Certified Nursing Assistant

What comes after CNA?

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Congratulations! You're a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and you've just completed your training. Whether you're interested in working in a hospital or clinic setting or you want to go further in your career with more education and certification, there are many options out there for you. Here are some options as to what you can do next:

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You can continue working as a CNA

Most Dreambound students kickstart their careers in senior living or assisted living facilities, gaining valuable experience and honing their caregiving skills. After six months to a year, many graduates move on to hospitals or staffing agencies, where the pace is faster and the demand for experienced professionals is high. This transition not only allows you to advance your skillset but also opens doors to new and exciting opportunities.

If you're looking for a more adventurous path, becoming a travel CNA might be the perfect fit for you. Dreambound alumni have successfully pursued this route, allowing them to explore different locations while providing top-notch care to patients in need.

Other licenses

Furthermore, acquiring additional licenses, such as becoming a Medication Aide or Phlebotomy Technician, can open doors to new job roles and higher pay grades. Employers value individuals who invest in their education, as it showcases dedication, commitment, and a willingness to go above and beyond. Continuous learning not only enhances job prospects but also provides a sense of personal fulfillment, allowing CNAs to make a meaningful impact in the lives of those they care for. Here are some ideas about licenses that you can acquire after becoming a CNA:

  • Qualified Medication Aides: QMAs, also called QMAPs in some states, are CNAs with additional certifications that allow them to administer medication to patients and ensure that all prescriptions are filled correctly. Medication Aides must also be able to communicate with doctors and nurses about any concerns about patients’ symptoms or reactions to medication. You must have your CNA license before your QMA, and CNAs typically need to work at least six months before beginning their medication aide class, and the QMA certificate typically brings a small pay bump of $1-2/hr.

  • Phlebotomists: They draw blood from patients for medical testing, such as in a hospital or doctor's office. They are trained to collect blood in a safe and timely manner with proper protection against cross-contamination, as well as all other safety procedures. There is no CNA requirement to become a phlebotomist, but many CNAs pursue phlebotomy after their CNA. The phlebotomy certificate typically brings another small pay bump of $3-4/hr above CNA.

  • Medical Assistants (MA): are expected to do a variety of duties, including taking blood pressure readings, administering medication, and assisting in procedures like the administration of injections. They may also be responsible for preparing patients to see a physician by gathering information such as past medical history and current medications taken. MA also doesn't require a CNA certificate. MA programs usually take a few months, but the pay is even higher than that of phlebotomists.

  • Patient Care Technician (PCT): Before becoming a PCT, you must have either a CNA, Phlebotomy, or Medical Assistant certification. They, therefore, can do the work of all three at once! PCTs are generally found in hospitals but also work at nursing homes or outpatient clinics. This certification may be best for you if you're looking to work at a hospital.

  • Other licenses: Some licenses don't require CNA as a prerequisite, but some common ones Dreambound alumni go on to acquire licenses such as Medical Billing and coding, EKG Technician, and more.


By gaining an LVN or RN qualification, you gain a deeper understanding of patient care, medical procedures, and critical thinking. This advanced training allows you to take on more responsibilities, work in specialized areas, and even pursue leadership roles. With the growing demand for healthcare professionals, obtaining an LVN or RN certification can significantly increase your job prospects and ensure long-term job security.

  • ‍Licensed vocational nurses (LVNs): LVNs are also called licensed practical nurses (LPNs). LVNs are qualified to perform many of the same tasks as registered nurses, but not all. LPN programs typically take around a year of education. After graduation, LPNs must pass a state-administered licensing exam. Pay is much higher as an LPN vs a CNA because of the longer schooling.‍

  • Registered nurses (RN): RNs have successfully completed an accredited program in nursing, passed the national licensing exam, and obtained a license. An RN can either be completed in 2 years via an Associate's degree or four years with a Bachelor's degree. Pay is higher as an RN vs LVN/LPN, but the education is longer.‍

Administrative Positions

While continuing on to become a registered nurse or pursuing another degree in healthcare is a great option for many people, it's not for everyone. Fortunately, there are many other options available to those who have completed their CNA training!

Administrative positions include Administrator, staffing coordinator, health & wellness coordinator, and more. These roles may offer more money than what's offered by direct care positions or at least a path to making more in the near future via management-level positions. While working as a CNA provides invaluable hands-on experience and direct patient care, transitioning into an administrative role can offer a host of benefits. Firstly, administrative positions allow you to utilize your knowledge of healthcare systems and regulations to ensure smooth operations within the facility. Additionally, these roles often offer a more regular schedule and less physically demanding work, providing a better work-life balance.

Administrators require additional licensure, but most other administrative roles are entry-level roles where having experience as a CNA can be very helpful. You can talk to your CNA manager and let them know you are interested in learning more about other roles.

By leveraging your CNA experience and pursuing administrative roles, you can continue to make a positive impact in the healthcare industry while enjoying the benefits of a more managerial position!

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Something else...?

CNAs gain so much experience from working directly with patients, and this experience can be invaluable for many other roles. We've seen many Dreambound alumni and other former CNAs go on to many different career paths. Here are some:

  • Starting a CNA training program: It may seem daunting at first, but starting a CNA training program can be very fulfilling. You get to train the next generation of healthcare workers while also growing a business from the ground up. Read our guide on how to start a CNA program. Note starting a CNA training program requires you to work as a nurse first for a couple of years.

  • Writer/Influencer: Many healthcare companies are looking to grow their content base, and they are looking for content producers who have had direct experience in healthcare. If you want to work from home and love to write or be on video, this might be for you!‍


We hope that this list has given you some ideas about what to do after CNA training. CNAs have many skills, such as forming relationships with people, caring for others, and healthcare knowledge. These skill sets are useful in any healthcare role. Whether you dive deeper into the medical, administrative, or business side of healthcare, there's a job for every CNA.

The role of a CNA is truly complex yet fulfilling. Learn more about this career from our informative blogs and get additional insights for a more in-depth knowledge of this career:

  1. CNA classes near me
  2. 7 Helpful Tips Against Compassion Fatigue for CNAs
  3. CNA vs Medical Assistant
  4. Difference Between a Licensed Vocational Nurse And A Certified Nursing Assistant
  5. How to transfer your CNA license?

Whether you're an existing CNA or looking to enter the healthcare field, here are other healthcare roles you may take into account as you search for your next big role:

  1. Medication Aide classes near me
  2. Phlebotomy classes near me
  3. Medical Assistant schools near me
  4. Patient Care Technician schools near me
  5. Medical Billing and Coding classes near me
Athena Kan
Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

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