How to Hire a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Why Hire a Certified Nursing Assistant?

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are the foundation of nursing teams, and with an ever-increasing population of older adults, they are only going to become more important. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects CNA employment to grow by 8%, and that’s just by 2030. While Nursing Assistant positions are generally entry-level, that doesn’t mean you can afford to hire just anyone. They are the nursing team members who will spend the most amount of time with patients. Because of that, they will need to have excellent interpersonal and customer service skills in addition to their medical knowledge.

Whether you’re a hospital, rehab center, senior living home, or even a family hiring a private CNA for your household, this guide will help you make the most informed decisions and enable you to hire the best Nursing Assistant.

Hiring a Nurse
Highest Education Level
CNAs offer the following education background
  • Vocational Degree or Certification (24.2%)
  • Bachelor's Degree (23.5%)
  • High School or GED (23.1%)
  • Associate's Degree (17.6%)
  • Master's Degree (6.9%)
  • Some College (2.1%)
  • Doctorate Degree (1.4%)
  • Some High School (1.1%)
Average Work Experience
Here's a breakdown of the years of experience offered by CNAs
  • Less than 1 year (54.8%)
  • None (26.7%)
  • 1-2 years (15.7%)
  • 8-10 years (2.8%)

Qualifications to Look for When Hiring a Nursing Assistant

Within the nursing hierarchy, Nursing Assistants are directly supervised by Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), who report to and work under Registered Nurses (RNs). CNAs perform the day-to-day tasks that keep the facility running and the patients comfortable. In most cases, Nursing Assistants do not require an advanced degree. However, there is one thing required of every Certified Nursing Assistant: their CNA training certificate. (Additional training may be required depending on your state.)

The Nursing Assistant Certification Exam tests CNA-hopefuls on both the medical knowledge and specific skills needed to perform their duties. If a candidate has their CNA certification, you can be assured they know what they’re doing. Remember though, that’s only one part of the puzzle.

CNAs are key liaisons between the patients and the medical staff, so solid communication and customer service skills are a must. Many of their duties involved helping patients perform activities of daily living, like bathing, walking, and elimination, so they should feel comfortable with those aspects of the job as well. Being able to assist patients with a smile separates the best CNAs from the rest.

Finally, while experience is always desirable, this is an entry-level position – most applicants will only have one year of experience (or less). That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. You will be able to train them in your facility’s methods easily.

Take a look at this sampling of skills, education, and training your candidates should possess, including those trending on iHireNursing.

Average Salary for a Nursing Assistant

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a Nursing Assistant is just above $30,000. That number may need to go up or down depending on any additional certifications the candidate has and your type of facility (e.g., a hospital or private nursing home).

  • United States

**Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Nursing Assistant salaries vary significantly by location, so use our free Salary Research Tool to determine a fair salary in your area.  

Nurse Salary

Sample Nursing Assistant Job Ad

Hiring in the healthcare industry is tough, even for CNAs. You need to be able to attract and retain the best applicants out there, and your job ad can make or break what kind of applicants you receive. The following sample Nursing Assistant job ad will get you started, and feel free to modify it to fit your needs. While this only covers responsibilities and requirements, don’t forget to include any attractive benefits your company offers, like flexible scheduling or growth opportunities. And remember to keep the basics of what makes a great job ad in mind.


Certified Nursing Assistant

ABC Nursing Home is looking for a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to join our nursing staff and provide quality healthcare to our patients in Frederick, Maryland. You will work with LPNs and other nursing staff to care for patients, ensure they are comfortable, and to assist them with daily living activities. You will have the opportunity to form 1-on-1 relationships with patients and connect with them each day.

A high school diploma or GED is required, along with a current Nursing Assistant certification. A professional and compassionate attitude, as well as effective communication skills are keys to success in this role.


Job Responsibilities

  • Answer patient calls
  • Turn or reposition patients in bed
  • Bathe patients
  • Assisting patients with elimination
  • Feeding patients, measuring and recording their food and liquid intake
  • Taking blood pressure, temperature, and other vital signs
  • Documenting patient information for LPNs and RNs
  • Cleaning rooms and bed linens
  • Stocking supplies
  • Preparing rooms for admissions


Requirements & Qualifications

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Nursing Assistant certification
  • Valid driver’s license and access to a vehicle
  • Stellar interpersonal and communication skills
  • CPR/First Aid


Nurse walking

Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring a Nursing Assistant

The interview questions you ask your Nursing Assistant candidates should help you determine if they have the right disposition for the job. You can ask some questions about their medical knowledge, but the Nursing Assistant certification should speak for itself. Instead, asking behavioral or situational questions will give you a better glimpse of how they will perform and get along with patients and other nurses. Use these questions to get you started:

  • What inspired you to become a certified nursing assistant?
  • Describe a time that you had to deal with an uncooperative patient.
  • What are the steps you’d take when you enter a patient's room?
  • Describe a time you disagreed with a nurse or other CNA about patient care.
  • What types of medical equipment and software do you feel comfortable using?
  • How do you manage high-pressure situations?
  • How do you prioritize patients when managing several at a time?
  • Give me an example of a time when you collaborated with other medical staff members.
  • How would you handle a patient with dementia who says they hear or see something that’s not there?
  • What are the most important aspects of this job?


Start your search for qualified talent on iHireNursing


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