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A Closer Look - Who are the Certified Nursing Assistants

Certified Nursing Assistants Employed in Nursing Homes


Did you know that there are more than 600,000 Certified Nursing Assistants providing personal care, assistance with daily activities, and clinical support for 1.4 million nursing home residents nationwide in the US.

Who are the Certified Nursing Assistants?

More than 9 in 10 CNAs are women.
Most are under age 45. The median age is 36.
Twenty percent of were born outside of the United States. Over 90 percent are U.S. citizens.
Half of nursing assistants have completed no formal education beyond high school.
The Career of the Certified Nursing Assistant

  • There are 15,600 nursing homes that house 1.4 million residents
  • Nearly all nursing home residents require some form of assistance with activities of
       daily living. Nursing assistants provide most of this assistance.
  • Certified Nursing assistants outnumber any other occupation employed in nursing homes by a factor of at least three to one. The number of nursing assistants, 612,000, has remained relatively constant over the past 10 years.
  • CNAs spend more time than any other nursing staff assisting residents, providing a median of 2.4 hours of hands-on care per resident.  They are often the first to observe changes in resident condition and report these changes to licensed nursing staff.
  • Nursing assistant jobs are primarily government-funded. Of the industry’s $116 billion in annual revenue, 73 percent is paid for by public programs, primarily Medicare and Medicaid.
  • More than half of nursing assistants work part time or for part of the year.

Future Demand for Certified Nursing Assistant

  • From 2014 to 2024, nursing assistants will contribute more to nursing home
      employment growth than any other occupation. Of total employment growth   
      across the industry, new nursing assistant jobs will comprise 39 percent.
  • In 2012, 47,300 open nursing assistant positions at nursing homes went unfilled, more than double the number of vacancies for registered nurses and licensed professional nurses combined.