CNA Salary And Payscale

Have you heard the good news?  If you have been pondering a future as a Certified Nursing Assistant, keep reading. According to the United States Department of labor, employment in healthcare support positions, such as a CNA, is expected to increase by 20% through 2020. This rise in CNA employment, which is a natural byproduct of the aging baby-boomer population, equates to increased opportunities for burgeoning CNA students.

Now that you know your chance for landing a job is excellent, let’s take a moment to explore the salary of today’s working CNA.

CNA Salary Outlook

Full time CNAs typically earn between $16,000 to $31,000, and have a median income of approximately $24,000 cites the Department of Labor. There are several contributing factors that play a role in how much you can earn as a CNA. As a prospective Certified Nursing Assistant, the following elements can influence how much money you earn:


Like many occupations, the amount of education and training you have can play a huge role in how much you are paid. CNAs earn a competitive wage without having to spend years studying in a university. With that being said, it would definitely behoove you to obtain the highest level of education possible before starting your career.  For example, CNAs who possess the minimum education requirements for certification earn approximately $20,000.  In contrast, CNAs who have additional education or a college degree typically make $30,000 or more.

Quick Tip: If you’re interested in becoming a CNA, we highly recommend reading our expert articles on How To Get Free CNA Training as well as What it’s Like to be a CNA


The cost of living in the midwestern states of the country is much less than most states on the west and east coasts. This disparity in living costs has a huge influence on your salary in different parts of the country.  For example, in 2012 a CAN employed inIowaearns a typical salary of $23,500, while a CNA working inNew Yorkearned about $32,000 reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At face value, it may seem more advantageous to work inNew York; however, you could probably rent two apartments inIowafor the price you would pay for one in the Big Apple.

If you do get the urge to move to another state, you can transfer your CNA license by researching the reciprocity process through your state’s Nurse’s Aide Registry.

You might want to read up on our articles on free CNA training in New York and Free CNA classes in Pennsylvania


Another factor determining pay is the type of employer you choose.  CNAs usually find work in nursing homes, community care facilities, hospitals and as home health aides.

  •  Nursing Homes – A vast majority of CNAs are employed in nursing homes. Because Americans are living longer, the need for long term care facilities will continue to increase. CNAs employed in this type of facility earn between $10 to $13 an hour.
  •  Community Care Facilities – These institutions encompass elderly patients and other patients, who need special care. The clinical setting is similar to nursing homes; however, these patients generally require fewer needs than nursing home patients. The pay is typically around $9 to $12 an hour.
  •  Hospitals – One major advantage of working in a hospital setting is that you may be exposed to a variety of assignments. For example, you could start out on a maternity unit, and at some time during your tenure in the hospital transfer to a medical/surgical floor.  This will allow you to encounter a variety of clinical procedures, and therefore gain more experience. Pay in hospitals is often higher than other facilities, and ranges from $11 to $15 an hour.
  •  Home Health Aide – CNAs, who are employed as home health aides are often hired by private companies. In this capacity, you may be responsible for patients at several different locations. Wages for home health aides are between $8 to $11 an hour.


The longer you are employed as a CNA, the more money you will earn. This is a fairly universal concept in many occupations.  Additionally, most states mandate continuing education courses for CNAs. This along with hands-on experience will naturally culminate in higher pay throughout your career as seasoned health care worker.

One succinct reason for the increase in pay throughout your career is that as you gain valuable experience and education, your duties and responsibilities will increase. It’s up to you to take advantage of every training opportunity during your career. This exposure will ultimately pay dividends in the form of increased job satisfaction and the added financial benefit of higher pay.

23 Responses to CNA Salary And Payscale

  1. Johndreah May 10, 2010 at 5:27 am #

    Hello ,
    I was just wondering what other Jobs and where else can I take my cna certifcate instead of working in a convelescence home?

    • Admin June 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

      Hi John, community colleges also offer CNA training.
      You can use the CNA certification as a stepping stone to an advanced career in healthcare, if that’s what you meant.

    • Amber July 23, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

      my CNA course was about 1.5k with roughly half being exam costs. When you go for your CNA exam, you can also take sit for your GNA, which allows you to work in nursing homes. In my area (MD) Nursing homes tend to pay more than hospitals, but our local hospital will pay for you to continue your education as long as it is a career in a health care field.

    • Safrah October 19, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

      John, you can also take your CNA training at your local Vocational or Technical school (“Vo-Tech”). There are usually Vo-Tech schools locally that have CNA, HHA (Home Health Aide) or PCA (Patient Care Assistant) courses available. You can also apply for financial aid through your local school and if you qualify based on your household income, your tuition may be covered. Good luck.

