Higher education in any form, provides innumerable advantages to the graduate – from earning power, to cultural enrichment. Undergraduate degrees may be considered both priceless and pricey, and they don’t necessarily guarantee financial superiority. What they do firmly provide is a foundation. The same may be said of a CNA, but this path is far less risky, and eases a considerable financial burden associated with traditional college coursework. The advantages of pursuing a CNA certification over an undergraduate degree include:

  • Financial savings
  • Commensurate initial earnings
  • Broad range of high-level career paths
  • Variety of invaluable patient services

According to, the average college graduate can expect to make between $37,000 – 48,000 annually. The average salary for a newly certified CNA is between $18,000 – 35,000. 

The national average for one year of undergraduate schooling at a liberal arts university will cost the student between $9,000 – 32,000. 

The national average to complete a CNA certification is between $1,000 – 1,500. 

Becoming a CNA creates a great foundation, should you choose to follow a specialized nursing track. After achieving the CNA, many nurses advance to: 

  • Medical Assistant
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Registered Nurse 
  • Ambulatory Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse
  • ER Nurse
  • NICU Nurse
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • APRN
  • Nurse Anesthetist

While each nursing position above provides a proud, and well-paying career – the nursing professions toward the bottom of this list can also fetch up to six-figure salaries. To better illustrate the upward mobility of a CNA, please refer to the CNA “Nursing Ladder of Success”.

CNA’s provide a catalogue of invaluable patient services. Here is a glimpse from the wide variety of tasks experienced nurses perform:

  • Educating and caring for patients
  • Building rapport with patients, patients’ families and other clients
  • Supervising the quality of care delivered by other medical personnel such as licensed practical nurses, enrolled nurses, and unlicensed assistive personnel
  • Working with different patients, observing their behavior (diet, exercise and hygiene) and keeping clear records. Experienced Nurses can also specialize in one of the many possible fields such as cardiac care, , dermatology or neurologic care
  • Performing medical histories, physical exams, signs and symptoms evaluation, and diagnostic tests
  • Administering treatments, medications, wound care and many different forms of interventions
  • Establishing and reviewing effective treatment plans, interpreting patient information, operating medical equipment, and making critical decisions on necessary actions
  • Conducting research to find new and creative ways of delivering quality care, better nursing practice and patient outcomes

CNA’s comprise a proud portion of the medical community, and in choosing this career path, you are joining a collective of learned, civic-minded people. This community will shift and take on new shapes as the CNA’s career grows, but it will be omni-present – ever-available to assist, and to guide. Above all the aforementioned tidings the CNA certification carries, it is the forever approachable medical community you’ll belong to, that may be the greatest advantage of the CNA.