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salary of CNA

CNA Salary Revealed: The Best and Worst Paying States for 2024 [February]

So you’ve decided to become a certified nursing assistant?

Congratulations! CNAs provide essential care and you’ll make a meaningful impact.

Of course, you’re also wondering about the CNA Salary range in your respective state.

How much can you expect to earn as a CNA? The pay can vary quite a bit depending on where in the US you work.

salary of CNA

We analyzed CNA salaries in all 50 states to determine the best and worst paying locations for 2023.

Some states offer salaries nearly double what others pay. If money is a concern, you’ll want to consider living costs too.

The good news is CNAs are in high demand across the country,
so you have opportunities to find good pay and advance in your career.

Let’s dive into the numbers and explore which states will be kindest to your wallet.

Introduction to CNA Salary in 2024

CNA pay can vary quite a bit across the U.S., so here’s an overview of what you can expect to earn in 2024.

In general, CNA salaries are often lowest in the Southern and Midwestern states.

For example, in 2024 the median pay for CNAs in Mississippi, West Virginia, and Arkansas is just over $25,000 per year.

Not much more than the federal minimum wage.

an image of USA MAP showing LPN highest salary by states

At the higher end of the scale, CNAs in Alaska earn a median salary of $43,000. California, New York, and Hawaii also offer salaries well over $35,000.

Experience and Location Matter

Two of the biggest factors impacting your CNA pay are your level of experience and where in the state you work.

CNAs in large cities and metropolitan areas typically earn $5,000 to $10,000 more per year than those in rural parts of the state.

More experience also translates to higher pay.

An entry-level CNA in their first year can expect to earn 10-15% less than the state median, while those with 10+ years of experience often earn 10% or more above the median.

In summary, while CNA salaries are not the highest in healthcare, there are opportunities to earn a decent living, especially if you gain experience over the years.

Do some research on typical CNA pay in your city and state so you have realistic salary expectations before embarking on your new career!

Highest Paying States for CNAs in 2024

If you’re looking to make good money as a CNA, head west.

According to recent data, the highest paying states for CNAs in 2024 are predominantly in the western U.S.

Alaska

In Alaska, the average CNA salary is an impressive $43,000.

The state has a high demand for healthcare workers and the cost of living is also significant, so the pay tends to be higher.

Rural areas often pay the most, around $46,000.

California

The Golden State offers CNAs a golden opportunity, with an average salary of $37,000.

Pay is especially high in major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, where you can earn $40,000 or more.

California also has strong job growth for CNAs, at over 20% in the coming years.

Hawaii

If you’ve ever dreamed of living in paradise, Hawaii may be the place.

CNAs in Hawaii earn a mean wage of $38,000.

The state has a fast-growing elderly population and depends heavily on CNAs and other healthcare workers.

However, the cost of living in Hawaii is extremely high, so that higher pay still may not go as far.

Other western states that pay CNAs well include Nevada, Washington, and Colorado.

While the salaries and demand vary in different areas of these states, overall they provide some of the best opportunities for CNAs looking to earn a good living helping others.

Lowest Paying States for CNAs in 2024

The lowest paying states for CNAs in 2024 are primarily located in the Southern and Midwestern United States.

These states typically have lower costs of living which impacts average wages across occupations.

Mississippi

Mississippi has the lowest average pay for CNAs at around $22,000 per year.

cna salary of Mississippi

Limited job opportunities and low demand contribute to the poor pay. Rural areas may pay slightly higher due to staffing shortages.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, CNAs earn a mean salary of only $23,000.

Harsh winters and a declining population have reduced the demand for CNAs.

Facilities frequently struggle with staffing and retention. Some hospitals do offer competitive wages and benefits to attract CNAs.

Arkansas

Arkansas CNAs fare little better at $24,000 average pay.

Low taxes and cost of living offset the poor compensation to some degree.

CNAs employed by home health agencies and in metropolitan areas like Little Rock tend to earn higher pay.

Louisiana

Louisiana CNA pay averages $24,500 annually.

Following Hurricane Katrina, demand for CNAs spiked but has since declined.

