Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Salary by State

Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Salary Guide

Thinking about becoming a CNA? Then you’re probably wondering how much they make. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) earn an average annual salary of $30,290 or $14.56 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  

However, according to, the average certified nurse assistant salary is $35,164, ZipRecruiter reports an average annual salary of $40,170 or $19 an hour. 

Keep reading to learn more about CNA salaries including how they vary by state, place of work, years of experience, and more.


Annual Salary

Hourly Wage

New Jersey

































New York















Rhode Island






South Dakota



North Dakota



New Mexico



















































South Carolina















New Hampshire















North Carolina






West Virginia



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 According to, certified nursing assistant salaries increase substantially as they gain more experience. 

The salary paid to CNAs varies based on their work setting.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest salaries are paid to those working outside of medical facilities, while within the category of hands-on care facilities, specialty hospitals and general medical and surgical hospitals provide the highest compensation. 

  • Junior Colleges: $69,150
  • Scientific Research and Development Services: $48,020
  • Technical and Trade Schools: $50,270 
  • Specialty Hospitals: $38,780 
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $37,820 
  • Nursing Care Facilities: $35,160
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities: $34,130
  • Home Health Care: $32,160
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools: $48,020
  • Offices of Dentists: $55,870
  • Employment Services: $40,430


Certified nurse assistants can boost their salaries in a number of ways, including:  

The education required to become a CNA takes between four and twelve weeks, and once certified, you can immediately begin to work.  

Any nurse who is interested in earning a higher income can use their CNA certification as a foundation for further education, moving on to take online or in-person classes to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). You can even use it to earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) to become a Registered Nurse. 

Additionally, CNAs can take continuing education classes required to maintain certification and pursue certifications targeting specialized care skills that make them more valuable to their employer.  

Though most CNA positions have pre-established hourly wages, the historic nursing shortage has given skilled candidates greater leverage to negotiate for a higher pay rate. 

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If human resources are unable to increase your salary, they may have flexibility on hours or benefits, including tuition reimbursement or commuting expenses.   

Some practice settings are more demanding than others, and as a result, they pay higher wages. You can also leave hands-on care to work in an industry like insurance, which pays certified nurse assistants higher salaries. 

Travel health agencies pay healthcare professionals significantly higher wages than care facilities in exchange for their willingness to relocate to a new setting for an established period of time. 

Traveling certified nurse assistants can receive higher wages, more generous benefits, referral bonuses, and travel and housing stipends.   

Per Diem

Working per diem means that you are paid by the day based on the employer’s needs and your availability. These positions generally do not provide benefits, but they pay a higher hourly wage. 

Picking up some per diem hours is a great way to make additional income.  


Certified nurse assistant contracts are generally temporary positions for a specific period of time. Like per diem positions, they pay higher salaries than full-time jobs while offering more certainty on hours and duration, as well as generally providing a specific schedule.  


No matter what your work setting, if you work more than forty hours in a week, your employer is required to pay you a rate of one-and-a-half of your normal wages.  

Shift Differential

By volunteering to work less desirable shifts, including overnights, holidays, or weekends, certified nurse assistants can qualify for higher wages known as shift differentials.  


Many employers offer certified nurse assistants bonuses meant to either entice new employees or encourage existing employees to continue working with their facility. These can make a substantial difference, with some employers offering sign-on bonuses and referral bonuses.  

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Hazard Pay

Hazard pay is an increase in the salary paid for working under hazardous or extremely stressful conditions. 

Show Me CNA Programs

Becoming a certified nurse assistant offers numerous advantages including job stability and a solid salary and benefits. Making the choice of careers even better is the fact that the required education is so affordable. 

Though every program sets its own fees, the average cost of attending a certified nurse assistant program is approximately $1,500. 

This figure includes several hidden costs, including supplies, the expense of a required medical examination and criminal background check, and the cost of the certification test.  

With certified nursing assistants being paid an average salary of over $30,000 plus benefits and many being paid sign-on bonuses well over $3,000, it is easy to see that attending a career program is well worth the investment.

As an added incentive, many view becoming a CNA as a stepping stone to a more advanced nursing career, and having the experience of providing hands-on care provides a leg up when it comes to admission to registered nurse programs.   

 According to, the average Patient Care Technician salary in the United States is $34,328. The salary range typically falls between $29,233 and $37,909.   

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for a Phlebotomist is $40,580, with a range of between $30,250 and $51,610. reports that Medical Billing Specialists earn a national average salary of $45,590, with most earning between $39,000 and $53,000.  

The BLS reports Emergency Medical Technicians earn an average salary of $36,650.

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