After working hard to complete a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, program, studying for your certification exam, and passing it to earn your license, you may be a little unsure about what to do next. The obvious thing to do is to apply for jobs. However, if you've never applied for CNA jobs before, it can be pretty daunting. Furthermore, merely applying for jobs isn't your only option. Many people immediately proceed to work toward their RN licenses. By learning about what to do after earning your CNA license now, you'll be able to hit the ground running with your career as soon as you do.
Apply For CNA Jobs
Without question, the most common step people follow after earning their CNA licenses is to apply for jobs. In fact, many people choose to become CNAs first because they need to be gainfully employed as quickly as possible and want to work in the healthcare field.
If you need to find work as quickly as possible, a few viable ways to do so include:
- Get Recommendations - If you know people who work in the healthcare field, ask around about job opportunities for CNAs. It could very well be that someone you know works at a hospital or nursing home that is hiring CNAs at the moment. With a recommendation, you will get a head's up about what to expect from a particular workplace. Also, this is a good way to learn about places to avoid working. Don't forget to ask students and instructors from your CNA program for recommendations too.
- Perform Online Searches - Regardless of where you live, there are probably lots of job openings for CNAs in your area. The easiest way to find them is by searching online. There are websites that pull data from all of the most popular job boards, so you can quickly see all available postings in one place. Many sites also allow people to post reviews about specific employers and positions, which can be immensely helpful when looking for work as a CNA.
- Visit Employers in Person - Sometimes, the best way to find a job as a CNA is by simply pounding the pavement. Visit local hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and other facilities to not only see what they're like, but to ask if they are currently hiring. Oftentimes, this strategy will put you ahead of other applicants simply because you are able to interact directly with hiring managers. Even if you don't get work out of it, you'll gain insights into the most common work environments for CNAs.
After landing your first job as a CNA, focus on honing your skills. Even if you're not really happy with the job, stick with it for a while to gain experience. This will come in handy later when you apply for other jobs or even pursue more advanced career opportunities.
Pursue Advanced Nursing Career Opportunities
Like many, you may not intend to work as a CNA for long, but want to work toward becoming a licensed RN. With your CNA license and some work experience under your belt, you can investigate educational options like CNA-to-RN bridge programs and the like. You will work with RNs wherever you are, so you can ask them about their experiences in becoming licensed.
Don't think of earning your CNA license as an ending. It's really the beginning of an exciting career that can go in many different directions, so be sure to explore the many opportunities that are out there.