Certified Nursing Aide Salary Advice — by C.N.A.s

Senior caregivers, especially C.N.A.s, have a lot of love for their profession. They have to — the hours are long, the work is tough, and the money...well, we all agree that there are better-paying jobs out there. And while there are few professions that affect so many lives in so many ways, let’s face it, a gal (or guy) has got to eat.

While scouting C.N.A. salaries across the country, our friends at Scrubs Magazine found that the highest paid spots tend to be big cities like NYC, Los Angeles and DC, while smaller cities (especially in the South) offer lower hourly rates. So they posed this question: As a C.N.A., how do you feel about the pay where you live? Do you think the pay would be better if you moved to a different region? What tips do you have for a C.N.A. looking to make some extra money?

C.N.A.s across the country chimed in and have this to say about pay:

Portland, ME:
“I worked at a nursing home right outside Portland, Maine for a few years while living up there and I made $17.50. That was weekend pay but I also was per diem so that bumped me up a few bucks and I was ALWAYS looking for extra shifts that were posted because they were either double time, +$10 or +$6 an hour. C.N.A.s have to be crafty! Always keep your eyes out for how to make THE MOST money because we work very hard and do hard work! Companies will always try to screw you so you have to be on top it!”

Burlington, VT:
“I kept on applying for jobs in hospitals and was offered one six months later in Vermont. I worked as a C.N.A./PCT for two years in LTC and at a large hospital in Boston. I have a BSN and a BS in biology. The job market in Mass. is horrible, for both new grads and experienced nurses. Vermont, on the other hand, has a great need for nurses. It’s still competitive to get a job as a new grad, but once your foot is in the door you can move about to any specialty you desire.” -Yllomia

Boston, MA:
“I made around $14/hr as a tech at Tufts. However, working there (or any hospital) in nursing school is no guarantee of a position there as an RN. I graduated last year, and they were unable to give me (or any other graduating techs) anything. Having a C.N.A. position is a leg up, but is by no means a guaranteed in, so please consider that before signing yourself up for a long commute and expensive parking.” -NurseKatie08

New York City, NY:
“Here in Long Island, NY you can make up to $18.75 an hour. That’s what my friend is making at a nursing home. Definitely don’t rule them out.” -*Miss*

Albany, NY:
“In NY, it’s $14-$17 to start. Plus shift differential. Usually 3-11 p.m. is $1.50 extra, and 11-7 a.m. is $2.00 extra. Of course, this is evened out by the cost of living being so high here, but if you have the same benefits in a cheaper living situation, this could make all the difference!”

“I’m in NY and started at $15, I’m at almost $16 now. Evenings are 10% diff and overnights are 15% diff. Every little bit!” -peppercat21

“I live in upstate NY. I commute 45 minutes away to a large hospital in Sayre, PA. I was offered 3 positions immediately after graduation. I work on a step-down cardiac floor (yes, it is a specialty). I have 2 bachelor’s, one is a BSN another in psychology. We do hire new grads, they hire I’d say at least 20-30 a year, hospital wide. I’ve almost completed my first year. It has been a whirlwind; school does not teach you half of what the “real world” is going to teach you, it is so completely different! I plan on becoming a Nurse Practitioner.” 

Newark, NJ:
“Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing requires nursing assistant skills before you begin their program. They give the course for the month of July before the program begins in August. You can work across the street at the hospital while you continue on to get your RN. The cost of the nursing assistant course is only $500. It is in Montclair/Glen Ridge. It is not a certification course, but you will still be able to work for the same pay as a C.N.A. The hospital starts you off with almost $13 for the first 3 months, and then you get your eval.” -Hydakins

Philadelphia, PA:
“I live in Southeastern PA. When I first started back in 2004-2005, I was paid $9.72 an hour. The pay was a bit low, but they offered a full benefit package as well as paid vacation/sick time. My last position at an LTC in 2008 I was as a pool/floater and was paid $13 an hour during the week and $14 an hour for weekends. No medical benefits or I would have had to take a $3 pay cut! Pay attention to those sorts of details and decide what’s best for you.”  -asun21ta

Baltimore, MD:
“I am a tech at GBMC. I’m also a junior year nursing student. When I started working there almost 4 years ago the starting pay for techs/nursing students was $10.50 an hour. Now I believe it’s between $11.50 – $12 an hour. I just want to let you know that without patient care experience you can’t expect to start off making a lot of money. When I finished the C.N.A./G.N.A. course I was working in a nursing home making $8 an hour.” -jenawade25

