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How Do RNAs & CNAs Differ? June 2, 2020

Springfield Gardens, Queens
How Do RNAs & CNAs Differ?, Queens, New York

From hospitals to doctor’s offices, nurses play a vital role in keeping people healthy. But while these professionals all work toward the same goal of improving wellness and comfort, not all carry the same background and skills. For example, some may serve as restorative nursing assistants (RNAs), while others may be designated as certified nursing assistants (CNAs). If you’re curious about these career options, consider this quick guide to the main differences between RNA and CNA professionals.

A Comparison of CNA & RNA Careers

Job Responsibilities

Certified nursing assistants work in a variety of healthcare environments where long-term care is provided to clients, such as in an assisted living facility or nursing home. These professionals are qualified to assist with many of the day-to-day needs of patients, which may include helping them get dressed, move around, eat meals, bathe, and use the restroom. CNAs may also be tasked with recording vital measurements, such as blood pressure and heart rate.

certified nursing assistantRestorative nursing assistants take on a more specialized role by focusing on rehabilitative care. Under the guidance of licensed medical professionals, RNAs work with a variety of clients who suffer from physical injuries or disabilities. Typically employed in assisted living or rehabilitation centers, these specialists guide clients through custom therapeutic exercises that are designed to improve mobility, ease chronic pain, heal injuries, or prepare for surgical procedures.  

Education & Training Requirements

CNAs must complete a state-approved training program that involves a variety of classroom lessons and supervised clinical work. The length of instruction can vary depending on whether the student is taking classes full- or part-time.

After passing a CNA exam, individuals must register with the state and comply with any additional requirements, such as passing a background test. Continuing education is also required to maintain a license.

Although RNA education isn’t overseen by a state agency, candidates are required to first possess proper CNA credentials and maintain certification. Upon completion of a CNA program, certified individuals should enroll in an RNA program that provides both classroom and hands-on instruction on rehabilitative care. Depending on the educator, RNA certificates may or may not be offered.


With the demand for nursing jobs expected to rise, now is the time for prospective healthcare professionals to invest in training. At IGBANS Institute of Vocational Training in Laurelton, NY, students will gain access to first-class CNA programs that will fully prepare them for examination, certification, and the ongoing demands of the job. Those who complete these programs will be eligible to seek out RNA training if they’re interested in restorative care. To learn more about these affordable certified nursing assistant programs, visit them online. If you have questions about enrollment and costs for CNA classes, call (718) 276-8100.

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