State-tested nursing assistants, or certified nurse assistants, provide patient care under the direction of a registered nurse or licensed vocational nurse. Federal law requires all nurse’s aides who work in nursing homes to be certified by the state in which they work. To become certified, an assistant must successfully complete a training course approved by her state and then pass the state’s test for competency. In 2011, the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics published detailed salary information for STNAs and CNAs as of May 2010. The salary data excluded nurse’s aides working in psychiatric facilities and home health care aides.
National Salary Data
Nationwide, the average annual salary was $25,140. Approximately 10 percent earned $17,790 or less per year, and 10 percent earned $34,580 or more per year.
Employment and Salary by Industry
Out of 1,451,090 nursing aides, nursing care facilities employed 616,590, general hospitals employed 385,970 and senior community care facilities employed 168,960. Salaries paid by these employers were not among the highest in the occupation. Nursing homes paid an average of $24,250, hospitals averaged $26,770 and senior facilities paid an average of $23,430. The four best-paying industries were the federal government, insurance companies, post-secondary schools and state governments. Average annual salaries paid by these employers were $35,730, $33,120, $31,410 and $29,100, respectively.
Highest and Lowest Salaries by State
STNAs earned the highest average salary in Alaska, $34,210. In Nevada, the average annual salary was $31,370, slightly higher than the average in New York, which was $31,230. Nurse’s aides in Hawaii earned an average of $31,020 annually, and in Connecticut, the average was $30,590. The lowest average salary was $19,680 in Mississippi. In Louisiana, the average salary was $20,210, and it was $20,780 in Oklahoma.
Cities with Highest Salaries
Nursing assistants earned an average of $35,160 in the greater Nassau, New York, area. In the San Jose metropolitan area, the average annual salary was $34,660, which was $50 more than the average in the greater San Francisco area. In the Anchorage, Alaska, area, the average salary was $33,580, and it was $33,480 in the Oakland-Hayward-Fremont area of California. CNAs in the Las Vegas, Nevada, metropolitan area earned an average of $33,340, and they earned an average of $33,270 in Fairbanks, Alaska.