workweek, which may include work on Saturdays or evenings.

Training, qualifications and advancement

  • Most assistants learn their skills on the job, although an increasing number are trained in dental-assisting programs.
  • Assistants must be a second pair of hands for a dentist; therefore, dentists look for people who are reliable, can work well with others, and have good manual dexterity.
  • Most States regulate the duties that dental assistants are allowed to perform through licensure or registration. Licensure or registration may require passing a written or practical examination.
  • Certification is available through the Dental Assisting National Board and is recognized or required in more than 30 States.
  • In addition, applicants must have current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • Without further education, advancement opportunities are limited. Some dental assistants become office managers, dental-assisting instructors, or dental product sales representatives. Others go back to school to become dental hygienists. For many, this entry-level occupation provides basic training and experience and serves as a steppingstone to more highly skilled and higher paying jobs.


  • According to the American Dental Association, almost all full-time dental assistants employed by private practitioners received paid vacation time. The ADA also found that 9 out of 10 full-time and part-time dental assistants received dental coverage.
  • Benefits vary substantially by practice setting and may be contingent upon full-time employment.

Doctor Job Description

Doctor job description, salary and other info

  • On average, primary care physicians make around $186,000 per year
  • Doctors spend up to 16 years in school and training

What do doctors do?

Paging Dr. *insert your name here*.

That has a certain ring to it, doesn't it? If you're looking to get into medicine, you've got a lot of school ahead of you. A physician, or M.D. (Medical Doctor), has the option of training in a number of different areas including family practice, pediatrics and surgery.

Most general practitioners and internists work in small family practices, while specialists like cardiologists and anesthesiologists work for hospitals. Hospital physicians work long, irregular hours (nearly half work over 50 hours a week).

How much do doctors make?

The average salary for all primary care physicians is about $186,000 per year. Doctors who specialize in a particular medical field typically need additional training, and thus earn higher salaries. Specialists, on average, earn over $339,000 per year.

What are the education requirements to be a doctor?

Not a fan of school? Go ahead and cross doctor off your list, because a career as a doctor is going to take up to 16 years of schooling. Yes, 16 years. That breaks down into four years of undergraduate work (usually in pre-medicine, biology, chemistry or something similar), four years of medical school and up to eight years of internship, residency and fellowship. Medical schools are highly competitive and require top grades and testing scores to be accepted.

After school, all doctors must pass the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) and receive board certification after residency. Board certification is issued by the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS).

Career paths for doctors

Most advancement for doctors happens during their education and training. After completing medical school, doctors enter into residencies which last 3 to 8 years depending on specialty. Doctors in hospital settings can oversee teams of other doctors, train residents and even reach the level of hospital directors.

The future of doctors

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects steady growth in doctor positions over the 2008-2018 decade. Because many physicians are anticipated to retire over the next few years, job opportunities will remain steady, especially in low-income and rural areas. Any doctors who service infirmities for elderly patients, like cardiologists or oncologists, will also see increased job opportunities.