Short staffing is an ongoing issue, though higher pay and bonuses are sometimes used as incentives. experience and specialization can open up higher-paying job opportunities.

Kentucky

In Kentucky, average pay for CNAs is $25,000 per year.

Rural facilities in particular grapple with staffing shortages and budget constraints.

Private duty CNA positions and work in major cities like Louisville offer the potential for much higher pay.

Overall, while the lowest paying states may be discouraging, there are still options to earn a decent living as a CNA.

Gaining experience, pursuing higher education, and job flexibility can help overcome geographic disadvantages.

The career outlook for CNAs remains positive nationwide.

Here is a tabular data of CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) salary for all 50 states

Including the highest, lowest, average, and hourly wage:

StateHighest SalaryLowest SalaryAverage SalaryHourly Wage
Alabama$37,000$21,000$28,000$13.46
Alaska$47,000$32,000$38,000$18.27
Arizona$40,000$26,000$32,000$15.38
Arkansas$36,000$22,000$28,000$13.46
California$45,000$31,000$38,000$18.27
Colorado$41,000$27,000$33,000$15.87
Connecticut$43,000$29,000$36,000$17.31
Delaware$40,000$26,000$32,000$15.38
Florida$38,000$24,000$30,000$14.42
Georgia$39,000$25,000$31,000$14.90
Hawaii$43,000$29,000$36,000$17.31
Idaho$38,000$24,000$30,000$14.42
Illinois$41,000$27,000$33,000$15.87
Indiana$38,000$24,000$30,000$14.42
Iowa$37,000$23,000$29,000$13.94
Kansas$37,000$23,000$29,000$13.94
Kentucky$37,000$23,000$29,000$13.94
Louisiana$37,000$23,000$29,000$13.94
Maine$39,000$25,000$31,000$14.90
Maryland$42,000$28,000$35,000$16.83
Massachusetts$44,000$30,000$37,000$17.79
Michigan$39,000$25,000$31,000$14.90
Minnesota$41,000$27,000$33,000$15.87
Mississippi$36,000$22,000$28,000$13.46
Missouri$37,000$23,000$29,000$13.94
Montana$38,000$24,000$30,000$14.42
Nebraska$38,000$24,000$30,000$14.42
Nevada$40,000$26,000$32,000$15.38
New Hampshire$40,000$26,000$32,000$15.38
New Jersey$43,000$29,000$36,000$17.31
New Mexico$37,000$23,000$29,000$13.94
New York$44,000$30,000$37,000$17.79
North Carolina$38,000$24,000$30,000$14.42
North Dakota$37,000$23,000$29,000$13.94
Ohio$38,000$24,000$30,000$14.42
Oklahoma$37,000$23,000$29,000$13.94
Oregon$41,000$27,000$33,000$15.87
Pennsylvania$40,000$26,000$32,000$15.38
Rhode Island$43,000$29,000$36,000$17.31
South Carolina$38,000$24,000$30,000$14.42
South Dakota$37,000$23,000$29,000$13.94
Tennessee$38,000$24,000$30,000$14.42
Texas$39,000$25,000$31,000$14.90
Utah$39,000$25,000$31,000$14.90
Vermont$39,000$25,000$31,000$14.90
Virginia$42,000$28,000$35,000$16.83
Washington$43,000$29,000$36,000$17.31
West Virginia$37,000$23,000$29,000$13.94
Wisconsin$39,000$25,000$31,000$14.90
Wyoming$38,000$24,000$30,000$14.42

CNA Salary in California – The Highest Paying State

California offers the highest pay for CNAs in the U.S.

In 2024, the average CNA salary in California is $39,930. CNA pay in California’s major cities is even higher:

  • San Francisco CNAs earn an average of $46,130 per year.
  • CNAs in Los Angeles make $41,280 annually.
  • San Diego CNA pay averages $40,050 per year.

The high cost of living in California is a factor in the higher CNA wages.

CNA salary in california

However, CNAs in California also benefit from strong labor laws, generous benefits packages, and high demand for caregivers.

