The Job Outlook is Bright for Certified Nursing Assistants
If you're thinking about becoming a CNA, or certified nursing assistant, the promise of excellent job security probably partly what attracts you to the position. Indeed, demand for CNAs is currently high. The question, though, is will it last? Happily, all signs indicate that CNAs will enjoy excellent job security through at least the next decade. Considering that people are always in need of medical care, odds are that this trend won't end anytime soon.
Current Job Outlook for CNAs
One only needs to look at statistics reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, to find evidence of CNAs' superior job security. According to the BLS, there are currently more than 1.5 million CNAs in the United States. Between 2012 and 2022, that figure is projected to increase by more than 321,000, which represents an increase of more than 21 percent. Clearly, opportunities in the field are expanding. If you become a CNA now, you can expect to have no trouble finding and holding onto a job.
Why is the Job Outlook So Bright for the CNA Profession?
Many factors have converged to make the CNA field one of the fastest growing in the country. A few especially relevant examples include:
- Aging Population - There are more than 76.4 million baby boomers, which makes it the largest population in recent memory. The generation includes people born between 1946 and 1964, so those at the older end of the scale are approaching their seventh decade. Right now, millions of baby boomers are becoming seniors, and they will require more and more care as they age. Nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities will need more CNAs on hand to manage the increased amount of work.
- Affordable Care Act - With the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, more Americans are insured than ever. That figure is expected to increase steadily over the next few years too. As more people become insured, more will have access to basic health care services. In turn, more CNAs will be needed to help treat them.
- Increased Rates of Chronic Illnesses - With more elderly people in the U.S. that any time in recent memory, instances of chronic illnesses and conditions like dementia will rise dramatically. People with Alzheimer's and other serious conditions require extensive care. Most facilities rely on CNAs to keep them comfortable and properly cared for, so it's little wonder that more jobs are opening up in the field.
- Retirement of Established CNAs - Many CNAs who have been in the workforce for years will retire in the next decade or so. Therefore, thousands of additional positions will open up around the country. In addition to the approximately 321,000 completely new positions that are projected, thousands of more openings will become available as CNAs retire.
- High Turnover Rates - Working as a CNA is rewarding but very challenging. Many people underestimate how taxing this kind of work can be. Some leave health care entirely, but most move forward to become RNs. High CNA turnover rates are the norm at most facilities, so it should never be too difficult to find work.
Whether you want to become a CNA as a stepping stone on your way to becoming an RN or if you plan to remain one throughout your career, the future of the profession looks bright. You can expect to enjoy exceptional job security now and long into the future.