What Is the Average Salary of a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A certified nursing assistant job can give you a reliable caretaking career and a steady income. Continue reading to find out how the average salary for this career can depend on your geographical location, level of experience and employer. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Overview

A certified nursing assistant (CNA), also known as a nurse aide, performs routine caretaking tasks for patients at hospitals or long-term care facilities. Under a nurse's guidance, a CNA may assist patients in getting out of bed and preparing for the day. If you become a nursing assistant, you'll help serve meals and clean up patients' living quarters. You must also remain on stand-by for emergencies or patient request calls. To receive certification, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that you must typically undergo several hours of training and pass an exam specific to your state (www.bls.gov).

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education State-approved education program
Professional Requirements Some states may require a criminal background check and continuing education
Key Skills Physical stamina, compassion, patience; communication skills
Similar Occupations Home health aide, medical assistant, personal care aide, registered nurse

Career Prospects

According to the BLS, nursing assistant positions were predicted to rise 21% between 2012 and 2022, which was higher than the average for all jobs nationwide. The BLS expected employment for nursing assistants working at nursing care facilities to see employment gains due to increases in conditions such as dementia and a greater boom in the senior population.

Salary Overview

According to PayScale.com, the median wage for a CNA was $24,245 per year as of September 2015. Salaries in the 10th through 90th percentiles ranged from $14,846-$37,415 annually. Important factors that can affect your salary as a CNA include your location, experience and your industry within the nursing field.

Salaries by Experience

September 2015 data from PayScale.com showed that the reported salaries for CNAs varied by number of years of experience. The salary range for those possessing less than five years of experience was $14,637-$36,972, while those with 5-10 years of experience reported salaries of $14,770-$36,473. Salaries were $15,953-$38,481 with 10-20 years of experience and $18,166-$39,334 with more than 20 years of experience.

Salaries by Location

Where you work can influence your salary as a CNA, since larger cities often offer higher average wages. PayScale.com reported that the median yearly salary for those in Chicago, Illinois, ranged from $12,365-$35,117 as of September 2015, while CNAs in Atlanta earned $17,715-$40,268 at that time. Workers in Houston, Texas, made $14,806-$34,716 a year, while those in Los Angeles, California, made $12,000-$42,191.

The BLS reported in May 2014 that the states with the highest average pay for nursing assistants included Alaska ($37,180), Nevada ($33,000), New York ($32,470), Connecticut ($31,940) and the District of Columbia ($30,940).

Salaries by Industry

The industries that employed the most nursing assistants included nursing care facilities, hospitals and retirement and assisted living facilities, reported the BLS in May 2014. These industries had mean wages of $25,160, $28,430 and $24,500, respectively.

The top paying industries in May 2014 paid nursing assistants significantly higher wages. The federal executive government paid the highest average wage of $36,380 a year. Real estate lessors paid $31,670 a year, and insurance carriers offered an annual salary of $31,470.

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