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Certified nursing assistant provide care for their assigned patients under the supervision of nursing and medical staff. Often assisting with serving their patients meals, baths, and dressing and undressing, are common tasks of nursing assistants jobs, while specific duties may vary depending on the employer or industry. Most nursing assistant jobs work standard forty hour work weeks with evening, night, weekend, and holiday shifts possible because of the needs of the patient and the operational hours of the employer.

A high school diploma or its equivalent is sufficient amount of education for certified nursing assistant, however some employers may favor applicants that have more education. Formal educational programs are offered in high schools, vocational technical centers, some colleges, and some nursing care facilities. Federal requirements exist for certified nursing assistants operating in nursing care facilities. After completing 75 hours of State approved training and a competency evaluation, individuals can become certified in nursing.

In 2006 there were 2.3 million nursing assistants, with the majority working in nursing and residential care facilities and a smaller percentage working in hospitals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected increase in the employment of 28 percent expected between 2006 and 2016. This rate will be much faster than the average rate of employment for all occupations and will be created from the increase in the elderly population. Job opportunities for certified nursing assistants are expected to be excellent because of the additional number of workers shifting to other careers or leaving the workforce altogether.

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