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Which States Provide Top Salaries to Nurse Assistant?

Career News April 20, 2013

A nurse assistant job is an in-demand position that can offer graduates job security as well as a promising career with plenty of opportunity. This field offers high salaries and is actually one of the most competitive positions in medicine because of the minimal amount of training required, at least when compared to other nurse jobs.

However, a nurse assistant is still expected to be educated and familiar with standard procedures in nursing care. This job involves taking care of people who live inside nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, as well as visitors inside hospitals. Nursing assistants help patients perform routines. This may happen due to sickness, deteriorating health, surgical recovery, or perhaps even life-altering trauma. It is common for nurses who are certified to take care of patients who suffer from advanced health issues, such as dementia or temporary or permanent injury.

The nurse assistant is a physically grueling job, as it involves using your strength to take care of individuals who may have limited mobility. It is a rewarding career since you will be helping people who truly need you, and who are appreciative of your services. A certified nurse can make a lot of money in this field; however, much of your final salary will be determined by where you live and where you work. Let’s first consider the importance of your training, which is inevitably a salary factor.

What Type of Training Does a CNA Need to Get Started?

Certified Nurse Assistants will have to prove that they have book smarts, and is expected to graduate from an accredited school. You cannot assume one training course or school will be seen in the same light as another; the curriculum quality, the number of hours spent in training, the topics covered—all of these factors are taken into consideration. Students will be required to take a test and become certified before finishing basic training.

CNA Testing

CNA testing is after state licensing, and will determine just how far you can go in this field and where. If you are certified, you will be able to ask for a top salary. Each state will decide on the numbers, and they will consider data from the state nursing board, as well as their own state health department. When it comes to certification, the federal government also has a say. You will be expected to pass a two part test determining your knowledge of nursing practices. You will have to receive a passing grade on the written part of the test in order to progress on with the clinical part. You must complete both tests and earn a minimum grade to be considered for certification.

What Cities Are In Your Career Plans?

After finishing certification, you must determine where you want to live, where you are willing to relocate, and which states will appreciate your training the most. On average, you can expect about $25,000 to $30,000 per year. Some nurse assistants can earn even more. About 10% of the total number of working CNAs makes over $34,000 per year.

Salary Estimates by State

It should come as no surprise that Alaska is the highest paying state for nursing assistants, considering its remote facilities and rural population. The second highest paying state is Nevada, followed by New York, Hawaii and Connecticut.

Much of the northeast falls below the $30,000 mark, including New Hampshire, Washington DC, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. However, the northwest, with California, Washington, Wyoming, and even as far down as Colorado pay their certified nursing assistants about $27,000. Minnesota, Oregon and Arizona average $26,000 per year, while Wisconsin, Michigan, Vermont, North Dakota and New Mexico average $24,000.

Of course, you cannot assume that all states will pay the average. Your training, experience, past duties, and other factors must be considered. Some nursing assistants have landed top salaried positions, and in every case, this was due to the high-demand for nursing assistants with certification. Obviously, remote locations favor higher salaries since you fill a need.

Do not defeat yourself. Apply for a state in which you would enjoy living in and list your knowledge and expertise. You may be surprised at how in-demand you are, even close to home.

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  • Ranked among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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  • A private, co-ed college founded in 1821 and located in downtown Washington, D.C.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 55.1% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has distinguished alumni including Senator Harry Reid, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and actress Courtney Cox.
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