There’s an acronym bash in the industry and we’re often asked the difference between a caregiver and a CNA, also referred to as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Nursing Assistant (NA), or sometimes a Patient Care Assistant (PCA).
A caregiver is broadly defined as anyone who provides care to a person in need. Caregiver training is not required, however many caregivers undergo caregiver training and certification to take their career to the next level (e.g. 10 hour caregiver certification).
A CNA is a formally trained caregiver that helps people with various health care needs under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse or Licensed Practitioner. To become a CNA, a CNA certificate must be obtained from a local CNA school. There are hundreds of CNA schools throughout the country, offering programs from a couple of weeks to a few months. Prior to receipt of a CNA certification and obtaining a CNA job, caregivers often take a certified nursing assistant practice test and work as a caregiver throughout CNA school.