Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs/STNAs/SRNAs/LNAs) are the backbone of the nursing field, have the options to work in numerous medical settings and may even earn an excellent CNA salary. As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2016, CNAs earned a nationwide average hourly rate of $13.29 an hour or a full time annual salary of $27,650. While the highest paid CNA salary on the scale reported an hourly wage of $18.22 per hour or $37,900 per year, the lower 25th percentile reported an hourly wage of $10.80 or a yearly salary of $22,470.
CNA Pay vs. All Healthcare Jobs
When you compare the requirements for CNA education, Certified Nursing Assistants enjoy a relatively short program of study in nursing assisting and earn a pay range between $20,040 and 37,900 according to the BLS report in May 2016. While the median salary of registered nurses or RN is $68,450, it may take two to four years of rigorous training to achieve a degree and pass the licensure examination. Other healthcare related titles may be such as:
- Home Health Aides earn an average salary of $23,600.
- The average pay of Personal Care Aides is $22,710 annually.
- Physical and Occupational Therapy Aids may also require an associate’s degree and report an average income of $27,890 or $31,840 respectively.
- Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses typically require a 13-month vocational or technical education and earn an average salary of $44,840.
- Psychiatric Aides and Technicians earn an average annual salary of $28,770 or $35,870 respectively.
- The average yearly wages of Social and Human Service Assistants was reported to be $34,120.
- The average annual salary of Pharmacy Technicians is $32,170.
- The average salary for a Dental Assistant is $37,890 per year.
- Medical Assistants earn an average yearly salary of $32,850 and work with physicians, care for their patients and perform administrative office duties.
Best Paying States for CNAs
According to the BLS in May 2016, several states pay CNAs a higher than average salary and provide a pay range that reflects the value of their members of the healthcare team.
Here are the top paying states for CNAs:
- Alaska: Alaska provides one of the highest average salaries in the United States with $18.04 per hour or a full time yearly income of $37,520. | See Job Openings
- New York: The nursing field is highly respected in New York and CNAs earn an average salary of $34,300 per year or $16.49 per hour. | See Job Openings
- Nevada: CNAs in Nevada may expect an average hourly pay of $16.18 and an average yearly salary of $33,650. | See Job Openings
- The District of Colombia: CNAs are paid an average salary of $33,380 per year in DC with an hourly median wage of $16.05. | See Job Openings
- California: CNAs are highly trained in California and enjoy an hourly pay rate of $15.76 or a full time salary of $32,770. | See Job Openings
Best Paying Cities for CNAs
According to the BLS in May 2016, certain cities pay above the average pay scale for CNAs across the country.
- Nassau-Suffolk, NY in Long Island pays $18.63 and an annual salary of $38,740. | See CNA Salaries in New York
- Nantucket Island and Martha’s Vineyard, MA offer an hourly rate of $17.96 or an annual salary of $37,350. | See CNA Salaries in Massachusetts
- New York-Jersey City-White Plains NY-NJ cities offer an hourly pay of $16.78 or $34,910 per year. | See Job Openings
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA cities offer an hourly pay of $16.61 or $34,550 per year. | See Job Openings
- Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, MA can offer an hourly rate of $15.91 or $33,100 annually. | See Job Openings
- Danville, IL pays CNAs $16.64 per hour and $34,610 per year. | See CNA Salaries in Illinois
- Far West North Dakota nonmetropolitan area pays CNAs $15.91 per hour and $33,100 per year. | See CNA Salaries in North Dakota
- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI pays CNAs an hour rate of $15.73 or a yearly salary of $32,730. | See CNA Salaries in Minnesota
- Bismarck, ND offers $32,620 per year and $15.68 hourly. | See Job Openings
- Rochester, MN pays CNAs $32,030 per year or $15.40 hourly. | See Job Openings
- Tyler, TX offers $17.81 and an average salary of $37,040. | See CNA Salaries in Texas
- Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD offers an hourly pay of $14.62 or $30,420 annually. | See CNA Salaries in Maryland
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV pays CNAs $14.58 and an annual salary of $30,330. | See CNA Salaries in District of Columbia.
- Odessa, TX offers CNAs an hourly rate of $14.41 or an annual salary of $29,970. | See Job Openings
- Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD pays CNAs $14.33 per hour or $29,810 per year. | See Job Openings
- San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA pays $21.83 per hour and $45,410 per year. | See CNA Salaries in California
- Fairbanks, AK offers CNAs an annual salary of $41,940 or an hourly rate of $20.17. | See CNA Salaries in Alaska
- Southeast Alaska offers CNAs an hourly wage of $19.60 and an annual salary of $40,760. | See Job Openings
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA offers CNAs $38,600 per year and $18.56 hourly. | See Job Openings
- Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA offers CNAs an hourly wage of $18.08 and an annual salary of $37,600. | See Job Openings
Factors that Affect CNA Salaries
Obviously, salaries of Certified Nursing Assistants may vary according to your state or city of practice. If you are planning to move to a different state or are considering attending a CNA program in 2017, check job postings to ensure your new salary matches the standard of living of your new town. Other factors that influence your hourly rate may include:
- Shift differentials may increase your salary on the night or weekend shift
- Seniority, experience and annual pay increases
- Engaging in a paid preceptor or mentor role for training novice CNAs
- Accepting supervisory and management positions
Are you looking for CNA salary in your state? Click the link to know if your state pays well for Certified Nursing Assistants.
CNA salaries may also correspond to settings such as:
- Federal executive branches: $18.00 per hour
- Scientific research and development services: $16.90 per hour
- College, universities and professional schools: $16.14 per hour
- Outpatient care centers: $15.38 per hour
- General medical and surgical hospitals: $14.35 per hour
- Specialty hospitals: $14.32 per hour
- Employment services: $13.90 per hour
- Nursing care facilities: $12.79 per hour
- Assisted living facilities: $12.37 per hour
- Home health care services: $12.30 per hour
In addition, your state certification may not only provide you with a more favorable rate of pay than a non-certified nurse aide, it can also prepare you for advanced training in specialty areas that may be offered by your employer or provide you with the career mobility to move to another area of care such as:
- Children’s hospitals
- Hospice or palliative care
- Mental health technician
- Phlebotomist or lab assistant
- Medical assistant in a physician office
- School nursing assistant
- Certified medication assistant
Benefits of Earning a CNA
The healthcare industry consistently offers career advancement, a stable income and a wealth of options for employment. If you are considering a medical career and want to gain more information before making an important decision, your best path may be to start as a valued and respected CNA to gain insight and invaluable experience into the healthcare field.
Why are CNAs paid so little? Because a job pays what its worth. How many times have you heard that “CNAs are so very important to the health care team?” Well, obviously if CNAs were so important, they would get paid a heck of a lot more than poverty wages.
Yanetta Hammlin says
There are no benefits of earning a CNA license. You are overworked unappreciated and grossly underpaid! If you choose a career as a CNA, you’re glutton for punishment and poverty! You will be worked and compensated like a slave. If CNA’s were smart, they’d be on strike.