CNA Salary (Certified Nursing Assistant)

What is a CNA

Certified nursing assistants (also known as Nursing Aide, Nursing Assistant, Nursing Auxiliary, Nurse Tech, Auxiliary Nurse, Patient Care Assistant, Patient Care Technician, and Home Health Aide/Assistant) are paraprofessionals who helps patients with basic health care needs under the supervision of a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or other healthcare professionals. While extensive health care training is not required to become a CNA, these individuals often uphold a high level of experience and ability, including interpersonal skills and manual dexterity. For more on job duties, please visit our certified nursing assistant job description page.

Where do CNA Work

According to US federal labor statistics, more than half of all nursing assistants works in nursing and residential care facilities and 28% works in hospitals. Others work in home health care services, colleges, universities, research and development services, and state government agencies.

Work Schedule

Certified nursing assistant usually work full time hours and possibly overtime. Since hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities are opened all day long, nursing assistants may have to work evenings, weekends and even holidays.

Mean Annual Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA Salary

The average annual certified nursing assistant or CNA salary is $26,020. This figure is calculated by adding all the salaries within the occupation and dividing that value by the total number of workers in the field. Individuals who fall in the lowest 10% of all certified nursing assistants are expected to earn less than $18,600 each year whereas those with more experience, in the top 10% pay bracket, can expect $35,780 or more.

CNA Salary: Quick Summary

2013 Mean Salary$26,020 per year
$12.51 per hour
Top 10% Salary$35,780 per year
$17.20 per hour
Bottom 10% Salary$18,600 per year
$8.94 per hour
Numer of Jobs, 20131,427,830

CNA Job Outlook and Prospects

Due to the increasing aging population, certified nursing assistants are in high demand. As a matter of fact, from 2012 to 2022, the number of jobs for these professionals is projected to increase by 21%, or 312,200 new jobs. This means that this profession is growing in line with, if not more quickly than, other medical professions. Individuals who are still pursuing higher training often use this position as a way to gain further experience. Therefore, while students pursue their degree, they can work with their CNA training in any number of medical facilities.

CNA Salary: Factors and Influences

Certified nursing assistants are essential to the operation of any type of care facilities, helping to bathe, feed, medicate, and take care of the other needs of all patients on the premises. Although jobs are growing, salaries are often most responsive to a variety of other factors, including influences such as experience, industry, and location.

Experience and Certification

Perhaps one of the most prominent factors affecting the pay of a certified nursing assistant is experience. This is especially true within this profession because performing basic duties as a certified nursing assistant is often seen as a way in which to get experience in the healthcare industry while still pursuing higher education. Nursing assistants with years of experience can make well over $34,000 per year.

Certification can also affect a certified nursing assistant’s salary, but only in states where certification is not required to practice. A certified nursing assistant will almost always earn a higher income. Certification is also recommended if you plan on moving to another state and it can help advance you further in your career. Being certified is extremely helpful if you decide to become a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse down the road.


Often times, the less populated industries are those that promise the highest salaries. However, many of the positions require special skills that can only come with experience, including employment at the Federal Executive Branch, scientific, research, and development services and much more. Fine-tailoring your skills to industry demand can therefore get you out of a nursing care facility in which you earn a mean annual wage of $24,650 and into a better-paying position.


Highest-paying locations throughout the United States tend to be in well-populated areas, although this isn’t always true. There is no consistent state size that translates into higher wages, however Alaska, New York, and Connecticut are among the top paying states for this profession. Areas with large numbers of retirees are especially likely to demand a greater need for certified nursing assistants, especially since over 620,000 individuals are already employed in this industry and yet, more are still needed.

All high paying metropolitan areas are located within these states, meaning that individuals employed in any one of these great states can expect to earn anywhere from $32,000 to $39,000 and more. Additionally, there are many nonmetropolitan areas that also employ a select few, well-paid certified nursing assistants, meaning that it is truly the state and its position in relation to the elderly of America that leads to the development of new jobs.

CNA Salary: Top 5

Top Paying Metropolitan AreasTop Paying StatesTop Paying IndustriesStates with Highest Employment Level
San Francisco-Redwood, CA: $39,240Alaska: $34,990Federal Executive Branch: $35,930California: (99,500 jobs) $29,400
Fairbanks, AK: $35,860 New York: $31,840Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools: $32,030New York: (98,340 jobs) $31,840
San Jose- Sunnyvale- Santa Clara, CA: $35,210Connecticut: $31,660Scientific Research and Development Services: $30,840Texas: (86,940 jobs) $23,150
Nassau-Suffolk, NY: $35,000Nevada: $31,270State Government: $30,520Florida: (84,740 jobs) $24,080
Oakland-Freemont-Hayward, CA: $34,890District of Columbia: $30,300Insurance Carriers: $29,770Pennsylvania: (71,660 jobs) $27,290

cna salary state by state 2013


  1. Chris W says:

    Newsbreak…..alert… Some California Home Health Agencies providing care to elderly people in their homes are sending out certified nurse assistants (CNAs) without the proper HHA (home health aide) certification to work alone, inside someone’s home. This is a problem of epidemic doing and must be promptly addressed to protect the health and safety of such a vulnerable adult population. Home Health Agencies are not supposed to send CNAs into private duty work unless they also have the Home Health Aide certification, as per California Law. This practice has been going on for a long time and California has still not investigated the home health agencies doing this and put a stop to it, because it’s about money. People need CNAs, so the state is turning a blind eye to this violation of law, so that home health agencies can continue to send out CNAs under the radar and make money, all at the expense of elderly people receiving home care.

  2. Wanzala peter says:

    I have a certificate in enrolled comprehensive nursing, regiestered and licensed by the uganda nurses and midwifery council in Uganda.I would like to work as nursing assistant in US,is it possible to find me a job opportunity.Currently i work with paediatrics in a referal hospital on contract under local government.Looking forwards towards hearing from you.

  3. Mary Youmans says:

    I just recently became certified, looking in to some LTC facilities in my area , will be working in New Jersey but will be transferring to New York in about a year, do anyone have any info on this topic.

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