Difference between a CNA and a Caregiver


Careers of a Caregiver and a Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) might seem similar at first, but there are many underlying difference that define the distinctiveness of each of these professions. At the bottom, Caregivers are uncertified professional aides, intended to become a nurse. On contrary, CNAs are Certified Nursing Assistants with complete educational and professional qualifications, skills and expertise; and hence they relish better job opportunities and higher pays. In this blog post, we have listed some of the fundamental difference, that will help you identifying the difference between a Caregiver and a CNA.

Education/Qualification & Training

Caregiver – It only requires a diploma in high-school or GED for any individual to be a caregiver. Any kind of formal training is not needed; however, caregiving training services of 10 hours are frequently available for those who want to advance their professional skills and career.

CNA – In order to work as a professional nurse aide or CNA, it is fundamental to have a high-school diploma or GED. Beside this, a training of 75 to 100 hours is also mandatory for the CNA candidate.


Caregiver – There are no particular requirements of any kind of certification for caregivers.

CNA – On the other hand, qualifying the certification exam is mandatory for the aspirants who want to be CNA. One needs to qualify CAN certification exam conducted by their respective state, before applying for the position of a CNA in any medical facility.

Job Duties & Responsibilities

Caregiver – A caregiver is only responsible to perform non-medical tasks; and they are hired to take care of patients with very limited dependence or need very little physical assistance. Caregivers are usually hired to help disabled and elderly people in performing their everyday routine tasks such as washing clothes, cleaning, housekeeping, meal preparation, driving, commutation, visiting clinics, paying bills etc.

CNA – CNAs are intended to provide basic medical assistance and care to the patient under the medical advice and direction of RNs (Registered Nurses) or LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses. They are primary responsible to measure patient’s vital statistics, to prepare patient for any kind of surgery, to administer their medicine and its’ doses, to clean medical equipment, to move patient with bedridden illnesses, to control infections etc.

Work Option

Caregiver – Caregiver have less job alternatives as compared to CNAs. Caregivers are generally hired to take care of a patient’s overall health and home, while helping them performing their routine activities. However, they may also find work opportunities at retirement communities and nursing homes etc.

CNA – As compared to caregivers, CNAs have multiple job options available. They can work as Nursing Assistants in hospice, residential care centers, assisted living facilities, retirement centers, clinics, hospitals, doctor’s office, day care facilities etc.

Work Scope

Caregiver – Caregivers are intended to provide support to patients who are suffering from illnesses like Dementia, Alzheimer, Parkinson; but do not have any severe medical condition. Caregivers are the professionals who can only perform non-medical support duties.

CNA – CNAs have a wide array of jobs available and so their job scope. Nurse aides work in collaboration with doctors and provide medical assistance to patient with medical illnesses.


Caregiver – Hourly income of caregivers usually lies between $8.76 and $11.50. According to that they can make up to $24,000 per year.

CNA –  Hourly income of caregivers usually lies between $9.60 and $12.45. According to that they can make up to $26,000 per year.


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