Top 10 Cities for Certified Nursing Assistants

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs), also known as nursing aides, nursing auxiliaries, patient care assistants or technicians, or home health aides, are paraprofessionals who help patients with basic health care needs under the supervision of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, or other healthcare professionals. Although neither higher nor extensive health care education is necessary for their certification, individual CNAs often demonstrate high levels of practical ability, interpersonal skills, and manual dexterity.

CNAs are motivated workers who enjoy human contact and are compassionate towards others. In many cases, they act as liaisons between patients and nurses. They commune with their patients, make notes of their concerns, and relay them to nurses to maintain a high standard of care. As in fact primary caregivers in nursing homes, they establish close relationships with residents unlike orderlies and medical aides responsible for medical equipment; some medical aides do CNA tasks at times but need no certification. According to the United States Department of Labor, more than half of all CNAs work in nursing and residential care facilities and about 28 percent in hospitals. Most CNAs work full-time hours. As hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities are always open, CNAs work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

The average annual CNA salary is $25,620 ($12.32/hour) calculated by adding all salaries within the occupation and dividing the sum by the number of workers (1,420,020 in 2012). CNAs in the lowest levels make less than $18,300 ($8.80/hour); those with most experience in high-paying areas can earn $35,330 or more. An increasingly aging population increases the already high demand for CNAs. The Department of Labor projects an increase in the number of CNA jobs of 20 percent or 302,000 by 2020, more growth than in other medical sectors.

Highest-paying locations throughout the USA tend to be in metropolitan areas. Alaska, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Nevada, and New York are top-paying states. Most high-paying metropolitan areas are within these states, and CNAs employed in any of them can earn in time from $32,000 to $39,000 and more.

The Labor Department identifies the top-paying metropolitan areas for CNAs as

  • San Francisco, California
  • Fairbanks, Alaska
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
  • Nassau-Suffolk, New York
  • Oakland-Freemont-Hayward, California

and the top-paying states as

  • Alaska,
  • Connecticut,
  • the District of Columbia,
  • Nevada,
  • New York.

States with the highest CNA employment levels are

Combining the factors of top-paying metropolitan areas, top-paying states, and states with highest employment levels, it is more than likely that the top 10 cities for CNA work are

  • Fairbanks
  • Hartford
  • Houston
  • Jacksonville
  • Las Vegas
  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Washington, DC

These selections are for income only. CNAs in search of other rewards might select cities other than these 10.

Areas with large numbers of retirees are likely in greater need than are others for CNAs. Honolulu, Miami, and Phoenix come immediately to mind.


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