Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)


October 30, 2016


Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Job Description

A CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant, assists nurses with patient care and are under the direct supervision of nurses and other medical staff. Certified nursing assistants are sometimes called nurse aides, orderlies, or Geriatric aides. CNAs are often employed by agencies where there is a high patient to nurse ratio (e.g., One nurse per 12 patients). CNAs help provide basic care for patients and assist patients with activities of daily living. The work duties for a CNA may include feeding patients, taking vital signs, monitoring food and liquid input and output, moving patients, bathing and dressing patients and assisting with some medical procedures. CNAs must have expertise in medical terminology, emergency procedures and must work well under pressure.

Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Salary Statistics as of 2015

Average annual salary for a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) is $22579 based on statistics in the U.S. as of 2015. The highest salary recorded was $31180. The lowest salary reported was $17687. These figures will vary on a state to state basis as these are averages across all 50 states.

Median hourly wage for a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) is $11.23 based on statistics in the U.S. as of 2015. The highest hourly rate recorded was $15.5. The lowest hourly rate recorded was $8.8. These figures will vary on a state to state basis as these are averages across all 50 states.

Bonuses for a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) are based on the years of experience using statistics from the U.S. as of 2015. The average bonus recorded was $0 from people with 15+ years of experience. The average bonus recorded was $0 from people with under 1 year of experience.

These are the highest paying states for a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). These numbers are based off the median annual salary as of 2015.
California – $16,912 – $40,244
Florida – $16,238 – $40,501
Georgia – $18,146 – $39,792
Illinois – $11,693 – $35,895
North Carolina – $14,150 – $31,595
Pennsylvania – $17,655 – $40,414
Texas – $15,053 – $35,016

These are the highest paying cities for a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). These numbers are based off the median annual salary as of 2015.
Houston, Texas –
Chicago, Illinois –
Atlanta, Georgia –
Orlando, Florida –
Los Angeles, California –
Seattle, Washington –
Portland, Oregon –

This chart outlines the average annual salary of a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) from the past 5 years. In 2015 the average annual salary was $22579 while in 2007 it was just $20939.36

CNA Specialized Fields

  • Geriatric Aids: CNAs who work in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, are often called Geriatric aides and, as such, deal exclusively with the elderly population. Like CNAs in other types of facilities, Geriatric aides assist their patients with things like feeding, bathing, getting dressed, moving and repositioning. Care and resilience are required of CNAs in this type of job due to the emotional demands of becoming attached to patients who are in the last stages of their lives.
  • CNA Work Environment

    CNAs work in a variety of settings including clinics, hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, home health agencies, and patient homes. CNAs work hours similar to nurses which can include 8 hour shifts or 12 hour shifts. Work is available part time or full time. Significant turnover is a problem in the CNA field but most turnover is due to CNAs gaining advanced training in the nursing field to become an LPN or RN. CNAs are on their feet most of the time as these positions require frequent activity including setting up equipment, visiting, moving, repositioning and lifting patients. There is a relatively high rate of on-the-job injuries due to the physical demands of the job. In addition to its physical demands, the job can be emotionally taxing due to the emotional connections with patients and their families.

    How to Become a CNA

    To become a CNA, a high school education or equivalent and a postsecondary certificate is required. The certification involves going through a training course, which is offered at many different types of institutions including vocational schools, technical colleges and even online. Additionally, nursing homes and hospitals often hold short term, compacted training programs (for 6-8 weeks) for those looking to become a CNA. Community colleges offer more extensive training but are more expensive. Entrance to a CNA program usually requires a background check and a drug test. States require a competency exam that must be passed before one can be employed as a CNA. Contact the state Department of Health to sign up to take the exam. Exam costs vary, but usually costs around $75. A license must be obtained from the state health department after the exam is passed.

    Job Outlook

    The outlook for CNAs is positive. In 2010, over 1.5 million people were employed as CNAs. Job growth in the field is faster than average and is expected to grow by 20% or more from 2010-2020, adding more than 300,000 jobs. CNAs are in demand nationwide due to the growing elderly population requiring the care of CNAs in long term care facilities. The major employer in this sector will be nursing homes and other types of long-term care facilities for the disabled and chronically ill.

    Gender Statistics

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    Based on our stats gathered across the U.S. 9% of Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)s were males while 91% were females. These numbers are based on averages across all states combined. Some individual states may have a much different ratio however.

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