Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

A nursing assistant is a good career for those looking for a bright future in medical field since they are in demand. Thus, read full CNA job description and salary to learn more about them.

$31,390 - $53,441
AVG    Annual    SALARY
$2,615 – $4,453
AVG    Monthly    SALARY
$15.13 - $24.94
AVG    Hourly    SALARY

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Salary And Job Description

What Is CNA?

CNAs or certified nursing assistants are paraprofessionals providing their services in the healthcare industry. Their primary responsibility is to provide assistance to the patients with their daily medical needs. A certified nursing assistant may take up jobs in long-term care facilities, hospitals, and even private homes. They generally lend their services as per the supervision of licensed practical nurses, registered nurses and other superior health care providers.

CNAs are assigned a wide range of tasks in the healthcare facilities. They are required to stay motivated at all times in order to lend the best services to the patients. They are usually the intermediate channel between the patient and superior healthcare providers and are required to develop effective skills for good communication with the patients, their families, and the healthcare providers. They also take frequent notes of the patient’s health and relay the concerns to their superiors so that a favorable care plan can be adopted.

CNAs are the ones who provide primary care to the patients and usually have better relationships with the patients than any other workers. However, they are not the same as medical aides and orderlies who assist the patients in wheelchairs or lend a helping hand with the medical equipment. The main difference is that although they have somewhat similar job profiles, medical aides do not require any certification whereas it is a must for the CNAs.

Educational Requirements For Being A CNA

A certified nursing assistant is not required to hold a post-secondary degree. However, it is a must for them to earn a certification by the time of joining. The basic requirements are that they should be above 18 years of age and should have a high school diploma. Depending on the legislation from where the training program is taken the total time for training usually lasts from 6 to 12 weeks. During the training period, they are taught about the supervised clinical work and basic CNA skills. The CNA training programs are generally offered by nursing homes, hospitals, community schools and technical and vocational schools and are required to cover at least 75 hours.

Many healthcare facilities also have cna continuing education while still in service. Sometimes, the employees even go a step further and pay for the training provided the newly trained CNAs provide their service to the healthcare facility in the ensuing period. All of this has become possible due to the online classes which can be fitted conveniently into the daily schedule without having to make compromises. After the training period has been completed, the candidates are required to appear for a competency test. Upon clearing the test, they are provided with a certification and may use state-specific titles.

Job Description And Duties of a CNA

Certified nurses provide the basic healthcare services to patients in nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and private homes. Some CNAs also find employment in outpatient clinics and doctor’s offices. They help the patients with daily care, such as the mouth and skin care, shampooing, bathing, feeding, dressing, bowel, and bladder care, providing assistance with the range of motion exercises as well as other therapies and taking vital signs on a frequent basis.

A cna caregiver may also help in transferring the patients from chair to bed or the other way round, turn them around in the sleeping position to prevent them from getting bedridden and help them walk. Such services are usually offered by a private duty cna. The nursing assistant duties in nursing home consist of observing the patients closely while documenting and reporting any changes to the superior healthcare providers. Sometimes, a CNA may also work at post-mortem houses.

The cna job description for resume always requires the mention of a few requirements such as patience and compassion. This is because sometimes, the cna job duties of a cna can get quite hectic. During such trying times, only an employee with a strong sense of character will be able to provide his services with a steady state of mind. Employers opting for cna home care also check if the nurses have efficient communicating skills as this can play a huge role in gathering information from the patient about their current medical condition, the medical history of the family and conveying it to the concerned medical team.

Working as a CNA can be quite hectic. It requires a lot of mental strength as well as physical stamina. They are required to stay on their feet all day, providing manual assistance and lifting or moving the patients the entire day. Also, they are dealing with the frail, sick and elderly throughout their working hours. Therefore, it becomes a must for the CNAs to stick to their work principles and work with patience, without which the working conditions can get quite stressful soon enough.

CNAs tend to have odd working hours. They may work day shifts, night shifts, and evening shifts. Since they provide the primary care to patients, it is a must for them to be present for the patient care at all times, even during the weekends and holidays. CNAs working in a hospital can report directly to the superior nurses or physicians if they are working in doctor’s chambers. Given below is the list of basic cna job description in hospital.