    • Valerie April 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      The CNA/GNA classes i am taking are free as of now… i don’t know when this will change but.. it’s in baltimore, md 410-728-0679.. call them and ask about their classes

    • Christine January 11, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      Go to your local Job Service and look into the WIA program

  2. suha March 5, 2012 at 1:09 am #

    Hi I am basically from India and i came here two years ago with my husband…I am a green card holder and my education is from India…I have my bachelors in English..But I am interested in becoming a CNA as I am looking for a job now and I think this would be the shortest course i can do in order to get a job fast…so my question is how can I do it here…and do i need ant transcripts from India for my education…What are the pre requisites for it…and how can i become a CNA here…

    • Marta J. March 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      Hi Suha, you need to contact the nursing assistant registry at the state you live in. You can google for example californing nursing assistant registry. Generally there are no pre-requisites to become a CNA. Some states require that you have finished at least your high school and is 18 years of age or older. Just make sure to choose a program that is accredited.

      • Admin March 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

        Thank you Marta

  3. Sangi July 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Hi I really interested to take cna classes but I had have some back problem in past so that I don’t think so I can lift more than 10lb. My question is how much physical activity di I need to perform in future.Is there any way I can find a job as a nursing assistant without lifting, it sounds funny but I really needed job.

    • Christine January 11, 2013 at 7:49 am #

      look into different avenues- unit secretary, ICU CNA, Palliative Care, these are generally easier on the back-or try night shifts= generally trying to be a CNA without lifting isn’t going to happen I have been a CNA for 30yrs.

  4. Leslie October 18, 2012 at 4:39 am #

    I have been working as a can for 8 years I’ve worked in nursing homes and for the past 5 years I have been working in a psychiatric hospital where as the duties are the same as the nursing home and more! I recently wanted to work as a hha I applied I was offered $8.25 I think that’s crazy because I make well over $12.00 now why wont they pay me for my experience?

    • Avera September 28, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

      HAA pays less because I think it is considered less demanding work. Unfair? Yes. Especially since it is usually necessary to obtain a CNA before even qualifying to be an HHA. So you are already overqualified, and yet you will get paid less.

      The industry will pay as little as it can get away with. Unfair? Yes. But it’s like that everywhere.

  5. oscar November 3, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    people that are going to became RN should be madated to be a CNA first because some of them dont have a clue what a CNA has to go through and they also think that we dont do nothing

  6. Kimberly Boyd December 25, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    I’m looking for a free training classes in the Montgomery or Prince Georges County area any hours. Only CNA/GNA..

  7. Nyumasi Wilson January 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm #


    We are currently living in Zambia and are relocating to america with my husband who is American and I am looking forward to training as a CNA in the
    west plains, Rover area in Missouri state , where we have just bought property and will be living. I you know relocating is very expensive and will have no jobs upon arrival, I am looking for a job while I will be training as a caregiver. I have done child care short course and have experience both with the old and children from one month old. I love care giving jobs and looking forward with passion to work as a child care or old age centre care giving job. I also have a degree in Business Administration but would want to combine it with a health career and see how best I can blend the two careers. I have passion for care giving jobs. Please contact me if you have any family looking for such like me, I will delivery services with passion and full comitment.

  8. jean February 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Hi iam a c n a how many patient will i have a day an what will my hours be

  9. Dutosha H. May 29, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    I’m looking for CNA training classes for free in Detroit Mi. If anyone has any information about free classes please reply. Thank you in advance

  10. Debbie June 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    Im looking for CNA training in Boise ID

  11. Rosemary September 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Hi, was wondering, I have worked in the medical field for years. My last job was at a hospital where I was direct care not a CNA for 7 years. I have moved back home to Mississippi and I found out my CNA was inactive. How do I get it active again.

  12. delmarina April 26, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    I am almost done with my can classes. It was paid for, by scholarship and financial aid helped me out.(fasfa online) I need to take my state and final test.I already completed my clinical hours, hands on training.what can be my next step to go to school for? To continue in the nursing field

    • CourtneyMurray August 1, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

      u should go for your LPN license next that’s what im going to do after I get through with my CNA course. 🙂

  13. CourtneyMurray August 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    I just graduated highschool in may im 18 years old and ive enrolled in a CNA class I start it august 12th so in about a week or so im so excited to be taking it. i feel its really an awesome expiercence that’s going to benefit me tremendously. im so very intimidated by the amount of knowledge some of the older students who have already taken the course before who are in there say late 20’s or 30’s . but I don’t feel im at a disadvantage that just means I gotta work harder than hard to show I can keep up the pace n know just as much as them. Nursing assistants don’t make that much in the state of Arkansas which is where I live u generally make $8.00 an hour. the pay varies from state to state but with this license I know I can do it almost anywhere. i’m so excited. #time to get dis outta the way next is my LPN license#determined 🙂

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