Wilmington, DE:
“Christiana Care is a great place to work. There are endless options as to what you may want to do there. I worked at Wilmington Hospital for 7 years and left for 3 to work for private practice. I went back to Wilmington because I missed the bedside. I’m now a PCC at Christiana. They do own everything and they are lacking in the HR dept. I’ve seen a few horror stories from people who have gotten injured. However, there is some pride in working for the biggest healthcare organization in Delaware. Even the change from Wilmington to Christiana has been huge. I used to say “Wilmington Hospital” and people would say, “Where, St. Francis?” No one had any clue that Wilmington was part of Christiana. I swore I’d never go to Christiana, but I took the chance and I’m there now and I am pretty happy. Things could always be better. One hospital versus another? They all have their good and bad sides.”  -GreenEyedNurse

Washington, D.C.:
“Children’s in DC, Washing Hospital Center, GW all hire CNAs. At Children’s they are called PCTs, Patient Care Technicians. If you are a nursing student and have already had your first clinical there are other types of opportunities in the role of the CNA, one-on-one with a nurse, but still a C.N.A.” -RNNPICU

Providence, RI:
“I JUST got hired at hospital for my first C.N.A. job on a med/surg floor. With no experience, it’s $12.49/hr. It’s 3rd shift though, so I get a $2.50 differential and on weekends I get an extra $1.50. With experience it’s more like $14 and change an hour, plus any differentials. Low, yes, but higher than most nursing homes. I’ve interviewed at places that were barely $10/hr!” -kelsey.kristine

“I work at a hospital in RI and with no experience, I make $12.49 an hour, plus differential. 3rd shift(what I was hired for) is an extra $2.50/hour, weekends are $1.75 and I believe evenings are $1.50. If I work my regularly scheduled hours any 3rd shift I pick up is time 1/2 which is very, very nice! Most nursing homes I interviewed at were under $10/hour. I made more working at a coffee shop!” -kelsey.kristine

When you apply for a C.N.A. or C.H.H.A job through Caregiverlist, your caregiver resume is seen by the top quality Home Care Agencies. It only takes 5 minutes to fill out our application. Senior care companies nationwide hire new Part-time, Full-time and Live-in staff weekly from Caregiverlist.

Senior Caregiver Summer Photo Contest Winners (Part 2)

CNAs, CHHAs, professional caregivers, and family caregivers were invited to participate in a summer-long contest on the Caregiverlist Facebook page and the photos were heartwarming. The winners of our first-ever Summer Photo Contest for Senior Caregivers were announced yesterday. In that blog, we highlighted our first-place winner (based on the number of votes per photo), Christi M., who won with 877 votes.

Today we highlight the other two of our top 3 winners.

Edward Hatfield, second-place winner for his photo submission, “Our Wedding Day,” with 848 votes.
Mr. Hatfield will receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

My name is Edward Hatfield. I am 50 years old and disabled. I have a rare form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis which causes bone fusion. My neck and spine are fused. As part of this disease I also have Degenerative Joint Disease. Before my disability got bad I was a crisis- alcohol- and drug-respite counselor for about 12 years.

I am married to my wonderful wife Susan who is also disabled with Spina Bifida. She means the world to me and is one of the sweetest loving persons I know. Due to her having Spina Bifida, she developed a severe bed sore on her tailbone. She was hospitalized twice due to a severe infection. I got my First Aid, CPR, and Caregiver Certification so I could take care of her properly. Also who could better take care of her then her husband or a family member to give her the love and care she needs? Being a Caregiver means the world to me. A Caregiver has to be a loving and caring person — not someone who just collects a paycheck. I have always loved the healthcare field and helping take care of others. This take a special person.

Caitlin Villasenor, is the third prize winner. Her untitled photo shows multi-generational caregiving and received 420 votes.
Ms. Villasenor will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

I’ve been a caregiver for the last few years and I have to say it is very rewarding. You really can learn a lot from being a caregiver. First, you are helping those in need which is simply amazing in itself. Also, I’ve found that it is a great way to learn about the past. I’ve heard so many stories about how life used to be. I’ve learned a lot of history, and that’s very rewarding. Finally, I find that I made a life-long friend. I feel that I can talk to them about anything and they really listen. Its some of the most amazing work I have ever done. Sure, sometimes it is really hard and there are days I want to quit, but then I realize I have someone depending on me and needing me and I cannot and will not let them down.

Caregiverlist congratulates all our Summer Photo Contest participants. It takes a special person to become a caregiver. If you know someone who fits the bill, you can still win! Enter our Refer-A-Friend program and you can win a free t-shirt, lapel pin and 10-hour online caregiver training program, or you may win our monthly grand prize — Scrub of the Month, courtesy of Scrubs Magazine.

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features field full of wild and colorful flowers for caregivers to mentally walk through. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Stress Relief Photo of the Week Wild Flowers Field

"Feelings are everywhere, be gentle."

