How Much Do CNAs Expect to Make in Their First Five Years?

How Much Do CNAs Expect to Make in Their First Five Years?

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie Thompson

Life Saver, AMC

posted on Aug 27, 2014, at 9:49 pm


SO YOU’RE CONSIDERING A CAREER as a certified nursing assistant (CNA)? It’s natural to wonder how you can survive in the “real world” after the training that comes with CNA education. Furthermore, should you expect promotions, raises, and opportunity for greater and more demanding experience? How much do CNAs expect to make in their first five years?

To start, let’s look at the duties of a CNA. They provide the fundamental care for patients in hospitals, nursing homes and medical centers. This fundamental care includes an extensive array of demanding tasks that involve the safety, comfort and personal care of patients. A CNA is a central component of the healthcare team because without CNAs, patients would not have adequate support for their comfort, privacy and other basic needs that are often taken away when in a health care setting.

Essentially, CNAs:

• Take measurements like temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure

• Feed, bathe, groom, and aid in toileting

• Help patients walk and move

• Keep proper records of all interactions to ensure better communication among the entire health care team

In addition to these duties, CNAs are expected to be trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), be able to respond to emergencies, and may have many more advanced skills delegated to them – depending on the setting.

As you can see, CNAs do a lot. Contrary to popular belief, a CNA does more than help patients get in and out of bed. A CNA is often considered family to those without loved ones to care for their specific needs. With every career, however, it is ordinary to wonder about the anticipated paycheck. So, how much do CNAs expect to make in their first five years?

Based on a 2014 report by, CNAs make an average of about $10 an hour. With bonuses and overtime, many CNAs can average $17,000 – $30,000 per year. According to, about half of the CNAs in the United States are expected to make less than $30,544. As with every job, your take-home pay is not the whole story. Pay for CNAs may not rising in fact, reported a decline in the salary of CNAs over the past couple of years. However, most CNAs believe their job is more than just a paycheck, a motivating reminder of how health care professionals are changing the lives of their patients. CNA payrolls also vary among facilities such as nursing homes, home health care agencies, assisted living facilities, staffing agencies, hospitals, hospices, day care centers, medical clinics, and urgent care centers.

After completing a local training program, which is sometimes provided as on-the-job training by the facility itself, you take an exam to test your knowledge. After passing, you are able to start working as a CNA! It is easy to wonder how much CNAs actually make within the first five years, but instead, remember how much CNAs impact the lives of their patients within the first five years!

Are you a CNA or home health care aide? Want to share your opinion on CNA pay scales? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a lover of world travel, photography, design, style and Chinese cooking. She is passionate about working towards a purpose, recently graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Media and Marketing, and is currently residing in Manhattan.

Contact Mackenzie at

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