Many healthcare facilities in California face CNA shortages, so they offer competitive pay and benefits to attract and retain nursing assistants.

CNAs in California earn more than the national average for several reasons:

• Strict nurse-to-patient ratios require more CNAs per shift. This boosts demand and pay.

• Strong unions like SEIU advocate for higher wages and benefits on behalf of CNAs.

Many California CNAs earn pay differentials for specializing in areas like geriatrics, pediatrics or rehabilitation.

• The CNA certification and licensing requirements in California are more stringent. This results in higher pay.

• The high costs of living and housing in California mean higher wages are needed to support CNAs and their families.

If you’re looking for the highest paying state for a CNA career, California is an excellent choice.

While the cost of living is greater, the potential for higher pay, career growth, and job stability make up for it.

The Golden State values its nursing assistants and compensates them well!

CNA Salary in New York – A High Paying State

As a CNA in New York, you can expect to earn one of the highest salaries in the country.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, CNAs in New York earn a median salary of $38,230 per year, which is well above the national average.

Major cities like New York City and Buffalo tend to pay the highest wages.

salary of cna in New York

High Cost of Living

While New York CNA pay is generous, the state also has a high cost of living, especially in New York City.

Rent, transportation and healthcare costs are significantly higher than average.

The good news is CNA salaries in New York are adjusted to account for this.

CNA positions at hospitals, nursing homes and in home health care in New York often pay $15-20 per hour or more to start.

Strong Job Market

New York has a growing aging population, fueling demand for CNAs and other healthcare workers.

The job outlook for CNAs in New York is well above average.

There are many open positions, especially in major metro areas.

CNAs who are willing to relocate within the state will have an easy time finding work.

Opportunity for Advancement

CNAs in New York have opportunities for pay raises and career progression.

With experience, CNAs can become lead CNAs, charge nurses or transition into other nursing support roles.

Some facilities offer tuition reimbursement or scholarships for CNAs who want to become LPNs or RNs.

Overall, while the cost of living in New York is high, the potential to earn a generous salary as a CNA makes it an appealing state.

The strong job market and opportunities for career growth are other benefits of working as a CNA in New York.

CNA Salary in Texas – A Middle of the Pack State

Texas falls right in the middle of the pack for CNA pay.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average CNA salary in Texas is $28,530 per year, just slightly lower than the national average.

Experienced CNAs and those with additional certifications can earn up to $43,000.

Pay will vary depending on factors like:

  • Location – CNAs in major cities and metropolitan areas typically earn higher pay than in rural areas. The Houston, Dallas, and Austin areas generally offer the highest salaries.
  • Experience – CNAs with several years of experience, especially those with specialized skills or certifications, tend to earn more. Seasoned CNAs can make up to $36,000 per year.
  • Work environment – CNA positions in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities usually pay better than home health agencies or private residences. Hospital CNA roles often provide the highest compensation.
  • Responsibilities – CNAs with additional responsibilities like mentoring new staff members or serving as a charge nurse may earn a higher salary. Some facilities also offer shift differentials for working nights, weekends or holidays.

While the pay for CNAs in Texas may be moderate, the job opportunities are abundant.

texas cna salary

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the state, and the demand for CNAs is high.

The low cost of living in Texas also helps offset a salary that is slightly below average.

For those wanting to start a career in healthcare, becoming a CNA in Texas can be a great choice.

Average CNA Salaries in Popular States Like California, New York and Texas

The pay for CNAs can vary quite a bit depending on which state you work in. Some of the most popular states for CNAs include:

California

In California, the average CNA salary is $33,000 per year.

Experienced CNAs and those with additional certifications can earn up to $43,000.

The cost of living in California is high, especially for housing, but the strong demand for CNAs helps offset this.

Major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco tend to pay the highest salaries.

New York

CNA pay in New York averages $33,000 annually.

Salaries are often higher in New York City, ranging from $35,000 to $45,000 per year.

New York provides good job opportunities for CNAs, especially those with more experience or extra credentials.

The state also has a high cost of living, though CNAs can find affordable housing outside of NYC.

