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How Much can a Nurse Assistant Earn?

Job Market Outlook May 1, 2013

You may have thought about a career as a nursing assistant, and what that job might entail or how much could you earn in this career field. You should know, a nurse assistant earn a decent salary, especially with minimal education investment.

Let’s discuss entry level positions. Nurse assistants made $26,566 last year (2012). While this is not as much as a Registered Nurse or certified nursing position, it is decent money for an entry level job—and a job that can advance quickly. An average of $25,000 or $26,000 per year would equal about $12 per hour. There were some groups of nursing assistants who made as little as $18,000, but there were also some entry level workers who made as much as $29,000.

The Job Outlook

The number of nursing assistant positions has been increasing within the last three years and the field is growing at a rate of 20%, with an increase of over 300,000 jobs coming within the next decade. When it comes to how much money you will make, you cannot discount factors of where you work, your experience level, and the economy and medical field as a whole.

What might help is to consider what states pay the most for this position. We know, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is significant potential in Alaska where nursing assistants can easily make up to $34,000 annually with minimal training. New York also pays nursing assistants well, with $31,000 and Nevada comes in at $31,000. Connecticut and Hawaii have been listed as one of the top five states that pay well to nursing assistant. You may have to move out of state, if you are not living in one of the top paying states and if there is too much competition. Then again, you also have to consider the cost of living for states like Alaska and New York.

Specialization Areas

Lastly, do not underestimate specialty areas that can help you claim an even larger salary. Nurse assistants who specialized in science and research were able to make over $36,000 per year. University nurse assistants made over $32,000, while nurses involved with grant and gift services were able to make over $29,000. Nursing assistants that work at the federal level made $35,000 or more. State government nurses made at least $29,000. While this is not real nursing salary, it is not too shabby for an entry level job in a career path that can easily and quickly progress.

Nurse Assistants Job Description

Nursing assistants are responsible for helping Registered Nurses and physicians with a hospital, or a clinic, or even a nursing home or assisted living quarters. Much of the work is simple at this stage and will involve changing beds, keeping equipment safe and sterile, collecting food items, and monitoring a patient’s vitals. Some strength may also be required in the event that you have to move an immobile patient from one area to another. Other duties might include serving food, helping patients with hygiene and other tasks relating to welfare and rehabilitation. You may have to take a basic competency skill test.

Nursing assistants can find a job even without a college degree, though experience in a related field is always helpful. This is a terrific way to break into a rewarding career field.

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