As nice as it would be to get the information with the click of a mouse, trying to figure out your future CNA salary is not quite as easy as doing a quick Google search. Instead, the money you’ll make as a CNA will depend on a whole bunch of different factors, including:
1. Your experience
Whenever you are just starting out, you can expect to be towards the bottom of the totem pole pay-wise. In fact, if you’ve got less than a year’s experience, your CNA salary will likely fall somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 – and you will probably be on the lower end of that range. In case you’re lucky, you might be able to start out in the higher 20s. When you are REALLY in luck, you might be able to break $30,000 – but don’t count on it!
If you’re not thrilled with those introductory numbers, just be patient. The more years you spend working as a certified nursing assistant, the more money you can expect to make. After a few years, you will probably be making close to $30,000 – either just above or slightly below.
Assuming you’ve got more than five years’ experience, your CNA salary will likely fall somewhere in the mid-$30,000 range.
Of course, these are just averages. Some experienced aides report making well over $40,000 each year! And, remember, there’s a whole lot more that goes into your CNA salary than just experience, so keep reading!
2. Where you work
Just like doctors and nurses, CNAs are needed in all kinds of different health facilities – from private doctors’ offices, to hospitals, to rehabilitation centers, to nursing homes, to schools, even to home-based medical services.
Typically, if you work in a facility that is run by the local or federal government, you can expect to make more money than you will in a private practice. Of course, provided that you can get a job at a thriving doctor’s office, you might be able to make all the money you need! It just depends on the specific facility you are dealing with.
Another important point to remember – places like hospitals and nursing homes are open all the time (instead of just during “normal business hours,” like private practices). That means you’ll have more chances for overtime. However, working in those facilities also means you will probably wind up working odd hours at some point, instead of the “normal” 9-to-5. You’ll have to decide whether the potential for working non-traditional hours is worth a slightly higher salary.
Your CNA salary won’t just depend on your work facility, though. The city you work in will also play a big role in the amount of money you make as a CNA. In most cases, CNA jobs in bigger cities come with higher paychecks.
3. What your resume looks like
The CNA industry is just like any other industry out there – if you have just got the bare-bones training under your belt, expect to only get paid a bare-bones CNA salary. If you want to earn a higher income, you will need to take advantage of different licensing and certification opportunities. After all, the more you can bring to the table, the more incentive an employer has to pay you.
In case you are focused on a certain specialty track, you can even expect a higher salary than the people with a bunch of certification classes under their belts. For example, if you have spent years working alongside an occupational and speech therapist, you can expect a better income than someone who has only helped elderly patients get in and out of bed in a nursing home.
But what if you don’t have the money to take a bunch of extra classes and set yourself apart?
Don’t worry; you are not out of luck! Some employers will actually pay for you to get additional CNA training whenever you agree to work for them for a certain amount of time. That way, you can get the extra training you need to give yourself an impressive-looking resume – without putting yourself in debt.
4. How much supervision you need
If you have demonstrated that you can work successfully without anyone “babysitting” you – like all alone in a home-based CNA position or in the ICU during a critical case, where everything is changing by the second – you can expect to make more money. After all, doctors and nurses don’t have time to hold your hand all day long; they have got too many responsibilities for that!
But what if you’re new to the industry and don’t have a proven track record yet?
Even though you are starting at the bottom, you can still work your way up provided you show that you can do the job independently. Work hard so that you can get a raise in your CNA salary after you have shown your bosses everything that you’re capable of.
The following graph shows the average salary of various CNA jobs:
US Department of Labor – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nursing-assistants.htm