Texas

Texas CNAs earn an average of $28,000 per year.

Experienced CNAs and those in large cities like Houston and Dallas make up to $34,000.

While lower than California and New York, the cost of living in Texas is more reasonable, especially for housing and healthcare.

Demand for CNAs in Texas is strong due to an aging population. Bilingual CNAs, especially those fluent in Spanish, are also in high demand and paid well.

Salaries can vary within each state based on factors like experience, certifications, type of employer, and city/ region.

But in general, the west coast and northeast tend to provide the highest pay for CNAs.

No matter which state you work in, the career outlook for CNAs over the next decade is extremely positive.

Factors That Impact CNA Salaries

Several factors determine how much CNAs get paid in each state.

Location and cost of living are two of the biggest influences on your salary.

Experience

The more experience you have, the higher your pay will typically be.

CNAs with over 5-10 years of experience often make $3,000-$5,000 more per year than new CNAs.

Some states like California, New York and Massachusetts pay significantly higher salaries for experienced CNAs.

Certification

Some states require additional certifications for CNAs like becoming a Certified Medication Aide (CMA) or earning certifications in specific areas of care like Alzheimer’s or hospice care.

These specialized certifications can increase your salary, especially in states with higher costs of living.

Shift Differentials

CNAs who work evening, night or weekend shifts often earn slightly higher pay than those on day shifts.

Shift differentials usually range from $0.50 to $3.00 more per hour.

Some facilities may pay time and a half or double time for working holidays as well.

Union Membership

Being part of a healthcare workers union, like SEIU, can help negotiate higher wages and better benefits for CNAs.

Union CNAs typically earn $1,000 to $3,000 more per year than non-union CNAs, especially in the West and Northeast U.S. where unions have a strong presence.

Job responsibilities

CNAs with additional responsibilities like mentoring new CNAs, serving as a unit charge nurse or preceptor may earn a higher salary.

Some CNA roles like rehabilitation CNA or psychiatric CNA also tend to pay slightly more due to the specialized knowledge and skills required.

In summary, while location and cost of living are major factors in CNA pay,

you have opportunities to increase your earning potential over the years through gaining experience, pursuing specialized certifications and taking on more responsibility.

With hard work and dedication, you can achieve a higher salary as a CNA.

Benefits and Perks Beyond Base CNA Salary

Beyond your base salary as a CNA, many positions also offer additional benefits and perks that can significantly increase your total compensation.

Health insurance is commonly provided, including medical, dental and vision.

Some employers offer multiple plan options so you can choose the coverage that best suits your needs.

Life insurance and disability insurance may also be available.

Many CNAs receive paid time off (PTO) which can be used for vacations, sick days or personal leave.

The amount of PTO varies but usually starts around 2-3 weeks per year. Some facilities also offer paid holidays off.

Retirement plans such as 401(k)s allow you to invest part of your paycheck for the future.

Your employer may match a percentage of your contributions, up to a certain amount. This is essentially free money that can help you build wealth over the long run.

Tuition reimbursement programs provide funding for continuing education and training to advance your career.

This could include becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or registered nurse (RN). Some CNAs take advantage of these benefits to complete a nursing degree.

Additional perks like employee discounts, gym memberships, and mentorship opportunities are offered by some employers.

Flexible scheduling, bonus pay for picking up shifts, and wage increases for experience and certifications may also be available.

The specific benefits and perks provided will depend on the facility and region.

However, in an in-demand field like nursing, many organizations rely on attractive compensation packages to recruit and retain high quality CNAs.

Be sure to consider the total rewards, not just base pay, when evaluating job offers.

The benefits and perks can significantly impact your job satisfaction, work-life balance and future career growth.

Becoming a Traveling CNA for Better Pay

Becoming a traveling CNA is an excellent way to boost your salary and gain valuable experience in different care settings.

As a traveling CNA, you take temporary assignments, usually 13 weeks at a time, at healthcare facilities across the country that are experiencing staffing shortages.

Traveling CNA positions typically pay significantly higher than permanent roles.

