At the heart of virtually every person’s decision to become a CNA is the noble desire to help people in their greatest time of need. However, this desire not means that the work has to be done for free. The good news is that new CNAs can expect a competitive salary that will only grow with time. If you’re still in the process of researching whether or not this career choice is actually right for you, it makes sense to naturally wonder what type of CNA salary you can expect to have.
There are a few different factors that determine the salary of a CNA, and some of these factors can even be controlled by the actual CNA.
The first is definitely experience. Entry-level CNAs are expected to “pay their dues” much like other entry level workers in other industries, in order to get the experience necessary to move to bigger and better positions. However, this is not an area that’s completely out of the control of the CNA. Gaining experience ahead of time as a volunteer in hospice care or another allied health position can often allow the new CNA the necessary leverage to negotiate a slightly higher salary. The key to keep in mind is to provide a solid value to the employer at all times. Anything you can do to set yourself aside from the other CNA candidates is definitely a good thing.
Another area that affects CNA salary is location. The location of a CNA job opening is a major factor in determining how much the position will actually offer. If the job opening is in a smaller city or town, it will be harder to actually get a larger starting salary than if the job opening is in a major city. This is because most opening salaries are based on the cost of living for that particular area, and CNA jobs are not an exception to this rule. If you are finding that the CNApositions offered in your area are not to your liking, you may want to consider moving to a larger area where there are more opportunities available. Again, this is definitely general information and every area will vary in terms of salary.
The size of the facility will also make a difference in terms of the salary offered. A small home aide facility may not be able to offer as much as an upscale retirement community or a full fledged hospital. Knowing what type of organization, you are applying for employment to can help you determine how much leeway you have with respect to CNA salary.
One factor to also consider as you begin reviewing potential CNA salaries is the possibility of bonuses. Many positions that have been open for a long time often come with bonuses to help the employer find someone to fill it. The additional money they would have to pay pales in comparison to having someone qualified on staff to take care of patients and otherwise keep order in the facility. While some bonuses are indeed paid upfront upon actually signing an offer of employment, many bonuses are actually paid out after a certain amount of days have been worked. Even if the job does not have an advertised bonus, it is always worth your time to ask the employer if the position qualifies for any sign on bonuses. The worse they can tell you is no, and it becomes your decision of whether or not to continue to seek employment within that organization.
Overall, CNA salary is just one key in determining whether or not this career path is right for you. Naturally, you do not want to enter this profession just for the money. However, if you are truly serious about helping others as a CNA, you’ll find that the standard CNA salary offered is actually very competitive.
CNA Salaries by State
While Certified Nursing Assistants may not be the highest-paid health care workers in the country, they definitely fare better than others. As employer demand for CNA holders continues to rise, room for salary negotiation will also continue to increase for those that are certified. As expected, those working in larger metropolitan areas such as Albany, New York, and Sacramento, California can expect to earn a higher CNA salary than those found in less populated, rural areas.
Nevertheless, almost all health care facilities in various states provide bonuses and other fringe benefits to their CNA employees. These include pensions and 401(k) insurance. They are usually given their own health care and life insurance benefits, which may even extend to their immediate family members. The clinic hours can sometimes be varied, but they are entitled to paid leaves.
Moreover, CNAs who are working in Medicare/Medicaid facilities can request reimbursement for their CNA training after its successful completion. Some nursing homes and hospitals also support their employees by letting them undertake paid training in affiliated schools.
Many states have reciprocity agreements, which means state-approved CNAs can move out and work in another state without having to retake the training and examination. Generally, they will only require endorsements; however, in some cases challenging the exam might be required.
There’s a lot of room for career growth for CNAs. Because of their formal training, they can apply favorably to a Licensed Practical Nursing program should they choose. Another option afterwards is to move on to Registered Nursing, earning better salaries and benefits.
Knowledge is power. Knowing what the average pay rate is for nursing assistants in your State will give you greater confidence when it comes to negotiating your starting salary or commanding a pay raise.
Below you will find the latest data for CNA salary by state, courtesy of Salary.com. Salaries were calculated based on average data taken from each state’s capital city. Both salaries and hourly wages are indicated as a range.
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