Of the many ways you can break into the field of nursing, becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, is among the quickest and easiest. In fact, many who aspire to be registered nurses one day begin by earning their CNA certifications. After all, in just four to 12 weeks, you can earn the credentials you need and can start applying for jobs as a CNA.
Like many, you're probably wondering what to expect in terms of compensation. As with any career, the amount you can expect to earn as a CNA depends on a variety of factors. Geography is among the biggest of them. Indeed, CNAs in some states make far more than CNAs in others. We've compiled a list of the 15 states offering top salaries for CNAs. Read on to learn more.
Top 15 States Where CNAs Earn the Most
All of the information below is current as of May 2019 and has been pulled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Alaska - Annual mean CNA salary in AK is $40,320, or $19.38 per hour. Estimated employment for CNAs in AK is 1,730. The highest paying areas are large metro regions like Fairbanks (annual mean wage: $41,900) and Anchorage (annual mean salary: $38,430). The AK nonmetropolitan area is the nation's top most paying nonmetropolitan area, with the annual mean wage being $42,660.
- New York - Annual mean CNA salary in NY is $38,810, or $18.66 per hour. Employment estimate for CNAs in NY is 85,090, which is the nation's third highest employment level for CNAs. New York is therefore a great state for CNAs not just in terms of compensation, but also in terms of job availability. The New York metropolitan area shares the nation's highest employment level in metropolitan areas for CNAs with NJ's Newark and PA's Jersey City, with the employment being 93,850. The three metropolitan areas also share the 10th position in the list of the nation's top paying metropolitan areas for CNAs.
- Hawaii - Annual mean CNA wage in HI is $37,710, or $18.13 per hour. Estimated employment for CNAs in HI is 4000. The Hawaii / Kauai nonmetropolitan area is the nation's second highest paying nonmetropolitan area with a mean annual wage of $37,500. Among the nation's top paying metropolitan areas for CNAs are Hawaii's Kahului, Wailuku and Lahaina, with the annual mean wage being $40,080.
- California - Annual mean CNA salary in CA is $36,630, or $17.61 per hour. Employment estimate for CNAs in CA stands at 100,190. California is not only a top state for CNAs, but it is routinely listed as a top place for RNs and LPNs too. Metropolitan areas with the highest employment level for CNAs in CA are Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim. The top paying metropolitan areas of CA for CNAs include Salinas, San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Vallejo, Fairfield, Sacramento, Roseville, Arden and Arcade. The North Coast Region of California is among the top paying nonmetropolitan areas for CNAs in the U.S., with the annual mean wage being $36,040.
- District of Columbia - Annual mean salary for CNAs in D.C. is $35,320, or $16.98 per hour. Estimated employment for CNAs in this state is 3460. Washington, D.C. is among the nation's metropolitan areas with the highest employment level for CNAs, with the employment being 26,310.
To complete our list of 15 top paying states for CNAs, the following information has been pulled from Salary.com, which shows the latest annual median wage as opposed to what BLS shows - annual mean wage.
- Connecticut - The median annual salary for CNAs in CT is $35,209.
- Washington - In WA, CNAs earn a median income of $34,817 per year.
- Rhode Island - The median salary for CNAs in RI is $34,360 per year.
- Delaware - CNAs in Delaware earn a median salary of $34,168 per year.
- Maryland - CNAs in MD make a median of $33,552 per year.
- Illinois - CNAs in Illinois earn a median of $33,413 per year.
- Nevada - CNAs in Nevada earn a median wage of $33,354 per year.
- Minnesota - In MN, CNAs earn a median wage of $33,289 per year.
- New Hampshire - In NH, CNAs earn a median of $33,029 per year.
- Michigan - CNAs in MI earn a median wage of $32,567 per year.
Top Metro Areas by Salary for CNAs
Finally, here's a quick rundown of the top 5 metropolitan areas for CNAs in the U.S.:
- Salinas, CA - Annual mean wage: $46,170, or $22.20 per hour
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA - Annual mean wage: $45,100, or $21.68 per hour
- Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA - Annual mean pay: $44,710, or $21.50 per hour
- Fairbanks, AK - Annual mean salary: $41,900, or $20.15 per hour
- Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI - Annual mean pay: $40,080, or $19.27 per hour
As you can see, opportunities for competitive pay and excellent job security abound for CNAs around the country, so sign up for CNA training today.