IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

The Bureau of Labor statistics reported a booming job market for certified nursing assistants -- a field that's expected to grow between now and 2016.

“You do become attached to them, and they do become your friends,” said Brittnie French, a CNA who works with senior citizens in Idaho Falls.
?French is fresh off a Sunday morning shift providing in-home care to elderly patients in Idaho Falls.

“A lot of people don't like doing this job, but I guess that's just the way I have to look at it; if they were my grandparents, what kind of care would I want them to get?” said French.  

For French, the calling to become a Certified Nursing Assistant came 7 years ago.

She was tired of working in fast food and knew a career helping seniors is what she was meant to do.
 
Seven years ago is when the industry first began to boom. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate a 28 percent increase in CNA jobs between now and 2016.
    
Between 2010 and 2020, over 300,000 new jobs are expected to open in the field.
    
“There's always such a high demand for CNAs and nurses, because there is such a wide range of people becoming elderly who need extra help,” said French.

But CNAs in Idaho may end up needing extra help themselves.

The average CNA salaries for job postings in Idaho are 17 percent lower than average CNA salaries for job postings nationwide.
    
The average salary for a cCNA job in Idaho hovers around $21,000 a year -- well below neighboring Montana's average $26,000 and Washington's average $24,000.
    
“I don't think a lot of people do it unless they enjoy the kind of work CNAs do,” said French.  

French said the benefits outweigh the pay.

“It's very rewarding,” she said.  

The CNA course in Idaho is 120 hours.

It includes 80 hours of classroom instruction and 40 hours of clinical instruction.