Understanding CNA Training: What All the Names? (Home Health Aide, Nursing Assistant, PCA, UPA)

cna trainingLooking for CNA training, but confused about the many titles? Over the years CNA’s have acquired a lot of different names such as home health aides, nursing assistants, PCA’s (personal care assistant) and UPA’s (unlicensed assistant personnel). However, even though they all are considered to be CNA’s they all have different work that they perform. Also, since they all perform different work duties the pay salaries may vary as well. But, in the end all of them have to go through the proper CNA training in order to legally work as a certified nursing assistant. Here is the breakdown that will help you understand the many titles given to CNAs.

What are the different job duties of CNA’s

Holding the title of a home health aide is actually a  CNA that is responsible for treating and caring for patients who need in home health care. Their job consists of doing light housekeeping, in some cases, and also assisting the patient with health needs, mobility, and even light therapy. After proper CNA training, a  home health aide works specifically in the actual residence of their patient.

If someone holds the title of a nursing assistant they deal with patients of all age ranges. Nursing assistants also work in a variety of different medical facilities including, yet not limited to, hospitals, mental facilities and nursing homes. Their day to day tasks can include giving the patients a bath, making the patients beds and taking vital signs.

If someone holds the title of  a PCA than they may either work in a specific facility or assist a patient in their home. Either way they will have to receive special CNA training to do whatever their assigned tasks are. Their jobs can consist of duties including, yet not limited to, helping a patient with bathing and dressing, cleaning for the patient and distributing medication to the patient, in some cases.

If someone holds the title UPA,  it means that they are unlicensed but have received on the job training. They usually are found working in nursing homes and hospitals, but these individuals who have not received actual CNA training are now being phased out.

Education and CNA Training Requirements

Regardless of which of these titles you plan to eventually hold, each of these fields are required to complete CNA training from an accredited school or technical center. A nursing assistant is required to complete a certain amount of training hours and successfully pass the state certification exam. There have been cases of home health aides operating without a license, and it is still practiced, but not recommended. In order to be truly successful and enjoy a rewarding career, initial training and yearly additional CNA training will keep a nursing assistant at the top of his or her career.

Salaries and Benefits of Types of CNAs

According to the most recent statistics,  CNA’s who have gone through CNA training average about $10.00 an hour. Home health aides can earn a much higher hourly rate, due to the fact that many of them work for families or individuals. Home health aides also have the benefit of working one-on-one with their patient, instead of being responsible for 2-4 patients in a room. The one-on-one atmosphere allows the CNA to develop a more emotionally rewarding relationship with the patient and may lead to a higher level of care.

The demand for a qualified CNA is currently high and not expected to decline. If you are interested in pursuing a medical career that offers the ability to provide basic care and become directly involved with the patients, CNA training may be the right choice for you.

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