As you consider becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), you are most likely wondering what you can expect to earn in this profession. CNA wages vary for several reasons.
One important salary variable is years of experience. CNAs who are newly licensed can expect to start out between $7 and $13 per hour, while CNAs with 5 or more years of experience will likely earn as much as $9 to $16 dollars per hour. The reason for the range in each level of experience is one of location. Your salary as a CNA will also vary depending on the state in which you work. Among the highest paying states are Alaska, Delaware, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, and New Jersey. The lowest pay exists in the southern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. Generally speaking, better wages can be found in states where the cost of living is high.
Another significant factor in determining CNA wages is the type of healthcare setting in which you are employed. Home health CNAs and “personal care” or “in home attendants” generally earn the lowest pay. CNAs employed by correctional facilities, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and hospitals are among the better compensated. Hospitals have traditionally offered the best hourly pay for CNAs; however, nursing agencies are now the leaders in the industry. Agencies offer premium pay to CNAs who are willing work a “temp”, day to day, or short notice work assignment. In areas where CNAs are in high demand due to shortages, consistent work can sometimes be found working for agencies.
Hourly salary is not the only thing to consider as you compare CNA salaries. As you search for your best option, you should also consider healthcare benefits, profit sharing, employer contributions to 401K plans, tuition reimbursement opportunities, on-site childcare, and uniform and meal allowances. Look for employers who offer hourly bonus pay for CNAs who work the night shift. Some organizations offer premium pay to CNAs willing to “float” from unit to unit. Some state and federal healthcare facilities offer the advantage of extensive paid vacation and sick time, in addition to excellent retirement benefits.
As you consider Certified Nurse Assisting as a career, one of the most significant factors in determining the financial benefit is that of job security. As our elderly population enjoys a longer life expectancy, the demand for CNAs is expected to steadily increase. The delivery of patient care requires the touch of the human hand, and will never be replaced by automation. As a CNA, you can expect a long and rewarding career.
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