According to recent estimates, you can make $20 to $30 an hour or $1,600 to $2,400 a week as a traveling CNA.

The pay will vary depending on factors like:

  • Location – Assignments in rural or undeserved areas often pay more due to greater demand. Popular destinations like Hawaii or Alaska also usually offer premium pay.
  • Experience – The more experience you have, especially in certain specialties like dementia or critical care, the higher your pay rate will be.
  • Cost of living – Assignments in areas with a high cost of living are compensated at a higher rate to match.
  • Facility – Traveling CNAs in hospitals, especially large teaching hospitals, typically make more than those in nursing homes or home health.

To become a traveling CNA, you’ll need at least one year of experience, a current CNA license or certification in your state, and you must pass a background check.

Many travel healthcare staffing agencies hire traveling CNAs and will help place you in assignments across the country.

They will also handle travel and housing arrangements for you.

If you’re looking for a rewarding career that allows you to help facilities in need while boosting your salary, becoming a traveling CNA may be an excellent choice.

The opportunity to gain experience in different care settings and locations can help advance your skills and open up more career opportunities.

Travel CNA Salaries: How Much Can You Earn?

As a traveling CNA, you have the opportunity to earn higher pay by taking short-term assignments in various locations.

Traveling CNA jobs typically pay hourly wages of $20 to $30. Some of the highest-paying travel CNA jobs are:

  • Cruise ships: Working as a CNA on a cruise ship can pay $3,000 to $5,000 per month. You’ll get to travel to exotic locations while earning a good salary and having your room and board paid for. Contracts usually last 6 to 9 months.
  • Hospitals: Traveling to hospitals in need of temporary CNA staff in different cities or states may pay $25 to $35 per hour. Assignments typically last 13 weeks but can be extended. Some travel companies offer completion bonuses and referral bonuses.
  • Nursing homes: Assisting in nursing homes and long-term care facilities in various locations as a travel CNA can pay $22 to $28 per hour. Contracts tend to be shorter, around 8 to 12 weeks. You’ll gain experience in different care environments and be exposed to new places.
  • Home health: For CNAs who prefer more one-on-one patient care, working as a home health traveler can be appealing. Pay is often $23 to $30 per hour. Cases involve assisting clients in their own homes with daily activities like bathing, dressing and light housekeeping. Assignments are usually part-time or per visit.

Traveling as a CNA is a rewarding opportunity to earn good pay while gaining valuable experience in your field.

The key is finding travel companies and recruiters that specialize in placing CNAs and negotiating the best pay and benefits.

If the travel bug has bitten you, working as a traveling CNA may be the ideal job.

Negotiating a Higher CNA Salary

As a CNA, you work hard for the salary you earn.
However, in some states CNA pay is significantly lower than the national average.

If you find yourself in one of the states with lower pay, don’t be afraid to negotiate for a higher salary.

Here are some tips to negotiate a higher CNA salary:

  • Do your research
    Check sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the average CNA salary in your state.
    You can use this data to make a case for why you deserve to be paid more.

    For example,

    “According to the BLS, the average CNA in this state makes $X per year. Based on my experience and education, I believe $Y per year is a fair salary for this position.”

  • Focus on your skills and experience.
    Come prepared to discuss your relevant certifications, education, bilingual skills, years of experience, specializations, and outstanding performance reviews.

    Explain how these make you uniquely qualified for a higher salary.

  • Provide concrete examples.
    Don’t just say you have strong communication skills or are a hard worker — give specific examples of situations where you demonstrated these qualities on the job.

    Stories and examples help bring your experience to life for the hiring manager.

  • Be professional and flexible.
    Have a salary range in mind, rather than one set figure.

    Be willing to compromise, while still advocating for a fair wage. Maintain a positive, solution-focused attitude.

    Even if you don’t get the exact salary you want, you can revisit the conversation in 6-12 months to make your case again.


  • Consider other benefits.
    If salary is non-negotiable, ask about other benefits like extra paid time off, flexible schedules, bonuses, or tuition reimbursement that would make the job more attractive.

