Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Jobs


Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are sometimes called nursing aides, nurse’s aid, nursing assistant, or patient care assistant. They usually work under the supervision of a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN), or a registered nurse (RN). These individuals usually have basic nursing skills and have typically completed a CNA program or certification. They are often the principal caregivers in nursing homes and residential care facilities. They could also provide direct caregiving services to care recipients in the care recipient’s own home.


What does a certified nursing assistant do?

A certified nursing assistant’s job description includes providing patients (often the elderly or people who have a disability) with basic care. They also help care recipients with activities involved in daily living. These duties could include assisting a care recipient with personal hygiene, including grooming, bathing, and getting dressed. Certified nursing assistants may prepare and serve meals and help the care recipient eat if they cannot manage it independently. Other certified nursing assistant job responsibilities involve assistance with repositioning, turning, or moving from a bed or chair into a wheelchair if one is required.


There are some medical care-related tasks that could fall to a certified nursing aid. These include taking the care recipient’s vital signs like their blood pressure and temperature. Certified nursing assistants also need to observe and enquire about the patient’s health concerns, record these concerns, and bring them to the attention of the care recipient’s healthcare professionals. In some states, certified nursing assistants may be allowed to dispense medication if they have completed the relevant training.


Facilities That Employ the Most CNAs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identified several industries that employed the most certified nursing assistants in May 2020. Nursing care facilities (or skilled nursing facilities) are the most significant employment source for certified nursing assistants, employing over 500,000 individuals. General medical and surgical hospitals are the second-largest employer group for certified nursing assistants, employing close to 400,000 persons in the role.


Continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly are third on the list. Nearly 80,000 certified nursing assistants provided home healthcare services. The fifth-largest employment sector for certified nursing assistants was individual and family services, with only slightly more than 40,000 persons working in this field.


Highest-Paying Jobs For Certified Nursing Assistants

According to the BLS, the highest paying industry for certified nursing assistants to work in is junior colleges. The mean annual wage for certified nursing assistants in junior colleges is $49,250 per year. That means that 50% of individuals in these roles earn more than that amount, while the other 50% earn less than that amount.


The next highest paying industry is colleges, universities, and professional schools – offering a mean annual wage of $44,870. Next is the federal executive branch, then scientific research and development services, and lastly, outpatient care centers.


States That Employ the Most Certified Nursing Assistants

Some states have a higher demand for certified nursing assistants than others. The top five states with the highest employment rate of certified nursing assistants are California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania.


States with the highest concentration of jobs in the certified nursing assistance field include Rhode Island, North Dakota, Kansas, Maine, and Arkansas. These states have a higher concentration of CNA jobs than the national average for this occupation.


States With the Highest Salaries for Certified Nursing Assistants

As with most professions, the mean annual wage differs depending on where an individual works.


Alaska is the state that pays the most for those in a certified nursing assistant role. Certified nursing assistants in this state, on average, earn around $42,500 annually. New York has the second-highest mean annual wage for certified nursing assistant employees, with individuals earning on average $40,620. In California, the average CNA salary is $39,280 per year. Hawaii-based certified nursing assistants earn around $38,650. Massachusetts is the fifth-highest paying state for people in a CNA position. 


Career Outlook for Certified Nursing Assistants

The demand for certified nursing assistants is predicted to grow by 8% between 2019 and 2029. That is faster than the average for all occupations in the U.S. The health care industry is expected to see an estimated 174,000 job openings for certified nursing assistants for each year between 2019 and 2029.


As baby boomers are becoming older, more individuals will be required for these individuals, especially in nursing and residential care facilities. That said, cuts in government-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid could see a decline in certified nursing assistants being employed in long term care facilities. A shift in government funding programs and patient preferences could see a change in where certified nursing assistants end up working. Because of this, there could be a shift away from certified nursing assistants needing to work in an assisted living facility. Instead, the demand for in-home care and community rehabilitation services is likely to increase.


The home-care industry could see even more significant growth. More people may prefer receiving care in their own homes, especially considering the Covid 19 pandemic. This is yet to be supported by statistics.


CNA jobs are mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding. They are also greatly rewarding. The salary for someone in a certified nursing assistant role varies depending on the state they work in. It also varies from industry to industry. The industries that employ the most individuals in this profession are not necessarily industries where these workers receive the highest salaries. While more assisted living facilities employ CNAs, and many CNAs provide private in-home care, the academic and research industries tend to pay these individuals more.


The demand to fill certified nursing assistant roles is predicted to grow. The industry has a higher national growth rate for persons in this profession. In-home or community rehabilitation caregiving roles are likely to grow as government-funded programs and personal preferences come into play with the aging baby boomer generation.