Once you complete your CNA training and receive your certification, you are ready to embark upon your new career in the fast paced field of health care. Before accepting the first job that offers you a full time position, or agreeing to be placed in a facility that your school has provided for you, read this article. There are certain factors that can affect how much your annual income will be.
The average hourly wage for a qualified certified nursing assistant is just over $11.00. The middle percent of CNA’s earn between $9.70 and $13.75 per hour. That’s a pretty big difference in hourly wage. When looking at this range from an annual range, let’s look at both figures.
$9.70 per hour / full time as a certified nursing assistant adds up to $20,176 annually. On the other hand, a $13.75 per hour position as a CNA results in an annual income of $28,600. Can you use an extra $8,000 per year? I’m sure we all could. So, what can you do to help land the highest paying nursing assistant job possible, even fresh out of school?
Where You Apply Makes a Big Difference to Your Earnings as a Certified Nursing Assistant
Many newly certified nursing assistants may apply at the local nursing home. Seems like a good choice, right? Possibly, if you live in the right area, but according to statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top paying CNA jobs aren’t found at most elderly care facilities.
Here’s the breakdown of pay averages according to facility:
- Employment Agencies and Services – $12.10 per hour
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals – $12.00 per hour
- Nursing Homes and Nursing Care Facilities – $11.10 per hour
- Community Care Facilities and Adult Day Care for the Elderly – $10.90 per hour
- Private Home Health Care – $10.50 per hour
As you can see, although nursing home positions are middle of the road on the pay scale, you may want to try a placement agency as your first option. Employment services also have the benefit of interviewing you before the actual facility does. They will be able to assess your strong points, let you know what you can expect on your first interview with a particular facility, and help you gain some much needed experience by placing you in a position that you may or may not stay with.
The Benefits of an Employment Service
Employment services will often help you get your feet wet, by allowing you to work as a temporary employee in a certain facility for a few weeks before moving you on to another position. This will allow you to build your resume and make you more employable to the final facility you want to work for.
By letting the employment service know what your salary goals are, you can devise a plan of action that will put you on a fast track to success. This is a far better option than sticking with a certain center, clinic, or facility for a year or more only to find out that there’s not much room for salary improvement.
A Proactive Approach to Your CNA Wages
Even though a career as a certified nursing assistant is considered entry level for the health industry, you definitely can position yourself for the highest possible income level. How? Taking a proactive approach during the interview process is an excellent starting point.
Although the interview process is about whether you are eligible for the position or not, don’t forget to consider the other end of the spectrum. After your potential employer is finished asking about your skills, education and goals, they always ask if you have any questions. Instead of nervously passing up this opportunity, go ahead and ask questions like the following:
- What is the average starting rate of pay?
- Are there any benefits, such as health care or dental, included?
- Is there room for advancement here? Could I move forward to management if I display the proper skills and leadership qualities?
If the answer to these questions is yes and the starting rate of pay is within the range you can live with, congratulations, you are well on your way to a rewarding health care career as a CNA.