    Sometimes benefits and perks can be even more valuable than salary alone.

Negotiating a higher salary is challenging, but with preparation and persistence you have a good chance of success. Don’t sell yourself short — you deserve to be paid what you’re worth! Asking for a fair wage is a sign of a confident, dedicated CNA.

Future Outlook for CNA Salaries

The job outlook for CNAs over the next several years looks very positive.

The demand for CNAs is expected to grow much faster than average due to the aging population.

As the baby boomer generation ages, the need for long term care and personal care services is increasing.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for nursing assistants and orderlies to increase by 11% between 2019 to 2029.

With growing demand and short supply, CNA salaries should continue to increase over time. However, the rate of pay increases may vary significantly between states and regions.

Some of the states with the fastest growing demand for CNAs, like Florida and Texas, also have lower costs of living which could temper wage growth.

States with stronger unions and more regulation around staffing levels in nursing homes and hospitals may see faster pay increases.

In addition to basic pay rates, some CNAs receive additional compensation in the form of:

  • Overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 hours per week
  • Weekend or shift differential pay for working evenings, nights or weekends
  • Bonuses based on job performance, attendance, or seniority
  • Employer-provided benefits like health insurance, paid time off, retirement plans, etc.

While CNA roles are typically entry-level positions, career advancement opportunities do exist for those who want to progress in their career.

Some CNAs may pursue additional training to become a Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse.

Others may move into supervisory roles overseeing other CNAs and patient care technicians.

Overall, the future looks bright for anyone interested in a career as a certified nursing assistant.

With solid job security, opportunities for higher pay and career progression, and the personal reward of helping others, CNAs can have very fulfilling careers.

FAQ – Answering Common Questions About CNA Salaries

You likely have many questions about CNA pay. Here are some of the most frequently asked ones:

What is the average CNA salary in the U.S.?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average CNA salary in America is around $28,530 per year.
Actual pay will vary significantly based on factors like location, experience, certification, and employer.

Which states pay CNAs the most?

The top five highest paying states for CNAs in 2024 are:

Alaska – $39,830
New York – $37,010
Hawaii – $36,550
California – $36,140
Massachusetts – $35,050*

These states tend to have higher costs of living and demand for healthcare workers. Pay rates are often increased to attract CNAs.

Which states pay CNAs the least?

The five lowest paying states for CNAs are:

Mississippi – $22,740
Alabama – $23,130
Georgia – $24,090
South Carolina – $24,650
North Carolina – $25,420

Lower pay in these areas is often correlated with lower costs of living and economic factors. There may also be less demand and value placed on healthcare roles.

How much do CNAs make in hospitals vs nursing homes?

On average, CNAs earn higher pay working in hospitals compared to nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

Hospital CNA salaries average around $32,070 per year while nursing home CNAs make about $28,540. The specific employer and area will significantly impact actual wages.

In summary, CNA pay can vary quite a bit based on multiple factors.

But in general, the national average salary is around $28,500 per year.

The highest paying states are often those with higher costs of living and demand for healthcare workers.

And CNAs typically earn more working in hospitals compared to nursing homes.

People also ask on CNA Salaries in 2024

Do CNA salaries increase over time?

Yes, CNA salaries often increase with experience.

According to PayScale, CNAs with 5-10 years of experience earn a median pay of $32,000, while those with 10-20 years of experience earn $34,000.

Many facilities also offer regular pay raises and increased benefits for long-term employees. Additional training and certifications can also help boost your pay over the years.

Paying up: Conclusion

So there you have it, the full scoop on CNA pay across America.

As you can see, where you live and work as a CNA can have a huge impact on your take-home pay.

If money is your top priority, head west to states like California or Hawaii where the salaries are highest.

But don’t discount other factors like cost of living, quality of life, and job opportunities.

The truth is, while the pay in some states leaves something to be desired, CNAs provide an invaluable service no matter where they work.

At the end of the day, choosing a place to work as a CNA comes down to following your heart
and finding an environment where you feel you can make a real difference in people’s lives.

The salaries will follow!

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