People choose to become Certified Nursing Assistants because of the fast training period, the reliability of the job market, and the fulfilling nature of helping others. But there are other jobs that have all of these qualities and offer better pay. If you considered becoming a CNA for any of those reasons, you should think about all your options. The healthcare field is booming across the country and there are hundreds of different ways to start reaping some of the rewards of a medical career.
Pharmacy Technician – $28,500 per year
Pharmacy technicians are responsible for dispensing medication and customer service at pharmacies. They make an average salary that is $4,000 more than CNAs. The only educational requirement to begin working as a pharmacy technician is a high school diploma or GED. Most pharmaceutical assistants receive on the job training.
Medical Assistant – $29,000 per year
Medical assistants have a wide range of responsibilities in a healthcare setting. They can be employed at a wide range of private medical offices. In some businesses, they are required to handle administrative tasks like answering phones and filing insurance claims. At others, they are needed to assist physicians with medical assessments and minor procedures like taking a blood sample or measuring vital signs. They make an average salary that is $5,000 more than CNAs. To work as a medical assistant, you at least need a high school diploma or GED. There are also accredited certifications like CMA, RMA, NCMA and CCMA that will prove to employers that you have the skills needed to get the job done.
Dental Assistant – $33,500 per year
Dental assistants are employed at dental offices to help dentists perform routine procedures and keep the office running smoothly. They can be responsible for a wide range of duties, from prepping patients to cleaning dental tools. They make an average salary that is almost $10,000 more than CNAs. To become a dental assistant, you need to have a high school diploma or GED and in some states, a certification called CDA.
Licensed Practical Nurse / Licensed Vocational Nurse – $40,000 per year
Licensed practical nurses are one step above CNAs in the nurse hierarchy. You must complete a practical or vocational nursing degree from an accredited nursing school or college, which takes one or two years. LPNs make an average salary that is over $15,000 more than CNAs. They are a highly demanded member of the healthcare team and handle a wider range of responsibilities than CNAs because they require less supervision.