CNA Salary: What’s CNA Pay Like?

Once certified, the CNA has a huge range of employment possibilities with a wide array of wages. CNA pay varies from location to location, but CNAs can ensure they are receiving top dollar for their work with a bit of research.

The CNA is most often paid hourly except in home nursing situations. In home nursing, the CNA wage may be either hourly or a fixed salary.

CNA Wages (higher or lower) depend on the setting. The more knowledge and responsibility that is required of the CNA commands higher pay. Generally speaking, the CNA pay scale goes from higher to lower in the following order:

  • Specialty departments within a hospital setting (such as critical care, ER),
  • acute care,
  • Sub-acute care,
  • Long-term care, and
  • Hospice.

How hard the work is rarely affects the wage, simply how much knowledge and responsibility is required of the CNA.

This doesn’t mean that one should avoid longterm care and hospice facilities, it simply means that a different level of care is required.

How much pay one receives as a newly trained CNA can vary by where one receives training, so it behooves the CNA to find a program with an excellent reputation. That information can often be found on the State Board of Nursing site. The state BON sites not only show approved training facilities, but they also can show charts of how graduates of these training facilities perform in their testing. For instance, if one training program shows 85% of graduates pass the practical portion of the exam the first time versus a CNA training program which shows that only a 67% rate of first time passing, chances are the program with the 85% pass rate has a better reputation among facilities. Attending that particular training program will ensure the CNA is better prepared, more confident, and more likely to get hired at the top starting wage.

One way to level the field of wages is to work for a healthcare agency. The agency usually hires the CNA at a specific wage; therefore whatever setting one is required to work in, whether acute care or hospice, the wage is the same.

In the home setting, depending on whether the CNA is working privately for a family or for a home health agency, the wage can be hourly or a fixed salary. This would also depend on the requirements of the job; for instance, a full-time, live-in position would command a higher wage than working respite or shifts. Positions could also have varying wages depending on the work required. For instance, a client who is fairly mobile and independent, who only needs companionship and monitoring might pay less than a client who is bed-bound, requiring full care, cooking, and house-keeping. Again, research on the part of the CNA is paramount before agreeing to a wage.

As with any employment, the wage also depends on the CNA’s background, experience, time in the profession, etc. The more experience one has, the more skills one brings to the setting goes a long way in determining the wage. However, with many institutions, the wage is set by the board of the facility, and does not vary no matter what the responsibility load or skill set brought to the table. It is up to the CNA to determine what he or she needs as a living wage.

You can find a tabular data of CAN salaries by state on this page:

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