The main duties of a Certified Nurse Assistant are to take of the patients under supervision of Registered Nurses and Doctors. Assisting patients with daily chores like dressing, feeding, and monitoring activity are the main responsibilities. With so much time spent with the patients, CNAs often develop close relationships with many people.

As the baby-boomer population begins to age there is a growing need for health care professionals, especially CNAs. This position has an estimated growth of 21% until 2022, much higher than the average job growth. Because of this it’s a great time to begin a career in the medical field.

If you enjoy taking care of people, or have always been interested in medicine, you should consider getting your CNA certification. It can lead you to many more opportunities and be a rewarding experience.

What is the Average CNA Salary in the United States?

If you are considering trying to get certified as a nurse assistant one of the most important questions will be, how much does a CNA make a year? In the United States the CNA average salary is $24,890 a year.

Compared to the average national salary of $44,888 this may seem a little low. However, becoming a CNA is only meant to begin your career in the medical field and you will be able to build up your salary as your career progresses.

Your salary will also increase with the amount of education you receive. Those with just the minimum of a high school diploma and the certification make around $20,000 for an annual certified nurse assistant salary. The average pay for CNAs with additional education or a college degree will earn closer to $30,000 per year.

With more education and more experience you will be able to see your certified nurse assistant salary increase with your skills.

How Much Does a CNA Make an Hour?

How much money does a CNA make an hour is also an important question to ask. The average CNA pay is $11.97 an hour.

On the lower range of the CNA hourly pay is $8.34, while the higher end of CNA wages is $15.97. These will increase as you work more and depending on what type of employer you have. CNAs who work in operating rooms, intensive care units, or in telemetry tend to have higher salaries.

Many factors play into the CNA hourly wage and will be different for each state. The positive is that CNAs have a lot of job security with continued job growth. Also, when you get a certification in one state it can usually transfer to another state if you relocate.

How Does a Nursing Assistant Salary Compare to Other Medical Jobs?

So how much does a CNA get paid compared to other medical professions? The CNA pay rate is a little lower than other jobs, but most of these positions are things that you will have to build up to. Getting experience as a CNA first will help you get some of these better paying jobs in the future.

Here is a list of the average national salaries for other medical jobs:

  • Personal Care Aides: $19,910
  • Medical Assistants: $29,370
  • Phlebotomist: $30,858
  • Dialysis Technician: $35,558
  • Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides: $39,430
  • Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses: $41,540
  • Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides: $48,940
  • Registered Nurses: $65,470
  • Doctors: $189,000

As you can see, the CNA pay scale is between personal care aides and medical assistants. You will find though, that many medical assistants were CNAs first. This also applies to licensed practical and vocational nurses, and especially registered nurses. To be sure the medical field is right for you it’s important to try it out in a lower position first. Once you’ve gained the knowledge and experience you can move up to one of these positions.

What is the Starting Certified Nursing Assistant Salary?

The CNA starting salary is around $18,600. The starting CNA salary per hour equates to about $8.90. As mentioned before, this will change from state to state and job to job.

In this entry-level position you will gain experience taking care of patients and learning medical knowledge for future jobs. It is important to be organized, efficient, multi-task, pay attention to detail, and have some physical ability. In a position where the main responsibilities are caring for the sick and elderly you will also need to be dedicated.

The CNA starting pay is just the beginning. By taking on more responsibilities, like training new workers, you will be able to raise your salary. With the skills you learn in caring for others you will also improve your skills for other medical jobs.

How Much Does a CNA Make with Experience?

The salary of a CNA will increase with some experience. As mentioned before, extra education is one of the best ways to earn a higher salary. Often times states will mandate continued education for CNAs, so you won’t be going out of your way to add more education.

It shouldn’t take too long for your pay to match the average CNA pay per hour of $11.97. With a lot of dedication some people will even make it up to the maximum of $15.97 per hour.

As most CNAs don’t work in the position for more than 20 years, the knowledge you learn form continued classes and years on the job would be applied to the later levels of your career. Working with doctors and registered nurses in the clinic will help you decide the path you want to take.

Which Employers Pay the Highest Nurse Assistant Salary?

A major variable in CNA salaries is what type of company you work for. CNAs are in high demand and can be employed in many medical facilities. Hospitals and nursing homes employ the majority of CNAs, but you can find jobs in more specialized areas too.

Take a look at this list of employers and what their average offer is for a CNA annual salary:

  • Home Health Care Services: $19,769
  • Community Care Facility: $21,840
  • Hospital: $24,010
  • Nursing Home: $24,946
  • Hospice: $27,191
  • Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Centers: $28,290
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional School: $31,030

There is a lot of disparity between employers when it comes to the salary for a CNA. Some of these will only hire CNAs with more experience though, but all will want someone with the proper knowledge on how to care for the patients. Each employer will also have different requirements in how the CNAs assist the doctors, therapists, and registered nurses.

In many cases a CNAs work will be dealing with the elderly population. The aging population is one of the main reasons that CNAs are in such high demand. This doesn’t mean this is the only type of patient you will take care of in your career, but it may be a stepping-stone to other areas of work. Find the area you are interested in and pursue it.

CNA Salary by State – How Much Does a CNA Make in Your State?

From state to state the average salaries will vary for all job positions, this is also true for CNA income. Currently, the best states to be a CNA are Alaska, New York, and Connecticut. Alaska pays CNAs and average of $14.36 an hour.

On the other hand, the worst states for CNAs are Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. The CNA hourly salary in Louisiana is only $7.57. The good news is you can start in one state and if you decide to move your certification will be able to transfer.

To know what does a CNA make in your state check out the table below.

How Quickly Can I Start Earning a CNA Salary?

Starting on your way towards earning a CNA job salary starts with earning your degree. For most programs you only need a high school diploma or the equivalent to get in. From there, it can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 semesters or more to get your training done.

Many nursing homes will offer programs you can take, and the Red Cross has a 160-hour program. If there is a technical college in your area, it may be the best choice for you to work towards getting your certification. Some high schools offer semester long course, but these are often only for current students.

Whichever program you end up choosing, always make sure you check that it is an accredited program so you can get your CNA nurse salary. If it’s not you may end up taking classes for nothing.

How Will a CNA Salary Increase Throughout Your Career?

As you gain more experience, take more classes, and move up as a CNA, you will find that your assistant nurse salary will increase. Investing you education is one of the best ways to do this. Take more classes that will broaden your skill set and lead to new opportunities.

Taking on more responsibilities is also a great way to increase the salary of a CNA. Initiative will help you prove you are ready to take on more and your employers will notice.

Most importantly, you have to view your time as a CNA as only the beginning of your medical career. Look into moving up to a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Registered Nurse. Hourly they get paid $21 and $38.47, respectively. Aim for these higher positions and your salary will be able to grow.