How Much Does A Nurse Assistant Make?

How Much Does A Nurse Assistant Make?

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for nursing assistants in the USA is expected to grow by 4% between 2022 and 2032. As per the data, the US sees around 209,400 new nursing assistants entering the workforce each year. There is a lot of demand for these professionals, and their pay reflects it.

Male nurse measures blood pressure to senior man while being in a home visit.

Career Growth and Opportunities

The salary of a nurse assistant varies depending on many factors, like state, experience level, additional certification courses, healthcare facility, and specialized training. However, the average salary starts well above minimum wage.

Plus, a career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) offers substantial potential for advancement. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most vacancies for nursing assistants arise from the transfer of the existing workforce to other occupations in the related fields. There are various other occupations similar to nursing assistants, like:

  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Licensed vocational nurses
  • Occupational therapy assistants
  • Physical therapist assistant
  • Registered nurses

All of these occupations help you further advance your career in the medical field. You can also pursue specialized courses such as a patient care technician course, a hybrid phlebotomy course, or a clinical medical assistant course to open doors to other job opportunities.

If you look forward to building your career in healthcare, a CNA certification is a good place to start. If you want to build your income over time, this career is the perfect place to start ditching your dead end job and embracing a livable and growing wage.

Salary Trends for Nursing Assistants in 2024

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average pay of a nursing assistant in 2022 was $35,740 per year, equivalent to around $17 per hour.


The latest data hasn’t yet been released by BLS. However, assuming the growth rate to be 4%, the average salary for a nursing assistant has increased to $46,937 per year, as per The hourly rate may range anywhere from $15 to $22 per hour, depending on the experience level and industry. Also, entry-level positions can earn an average of $31,543 per year.

States Paying the Highest Average Salary to Nursing Assistants

As per the 2022 data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest-paying state for CNAs is Alaska. However, the number of employment opportunities isn’t high as compared to other states.

The top-paying states for nursing assistants are:

  • Alaska
  • District of Columbia
  • California
  • New York
  • Oregon

As per the data from, the highest-paying states with average salaries are:

  • Alaska ($42,500)
  • New York ($40,640)
  • California ($39,280)
  • Hawaii ($38,650)
  • Virgin Islands ($38,000)
  • Massachusetts ($37,160)
  • Oregon ($37,100)

States With The Highest Employment Levels

The figures mentioned below are as per the BLS 2022 figures. The states with the highest employment levels of nursing assistants (the in-bracket figures show the number of vacancies) are:

  • California (99,930)
  • Florida (89,110)
  • Texas (81, 170)
  • New York (80,100)
  • Pennsylvania (66,800)

So, even though you may find the highest-paying nursing jobs in Alaska, the number of openings may not be enough. Therefore, as a nursing assistant aspirant, it is important to consider the employment levels to increase your chances of getting hired quickly. Note that Texas is an excellent place to discover open CNA positions that can pay you well even from the beginning of your career.

Another factor that can help you seek a good nursing assistant position is exploring the various industries where medical nurse assistants are required.

To make your task easier, here are some of the industries that pay the highest to nursing assistants, as per

  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  • Educational services
  • Public Administration
  • Finance
  • Accommodations and food services

Industries With the Highest Level of Openings For Nursing Assistants

Rather than going for the highest-paying industries, opting for industries with more number of openings increases your chances of getting hired quickly. Do you have any prior interests in working in a particular industry? If it’s in the medical field, there are greater chances of getting the job you desire.

Doctor or nurse caregiver showing a prescrption drug bottle to senior woman at home or nursing home

Here are some of the locations with the highest employment levels as per BLS:

  • Nursing care facilities with over 4,57,000 openings
  • General medical and surgical hospitals with around 4,00,000 openings
  • Home healthcare services with around 80,000 openings
  • Employment services with around 50,000 openings

Choose the healthcare setting of your choice with a CNA course that builds your skills and your career options.

How Do You Maximize Your CNA Earnings?

You can start preparing well ahead to ensure you get the best available nursing assistant job in the USA. For this, you can take advantage of these tips to maximize your CNA earnings:

1. Hone your skills through certification and courses

Getting additional certifications in a similar field will help you skim to the top. Attending CNA classes or getting additional certifications to become a clinical medical assistant or certified phlebotomy technician will make you eligible for higher-paying jobs.

You can further attend seminars and workshops on healthcare to keep yourself updated with the latest healthcare practices and technologies.

2. Research industries

Nursing assistants are needed in hospitals and in a wide variety of other industries like healthcare, finance, specialized fields, rehabilitation centers, and more. You should explore all the potential high-demand industries for CNAs in your local area to understand the salary structure in different settings.

3. Seek specialization in particular medical areas

To increase your chances of getting hired as a specialist, you can focus on a specific niche. For instance, you can become a child care specialist, dementia care specialist, hospice care specialist, or therapist.

4. Know your worth

The data mentioned in this article will help you know the prevailing expected salary for a nursing assistant job so that you can negotiate a fair wage.

To receive a fair salary, highlight your achievements, skills, experience, and the certifications you have acquired. How you approach the negotiation makes a big difference. Make sure you know your worth and communicate it respectfully and professionally.

In Summary

A nurse assistant can earn anywhere between $35,000 and $47,000 in the USA in 2024, depending on various factors such as type of industry, location, level of experience, and possession of additional certifications.

There are substantial career prospects opened after being a nursing assistant. This further helps you transition to interesting and high-paying jobs. If you want to start your career as a nursing assistant, we are happy to help. Our CNA course only takes about 6 weeks to complete, and you could graduate with your certification in hand. Contact us today to learn more.


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