How To Become a Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA)

Working as a Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) can be a very rewarding experience. You will be working with elderly patients who need extra care and attention. This population is often underserved by the healthcare system, so you will be making a real difference in their lives.

Below you will find frequently asked questions and answers about GNAs as well as the steps necessary for becoming a Geriatric Nursing Assistant.

How to become a Geriatric Nursing Assistant

There are no specific educational prerequisites to become a geriatric nursing assistant, however your employer may have their own unique requirements such as education level and passing a criminal background check.

Becoming a CNA is the ideal path for most individuals wishing to become a GNA as both certifications have similar requirements, and many CNA program providers can assist with achieving both certifications.

Below you will find a curated list of CNA program providers in your area:


To become a Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, individuals must take a state accredited certification program, complete a minimum number of classroom and clinical hours, and pass the state’s CNA exam.

Nearly all Geriatric Nursing Assistants (GNAs) have completed the same training requirements as CNAs and are registered as a CNA in their state. The key difference is that they have also taken and passed their state’s approved Geriatric Nursing Assistant exam. They must also be registered as a GNA with their state’s nurse aide registry. This is typically the same registry used for CNAs.

on the other hand, have received extra training in caring for elderly patients. They are often certified by the American Nurses Association (ANA) or another professional nursing organization. In some states, GNAs may be called Certified Geriatric Nursing Assistants (CGNA).

Duties of a Geriatric Nursing Assistant

The duties of a GNA can vary depending on the facility in which they work. Generally, GNAs provide basic patient care and assist with activities of daily living for elderly patients. GNA duties are typically more specialized than the duties of a CNA as they work specifically with geriatric patients. They help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They also take vital signs, assist with ambulation and exercise, and provide emotional support. They may also help with rehabilitative services and provide support to families.

Many GNAs also have experience in wound care, feeding tubes, and catheter care. They may also administer medications and provide other treatments as directed by the nurse.

Working with elderly patients can be both challenging and rewarding. These patients often have multiple chronic health conditions and are at a higher risk for falls and other accidents. They may also be suffering from dementia or other cognitive impairments. As a result, GNAs must have excellent communication and organizational skills. They must be able to keep track of multiple medications and treatments, and they must be able to handle difficult behaviors.

Despite the challenges, working with elderly patients can be very rewarding. These patients often have a wealth of life experience and stories to share. They may also be more appreciative of the care they receive. If you are patient, compassionate, and organized, then working as a GNA may be the perfect career for you.

What is the salary of a GNA?

The median hourly wage for GNAs is $15.88 per hour or $33,849 per year. Pay will vary depending on your experience, skills, and location.

What are the hours like?

Working hours can vary depending on the facility in which you work. Many GNAs work full-time, but part-time and overnight shifts are also common. Most GNAs will work around 40 hours a week and be compensated for overtime work when applicable.

What is the job outlook for Geriatric Nursing Assistants?

The job outlook for GNAs is good. With an aging population and a demand for more for qualified healthcare workers in the upcoming decades, it is expected that there will be many job openings for GNAs.

Geriatric Nursing Assistant working conditions

You will typically work in a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility. The hours can be variable, and you may work weekends and holidays. Some GNAs work part-time, while others work full-time.