How Much do CNAs Make?

The amount of money a CNA makes varies from state to state across the country. CNA annual salaries range from as high as over $39,000 in Alaska to just below $23,000 in Louisiana. The national average as reported by United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018 was $28,530, or $13.72 per hour. States such as Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, Maryland, and Alaska were some of the states that paid the highest annual salaries to CNAs. States such as California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vermont, New York, and Connecticut had average CNA salaries above the national average of $26,590 while Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Arkansas trend towards the lower scale of CNA salaries across the country. 

What is an average CNA salary?

Within each state, how much a CNA makes also depends on the different regions and metro areas within that state. For example a CNA in New York City will likely have a higher salary that one working in Western New York State. A CNA working in Minneapolis would likely have a higher annual wage than one working in Northern Minnesota. Another key factor is where that CNA works. Some hospitals and nursing homes have higher base rates of pay for CNAs. Additionally, the seniority level and experience of an individual CNA will also impact how much that CNA makes annually.  

How does a CNA salary compare to an RN?

Many CNAs use the role as an initial first position in the healthcare field. CNAs may look to develop foundational health care skills and then progress onto an RN position with the right experience and education. RNs tend to earn more money per hour and annually then a CNA makes. Salaries would vary from state to state, but according to Glassdoor, an RN’s annual salary may be in a range of $43,000 to $75,000 depending on various factors such as location, experience and medical area of concentration. 

Top ten CNA salaries by state

Location, location, location as they say in the real estate world. It holds true when it comes to making money as a CNA as well. Of course, there will be some variance between pay at the type of facility you work at, as specialized medical facilities will likely pay more than a nursing home. That said, on average some states pay their CNAs substantially better than others. Here are the best and worst paying states for nursing assistants.

The top ten states for CNA salaries in 2019 were:

  • Alaska: $39,830
  • New York: $37,010
  • Hawaii: $35,770
  • California: $35,220
  • Nevada: $35,130
  • North Dakota: $33,990
  • Minnesota: $33,710
  • Massachusetts: $33,630
  • District of Columbia: $33,510
  • Connecticut: $33,390

The bottom states for the lowest CNA average salaries in 2019 were:

  • Louisiana: $22,750
  • Mississippi: $23,100
  • Alabama: $24,110
  • Arkansas: $25,080
  • South Carolina: $25,390
  • North Carolina: $25,570
  • Oklahoma: $25,690
  • Georgia: $25,870
  • Missouri: $25,930
  • Kansas: $26,210

How do I find CNA jobs?

There are many sites that help CNAs find a job that will get them earning an hourly wage or a salary. The healthcare profession is an industry that is in demand whether the economy is performing well or not. The rise in patient numbers, needs and care levels are going to continue to rise as the baby boomer generation in the United States ages. Most markets across the U.S. have hospitals, health care facilities and nursing homes that have a shortage of CNAs to hire. Most of the major job hiring websites have CNA sections:

 How do I become a CNA?

Each state across the country has a different protocol for being an officially registered Certified Nursing Assistant. However, nearly all state has a similar path to becoming a CNA. Candidates will need to undergo a minimum amount of hours of training at a state-approved training program. Within this, these hours are split between classroom instructional hours and supervised clinical hours. The hours required range from 80 to 150, depending on the state. 

Once candidates complete their minimum required hours training, they are then eligible to take a CNA exam. CNA exams vary from state to state. Generally, these consist of written questions, as well as a portion of the exam where candidates must demonstrate their CNA skill sets.  Upon successfully passing a CNA exam, candidates can then list on the state’s CNA registry. 

State by state information is listed here in more detail.