  • Bathing and dressing the patients
  • Serving meals and feeding the patients is required
  • Taking vital signs of the patients on a regular basis
  • Repositioning and turning the bedridden patients from time to time in order to prevent bed sores
  • Learn about the patient-specific care plan from the superior nurses and doctors and bringing it to practice
  • Empty and replace the bedpans
  • Move the patients from beds and into wheelchairs or exam tables and vice versa
  • Stay close to the patients and offer an immediate response to their calls
  • Examine the body of the patients and see if there have been any bruises or other wounds and injuries during the treatment period
  • Keep an eye out and immediately report it to the doctors if there appears to be blood in the urine or stool
  • Frequently clean and sanitize the area where the patients are kept
  • Change the bed sheets on a regular basis
  • Keep an eye on the necessary supplies and restock whenever they run out

The job description for cna may also get more specific depending on the area of working. Given below are the job descriptions for travel CNAs and operating room CNAs.

Travel CNA Duties And Responsibilities

  • Providing assistance with feeding, bathing and wearing clothes
  • Looking after the nutritional requirements and a timely administration of medicines
  • Helping the patients with exercises
  • Preparing meals for the patient as per the directions given by the doctor
  • Taking frequent measurements of temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and so on
  • Recording the changes in the medical condition of the patient and reporting to superiors about the same
  • Take measures to control infection

Duties And Responsibilities of the Operating Room CNAs

  • To make sure the recovery rooms and operation theatre are clean and well sanitized so as to prevent infection
  • Cleaning and sanitization of all the instruments required during the operation
  • To have all the operating tools and equipment arranged in a given systematic order
  • To ensure all the medicines are kept in order
  • Providing assistance during anesthesia and updating the surgeons on the equipment required during the procedure
  • Shifting the patients back to their room after the surgery
  • Looking out for vital signs in patients and helping them after the recovery
  • To make sure that the attachments such as oxygen masks are working properly
  • To have all the tools disinfected and stored away after the surgery
  • Keep a record of all the tools that have been used and replaced
  • Collecting specimens during the recovery period, dressing wounds and keep a constant check on the patients to see if they are comfortable.

CNA Salary

As per the statistics collected by the BLS survey, the median annual salary of the certified assistants was $28, 540 in May 2017 while the top 10% comprising of the highest paid employees earned a CNA yearly salary of $38,630 and more. The salaries as well the employment opportunities for a CNA can vary widely depending on the area of employment, local job markets, work history as well as education. The starting wages for certified assistant nurse lie around $9.94 per hour. It is usually the ones working in the operation theatres who are amongst the highest paid in this field. Unlike most other jobs, the cna job salary does not change much with experience. In fact, people working in this field hardly stay on the job for more than 20 years.

It has been estimated that currently, there are about 393,000 vacancies for the CNAs in the United States. Due to a sharp rise in the demand for healthcare facilities and private home care, there are more than enough job openings for the CNA nurses. However, the pay scale tends to vary considerably from one state to the other. The highest paid state is Alaska with an hourly salary of $14.36, followed by New York at $13.63 and Connecticut at $13.54 while the lowest paid state includes Nevada with an hourly salary of $12.23 and New Hampshire at just $12.24.

What is the Average CNA Salary in New York?

The median average salary for a Certified nursing assistant in New York is $37,674 as of November 28, 2017. It is also prone to vary slightly depending on certain conditions such as company size, the location of the industry, years of experience and education level. Either way, the salary usually ranges from $34,144 to $41,908 making New York one of the highest paid states in America. This salary is excluding the bonus and the various benefits and allowances that tend to have an impact on the base pay. This analysis has been made through the data collected by surveying hundreds and thousands of HR departments all across the state and companies of all sizes, thereby making the statistics highly reliable.

What is the Average Hourly Pay Rate for Certified Nursing Assistant?

As of November 28, 2017, the average hourly pay rate for the certified assistant nurses was $15 and can vary from 14 to 17 dollars depending on a large number of factors. This data for the given analysis were collected by Certified Compensation Professionals who have taken care to collect accurate information from the industries of all sizes.

