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How Much Does a CNA Make?

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How much does a CNA make? That’s an obvious question to ask yourself should you be interested in becoming one. But before we begin, you should know that a lot of the CNA salary will depend on various factors, including but not limited to: location, years of experience, work setting, company size, and level of education. You can probably guess already what the most dynamic factors will be (hint: location, setting), but for the most part, a nursing assistant’s salary remains relatively consistent. So today, we’ll explain “how much does a CNA make” in further detail.

How Much Does a CNA Make?

To answer bluntly, a CNA’s median pay is $24,400 a year, or roughly $11.73 an hour. The top 10% with an average CNA salary of $35,780, the top 25% with a salary of $29,780, the bottom 25% with a salary of $21,210, and the bottom 10% earning $18,600 a year. This is not including benefits, which includes social security, 401K/403B, disability, healthcare, pension, and time off.

Although it isn’t very impressive, what’s most notable about the occupation is that there’s very high demand for nursing assistants. In 2012, there were roughly 1,534,400 certified nursing assistants in the United States, with another 321,200 more needed by 2022. So for anyone with the qualifications of a CNA, it will be very easy to find an open position available.

how much does a cna make

As we’ve said before though, a number of factors can impact the amount a CNA makes. The most prominent aspects include work setting (i.e. industry) and location. The majority of CNAs work in nursing care facilities (~42%) and hospitals (~28%), although they can also be found in assisted living facilities (~11%), employment agencies (~4%), home care (~4%), and other various settings (~11%).

So, can you guess how much does a CNA make in different industries?

Work SettingPercentage of EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Nursing Care Facilities42%$24,970
Hospitals28%$28,150
Assisted Living and Retirement Communities11%$24,340
Home Health Care Services4%$23,940
Employment Agencies4%$26,230
Other11%N/A

And what about location, what are the best states to be employed in?

Best Paying StatesWorst Paying StatesMost New OpeningsLeast New Openings
1. Alaska – $28,7201. Louisiana – $15,1401. California – 3,9001. Montana – 240
2. New York – $27,2602. Mississippi – $16,3202. Florida – 3,5802. S. Dakota – 240
3. Connecticut – $27,0803. Oklahoma – $17,2403. New York – 2,3303. Maine – 230
4. Massachusetts – $25,5404. Alabama – $17,4404. Ohio – 1,9904. New Mexico -220
5. Hawaii – $25,0605. W. Virginia – $17,4605. N. Carolina – 1,9405. Delaware – 170
6. DC – $24,9406. Arkansas – $17,4806. Illinois – 1,6906. Hawaii – 170
7. Maryland – $24,9407. Georgia – $18,1607. Pennsylvania – 1,6507. N. Dakota – 160
8. Delaware – $24,6408. S. Carolina – $18,4408. Georgia – 1,6108. Wyoming – 150
9. New Hampshire – $24,4609. Idaho – $18,4609. Michigan – 1,3309. Vermont – 90
10. Nevada – $24,46010. Missouri – $18,80010. Missouri – 1,31010. Alaska – 80

Although experience, company size, and level of education are also factors to consider, the difference it makes in a CNA salary is not that large. Experience for one doesn’t play such a big role as you might think. That’s because a CNA’s job is quite simple to understand, and years of experience doesn’t necessarily improve a nursing assistant’s performance. Company size is also not very influential as salary still remains constant regardless. Lastly, level of education doesn’t improve a CNA’s wages that much since most states require you to first attend a CNA course as well as pass a state certification exam before you can work.

So now you have an idea of how much does a CNA make. Of course, there are also advancement opportunities for CNAs, which can be very beneficial if you’re passionate about nursing. A lot of certified nursing assistants don’t stay in the job for very long, as many advance to higher positions such as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and Registered Nurses (RN). There are many advantages to be had from becoming a CNA first though, which we’ll explain.

First of all, there are CNA to LPN and CNA to RN programs available, which takes the credits you’ve earned as a CNA and applies it towards your furthering education. So not only will you be able to complete the education needed to become a LPN and RN in the same amount of time, you can also be earning money working as a CNA in the meantime, which can pay off your education not to mention your personal expenses. You will also be gaining valuable experience of the nursing experience, which you can put on your resume as well as utilize those skills once you become a LPN or RN!