How Much Can You Earn as A CNA

The annual earnings of a Certified Nursing Assistant cannot be easily determined, as a variety of influences factor in to determine the pay rate. The income one can expect to earn working as a CNA varies with the location in which you are employed and how much experience you have.  Other things which influence pay are the shift you work, the number of hours you work per week, and advanced training you may have received.  However, there are some general guidelines which you can use to form an idea of your future expected income.

The pay range of CNAs who have just finished their training and are new to the health care setting generally varies between $9.25 and $12.75 per hour.  Many facilities offer pay incentives for overnight shifts which can be up to an extra dollar per hour or more.  Also, depending on the facility, you may be able to work overtime hours which would increase the amount that you earn to time and one half.  Other pay incentives for CNAs include paid holidays and vacation time which are generally offered after a probationary employment period of about three months.  Holiday and vacation pay generally accrues at a rate specified by the employer accumulating up to two weeks on average of paid days off.

For an experienced CNA, or one who has received additional training either independently or through their employer, the rate of pay usually starts at a higher amount.  Whereas a newly hired CNA with no previous experience may make anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 per year, a seasoned CNA with significant amounts of previous experience could potentially earn any where from $28,000 to $35,000 per year.  Additional benefits of experienced CNA often include the potential to earn additional amounts of paid time off, as well as having seniority within the company which allows them to have preference over which shifts they would like to work.

Finally, employment location probably has the most significant influence over the annual salary of a CNA.  Working in various states, or working in a rural compared to an urban area, can weigh heavily on the amount of money you can expect to make.  A CNA working in Los Angeles, California may have income potential up to $22.00 per hour or more, while a CNA working in rural Wisconsin would be more likely to make around $9.50 to $10.00 per hour.  The demand for CNAs  and the cost of living in the area of employment have a lot to do with the dramatic fluctuation seen in these two scenarios.

Expert Contribution by: Heather Martens CNA
Heather has been working as a CNA for over five years, she is currently a full time nursing student and plans to graduate as a Registered Nurse in the year 2012.

7 Responses to How Much Can You Earn as A CNA

  1. joanne hinman February 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Hi my name is Joanne, I am interested in taking a CNA course I am interested in home health care possibly hospice I was wondering if you could give me some information I live in waterbury CT thank u

  2. Dee March 30, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    In Wv the pay for a CNA can vary from 7.25 to 14.00 an hour depending on your experience…

  3. arlyn June 15, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    Hello.. I’m from Philippines, I just want to ask if i can transfer my CNA certificate here in IDAHO..? Thank you..!!!

    • Admin June 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      If your CNA certificate is from another country, you’d be required to redo the training and certification exam. If its from another state in the US then you can easily get it transferred to Idaho by contacting the state nursing board.

  4. Shauna January 6, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    I took a CNA course in May of 2012. I worked in a nursing home facility for 2 months with out a license. I had 4 months to get it while working as a Nurses Assistant under some one else. I went back to college and never took my exam. Will I still have the chance to take my exam before May of this year (2013)??

  5. will November 17, 2015 at 5:21 am #

    I’m 23 and work as a CNA and make 13.50 a hour and work in Sacramento area but will be transferring next door to the hospital where I can start off making 16.50 a hour and that’s just starting as a CNA here, I just passed my state test after finally being able to get a rescheduled test date for missing my original test date and I worked at the place unlicensed for a little over 4 months
    Lol.the place also paid for my CNA training,uniform,test and test fees and kept me on as a full time NOC shift CNA on my own hall because I worked harder than my class mates from the start because I never consider a task to be beneath me. All the other cnas that work noc shift with me are all twice my age and experienced which I love cuz I’m always learning from them and vice versus, all my other 17 hired on classmates were shadowed or given part time,so I was blessed with a good work attitude lol. Also out of the 17 there’s only 4 of us who haven’t been fired haha!!!! Again thank God I’m a people pleaser at my age lol.

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