What is the Median Annual Salary for Certified Nurse Assistant?

According to the data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected median annual salary of the certified nursing assistants stands at $26,590. They may vary slightly depending on the specialization taken up within the field, experience, location and more. It is an unfortunate reality that the job of a certified nursing assistant is not enough to make you rich. However, it can provide you with a strong foothold in the field of medicine and healthcare wherein you may extend your career opportunities by opting for higher education.

A more generalized rate of the salary is given in the following table.

CNA Salary Description
Basis Salary
Hourly Rate $9.60 – $15.46
Hourly Tips $0.00 – $4.87
Overtime $7.17 – $22.56
Bonus $1.63 – $1,566
Commission $0.00 – $1,600
Profit Sharing $0.00 – $1,973
Total Pay $19,932 – $33,640

The Earning Potential of a Certified Assistant Nurse

Similar to other jobs, the earning potential of a certified nurse is largely associated with the area of work. According to the statistics collected, the salary for the highest paid CNAs can even go as high as $36,170. This constitutes approximately the tops 10% of the employed CNAs. However, CNAs who are not happy with their salaries can always go for programs such as a licensed vocational nurse, licensed practical nurse or a vocational nurse and increase the scope for career and employment along with the pay scale.

Percentile Wage Estimates
Percentile 10% 25% 50% (Median) 75% 90%
Hourly Wage $9.64 $10.80 $12.78 $15.08 $18.22
Annual Wage $20,040 $22,470 $26,590 $31,370 $37,900
Highest Paying States
STATE Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Alaska $18.04 $3,126 $37,520
New York $16.49 $2,858 $34,300
Nevada $16.18 $2,804 $33,650
District of Columbia $16.05 $2,781 $33,380
California $15.76 $2,730 $32,770
Lowest Paying States
STATE Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Arkansas $10.94 $1,896 $22,760
Alabama $10.91 $1,890 $22,690
Mississippi $10.40 $1,803 $21,640
Louisiana $10.39 $1,800 $21,610
Puerto Rico $9.59 $1,662 $19,950
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas
AREA Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
(CA) San Francisco Redwood City $21.83 $3,784 $45,410
(AK) Fairbanks $20.17 $3,495 $41,940
(NY) Nassau County Suffolk County $18.63 $3,228 $38,740
(CA) San Francisco Oakland Hayward $18.56 $3,216 $38,600
(CA) Sacramento Roseville Arden Arcade $18.08 $3,133 $37,600
Lowest Paying Metropolitan Areas
AREA Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
(SC) Florence $10.05 $1,742 $20,910
(AL) Dothan $9.99 $1,730 $20,770
(AL) Auburn-Opelika $9.93 $1,720 $20,650
(MS) Hattiesburg $9.82 $1,702 $20,430
(LA) Lake Charles $9.82 $1,700 $20,410
Top Paying Non-Metropolitan Areas
AREA Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
(AK) Southeast $19.60 $3,396 $40,760
Nantucket Island $17.96 $3,112 $37,350
(AK) Balance $17.58 $3,048 $36,580
(CA) North Valley Region $17.48 $3,030 $36,360
(ID) Southwest $17.35 $3,007 $36,090
Lowest Paying Non-Metropolitan Areas
AREA Hourly Mean Wage Monthly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
(AL) Northeast $10.07 $1,745 $20,940
(GA) South $10.01 $1,735 $20,820
(SC) Pee Dee $9.93 $1,720 $20,650
(MS) Southeast $9.92 $1,720 $20,640
(GA) East $9.86 $1,708 $20,500


The demand for healthcare services is growing at a rapid rate which has given rise to more job vacancies and career opportunities. As of now, the CNAs, may find it quite easy to find employment in clinics and hospitals or even in private homes. With the rapidly growing demand, there are high chances for the opportunities with CNA nursing to advance even further, and the career prospects look rather interesting. It has been estimated that the employment opportunities for the CNAs are set to grow by 11% by 2026. However, this calculation has been made without taking into account short-term and local job and economic conditions. However, this also implies that the working conditions are going to get quite hectic for the CNAs, who may have to work irregular hours so as to cope up with the demands of the healthcare facility.

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