How to Become a Nursing Aide / Assistant

Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you depends on the industry and company you apply for. Those looking for an entry positions may want to get an certificate in medical assisting and pass a state-approve competency exam. If you are looking to get into a competitive or advance position, then a associate’s degree can be useful in helping you stand out during the hiring process.

Start your career path today by signing up for free information from one of our accredited colleges below that offer programs to help get you started as a nursing assistant.

How Much Does a Nursing Assistant Make?

(*national median salary, see “Best Places to Work” for salaries in your state)

Expected growth from 2012-2020:
+321,200 additional people employed

Specialization Options:

Nursing Aides are employed in a variety of healthcare settings, both independent and institutional. Among the available specialties are, Nursing Assistant, Home Health Aide, Caregiver Personal Care Aide, Personal Care Attendant, Personal Care Assistant, Companion Care Provider, Nursing Home Aides

(all information above provided by the BLS)

Discover the Best Places to Become a Nursing Assistant

Employment for nursing assistants is projected to grow 21% over the next ten years, faster than the national average for all occupations. Currently, New York and California offer the highest wages in the field, coming in around $30,000 for a mean annual salary. Yet, the states of Florida and Pennsylvania have more opportunities for employment, with nearly 12 of each 1,000 jobs in each state being in the nursing assistant role.

Employment and Salary Information by State for Nursing Assistants

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in Nurse Assisting.

Employment and Information Data for Nurse Assisting

Why Become a Nursing Aide or Assistant?

Nursing aides, also called medical assistants or nursing assistants, are responsible for assisting other healthcare professionals to ensure that the needs of the patient are met. Because of the growing elderly population, many nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants will be needed in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.

Nursing aides and assistants provide basic care for patients in hospitals and residents of care facilities. Typical duties include: cleaning and bathing residents, helping patients use restroom facilities, reposition and assist in wheelchair use, report health concerns, measure vital signs, serving meals, providing care and attention and build patient relationships. This is a position that requires patience, dedication, attention and helping to make the patient feel comfortable.

Being a nursing assistant is also a great first step on your path to a more advance nursing career like registered nursing, nursing midwife, or licensed practical nurse. Nursing aides work as part of a larger team of specialists and report to vocational nurses or registered nurses.

Recommended Courses to Help You Become a Nursing Assistant

  • Home Health Aide Theory
  • Intro to Hospice Nursing
  • Nursing Assistant I
  • Nursing Assistant II
  • Medical Aide
  • Advanced Nurse Aid Clinical

Degrees for Nurse Assisting Careers

A degree in nursing assistance is the quickest way to start a career in the medical industry. Most healthcare institutions and hospitals require you to become certified with an accredited program, as well as passing a licensing exam. After earning a degree in nursing assisting, you will be in a position to continue your education and become and LPN, RN, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner.

Nursing Aide Associate of Applied Science
An Associate of Applied Science is typically a two year program which prepares students for entry level positions in the nursing industry. This curriculum provides knowledge, skills and strategies to provide safe and valuable care in a variety of nursing settings. Course work expands upon the domains of healthcare, nursing practice, and individual care. Classes emphasize the nurse as a member of the interdisciplinary team providing specialized care while taking the first step to a career in the medical community.

Nurse Aide Certificate
This program is designed to give graduates the skills required for an entry-level position within a number of different care facilities.  This certificate typically requires 3-6 months to complete and will give you the general knowledge to launch a career in the nursing profession.