What is the average CNA salary and what can you do to maximize it? These are important questions if you are in any way considering being a certified nursing assistant. The statistics are readily available concerning CNA salaries, and can be found quite easily on certain websites or in books. Factors such as demand and changes in health care trends affect pay rates in the industry as a whole. Some of the factors that influence CNA salary are changes in average longevity, discharge rates from hospitals, and technological innovations in health care.
There is a growing demand for certified nursing assistants. One of the major factors in the demand growth is the increasing population of elderly people in the United States and the world as a whole. As the average age goes up, there are more people spending time in long term care facilities, and these kinds of facilities are a large employer of certified nursing assistants. Many of the jobs at these long term care facilities involve medical treatment of a “maintenance” sort, and this is just the type of work that CNAs are trained for. They also work, of course, in more urgent care situations, but in long term care type jobs their services are especially needed since the involvement of nurses and doctors tends to be less.
Other factors in the growth of the CNA industry include the fact that due to the recent economic hard times hospitals are motivated to discharge patients faster into more long term medical situations. In addition, as technology becomes more advanced at either saving or lengthening lives, the demand for CNAs will grow.
As job demand increases, the CNA salary, which is currently somewhat low, may begin to climb somewhat. Many people view this job as high paying, but that is only compared to other “entry level” type positions. The fact is that at the low end, CNA jobs currently pay only a dollar or two over minimum wage, and at the high end pay better, but still not spectacularly. Payscale.com shows the current median CNA salary range as between $19,837 and $27,331. Salary.com goes a bit higher with its estimates, giving the range as: $22,184 to $27,742.
The Payscale.com site breaks salary ranges down in terms of a number of factors, one of which is the degree or certification the CNA holds. Surprisingly, there is little difference pay wise between those with only high school diplomas and those with CNA certifications. It appears that having a certification or some kind of degree is more helpful for gaining employment than for increasing the hourly rate which that employment offers.
The site also shows estimates of the various median salaries for different types of facilities that employ CNAs. Again there is not a large spread here. Hospitals, nursing homes, long term care facilities, and home health care all are listed as having hourly wages falling between roughly $9 and $12.50.
The U.S. Bureau of labor statistics shows a slightly different picture here, with a descending order of average hourly wages by employer/facility type. The breakdown according to this site is as follows: Employment Services – $12.10, Hospitals – $12.05, Nursing Care Facilities – $11.13, Community Care Facilities for the Elderly – $10.91, Home Health Care Services – $10.58. It should be borne in mind that these are 2008 figures, so they may have changed slightly, but probably not too significantly.
In summation, it does not seem as though CNA salaries are highly variable, only moderately so. They provide a livable income, but are overall not very high as pay rates go. However, the modest educational requirements, the plentiful availability of jobs, and the opportunity to help people while getting an introduction to medical careers still attracts many people to this job type. So don’t let the fairly modest income prospects discourage you – this is important work, and medical teams could not function well without CNAs.
They are needed by patients, nurses, and doctors, and if caring for others is something that interests you, being a nursing assistant is a good way to get into it.