The Pay Scale for Nursing Assistants

Nursing assistants are among the most in-demand jobs in the healthcare field. In fact, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from May 2017, there were over 1 million nursing assistant positions across the country and more than 300,000 projected job openings between 2016 and 2026. The following information will help you understand how much a nursing assistant typically earns per year, along with information about where they’re most likely to find work and what skills they should focus on if they want their salary to increase over time:

Nursing Assistant Salary

You may be wondering how much you can expect to make as a nursing assistant. The average annual salary is about $30,000 and the average hourly wage is about $16.00. But if you’re working in a hospital setting, your income may be slightly higher than this or it could be slightly lower depending on where you live and what types of bonuses or benefits your employer offers.

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The exact amount of money that each position pays varies based on location, but there are some general guidelines for what kinds of paychecks are typical:

  • Nurses’ Aides – $24K-$31K annually; $13/hour through 27 hours per week (the national average according to Glassdoor)
  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) – An average CNA earns between $32K-$35K annually; 18-20 hours per week at an hourly rate ranging from $10-$15/hour (for example)

Where Do Nursing Assistants Earn the Most (and Least)?

The average nursing assistant salary in the U.S. is $26,640 a year and $13.06 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Nursing assistants earn more in some states than others. The average nursing assistant salary varies widely among states and cities, ranging anywhere from $23,460 a year in Utah to $33,600 in California—over a 20 percent difference!

The highest paying jobs for nursing assistants are found in California ($33,600), Oregon ($30,580), and New Mexico ($29,630).

The lowest paying jobs for nursing assistants are located in West Virginia ($22,630), Arkansas ($22), Mississippi ($21), and Alabama($20).

Nursing Assistant Salary by State

You may be surprised to learn that the average salary for a nursing assistant varies widely depending on your job title, experience level, and location.

This infographic provides an overview of the nursing assistant salary by state:

[b]Nursing Assistant Salary by State[/b]

The average annual nursing assistant salary in the United States is $24,000. The states with the highest average salaries are as follows:

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The Best Paying Cities for Nurses

Best Paying Cities for Nurses:

  • Washington, DC
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Boston, MA
  • Seattle, WA

Best Paying States for Nurses:

  • California (with a median salary of $47,440) and New York (with a median salary of $45,980) are the two highest paying states. Most states pay between $32K to $37K per year. However, the top 5 states that offer higher salaries are Massachusetts ($42K), Maryland ($41K), Rhode Island ($40K), Alaska ($38K), and Connecticut ($38k).

Job Growth Trend

The job growth trend for nursing assistants is strong. As the U.S. population grows and ages, demand for healthcare will increase, which is expected to contribute to nursing assistant employment growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs in this field will grow by 26% between 2016 and 2026, much faster than average for all other occupations (8%).

The healthcare industry accounts for a big portion of these new opportunities; it makes sense considering that it’s an industry that touches nearly every aspect of our lives and its growth has been rapidly increasing over time due to advances in technology as well as increased public awareness about various ailments such as diabetes or cancer that have previously been overlooked before now being understood as serious health threats worthy of proper treatment if caught early enough

Salaries for Related Job Titles

So, you may be wondering what your job title has to do with the pay scale for nursing assistants. Well, there are a few different titles that fall under this umbrella term and each of them will have different salaries.

Below is a list of related job titles and their corresponding salary ranges:

  • Nursing assistant salary range: $32,000 – $55,000 per year (average: $41,300)
  • Registered nurse salary range: $60,000 – $90,000 per year (average: $77,900)
  • Licensed practical nurse salary range: $40,000 – $75,000 per year (average: $56,600)
  • Certified nursing assistant salary range:    $26k-$35k annually ($29k avg.)

Nursing assistants are among the most in-demand healthcare jobs.

The job of nursing assistant is one of the most in-demand healthcare jobs. There are over 685,000 people employed as nursing assistants, and there are many more related jobs as well. These include physician assistants, licensed practical nurses, and certified nurse assistants.

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The average salary for a nursing assistant is $33,980 per year or $16 per hour—but this varies depending on location and occupation within the field of nursing assistants itself. For example:

  • Licensed practical nurses earn an average annual salary of $44,680 or $21 per hour
  • Certified nurse’s aides earn an average annual salary of $28,850 or $14 per hour


Nursing assistants are among the most in-demand healthcare jobs. They provide skilled nursing care for patients and assist registered nurses or licensed practical nurses with medical treatments and procedures. Nursing assistants help to ensure a patient’s comfort and well-being by performing tasks that include changing bed linen, bathing patients, assisting with ambulation (walking) exercises, assisting with dressing/grooming needs such as shaving legs or clipping nails; providing comfort measures like massages, etc.