J. Masai

Caregiver Winners of the Summer Photo Contest Announced

Certified Nursing Aides, CHHAs, professional and family caregivers entered Caregiverlist’s first-ever Summer Photo Contest for Senior Caregivers. We counted the votes were and the winners were announced this morning. The top 3 voted photos submitted of caregivers with the seniors in their care win Amazon gift cards. Runner-ups receive free t-shirts. The contest was conducted on Facebook and ran from Monday, July 8, 2013 until voting closed on August 31, 2013. You can see the results of the voting here.

First prize of a $100 Amazon gift card is awarded to Christi M., whose submission “Clary and I” received 877 votes.

Here's a little bit about her:

I am a 29 year old caregiver in more ways than one. I am a daughter, a wife, a Mom, a Granddaughter, a transporter and a friend of the elderly. During the day my job is to transport the elderly. I am responsible for 6 people at a time. I am responsible for keeping them safe and making sure they arrive to their destination without any trouble. I make sure they trust and know me so they feel safe in my care. I have to admit some days are harder than others since you never know if the patient had their medication or if they are just not in the mood. I always put their needs first and approach everything with a smile. A smile is the best cure and is highly contagious. I transport a gentleman who loves to sing. It is the same song "Take me out to the ballgame" over and over, but it seems to make everyone's day. When I see him sad, I start to sing and he perks right up and starts signing. I believe it reminds him of his childhood.

My day does not end there. I also care for my husband and two children, which is a 24/7 365 days a year job. There is no sick days or vacation days. There is no paychecks or breaks, but I wouldn't give it up for all the money in the world. I also helped take care of my Grandmother, which consisted of changing sheets, cleaning bed pans, sponge baths, dressing, giving medicine, feeding, transporting, long sleepless nights, all while still working. She passed away and if I had it all to do over, I wouldn't change a thing. I would empty a thousand bed pans as long as I knew it was helping someone. To me, being a caregiver is about passion, love, caring, and being selfless. Above all the needs of everyone I care for comes before my own. I remember everyone I have ever cared for and each and everyone of them have touched my heart in one way or another. They have helped mold me into the wonderful caregiver I am today. Caregiving can be both rewarding and challenging at the same time but I wouldn't change it for anything.

Edward Hatfield was a close second with 848 votes for his photo submission, “Our Wedding Day.” Edward will receive a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

Caitlin Villasenor, is the third prize winner of a $25 Amazon gift card. Her untitled photo shows multi-generational caregiving and received 420 votes.

We'll be featuring each of them in upcoming posts.

Senior caregivers provide emotional support and socialization for seniors, enabling many families to continue to support grandparents and parents with quality care in their home. Adult children often do not live in the same city as their aging parents which means caregiving often becomes much more than a job for senior caregivers.

Caregivers perform the essential job functions for their senior clients—from seniors who need 24-hour care to those in nursing facilities. Working as a professional caregiver provides employee benefits along with a fulfilling career. Caregiver Training is crucial to providing professional care. Caregiverlist offers a 10-hour online orientation training course that meets most states' requirements and was created by members of the senior care industry's national association. 

Caregiverlist continues to show the love to caregivers with our Refer-a-Friend program. If you know someone who would make a great caregiver, refer them to Caregiverlist and be entered to win a free t-shirt or $50 gift card.

Caregiverlist congratulates all those who submitted photos of themselves with the seniors in their care.

Employee Criminal Background Check Can Help Prevent Identity Theft

Guest blogger Linda Vincent, RN. PI. of Vincent & Associates and The Identity Advocate, speaks to the home health care industry about the importance of conducting employee criminal background checks, especially before hiring caregivers, to stem the rise of identity theft.

Identity theft can easily happen right under your nose, so the best defense is a good offense. Do you know how easy it is to infiltrate, expose, and compromise a home health care agency? Know your rights and know how you can protect your business by performing an employee criminal background check for prospective employees during the hiring process. Unfortunately, as crime statistics for identity theft continue to soar, an employee criminal background check is more important than ever before for corporations and physician’s offices of any size.

Any employee can be a potential thief, so an employee criminal background check should be conducted on every new hire, whether it is a full time in home caregiver or a temporary /transitional caregiver.

As the aging baby boomers discover it is better to have in-home care, and now economy continues to recover, more agencies are hiring more employees. As such, it’s important to know the “do’s and don’ts” of an employee criminal background check. An employee criminal background check ensures that you are protected from identity theft predators or opportunistic criminals masquerading as enthusiastic job applicants. There are many things to consider when performing an employee criminal background check, including the components, laws, and processes necessary to ensure a new employee can be trusted with sensitive information.

What’s Included in an Employee Criminal Background Check?

Every employee background check also includes a thorough employee criminal background check. Some of the information is public and some is private, but all of the information is important in assessing a job applicant. Although the type of information checked varies from state to state and county to county, an employee criminal background check can include:

  • Credit, driving, criminal, education, medical, drug test, court, military, and bankruptcy records
  • Social Security Number Vehicle registration
  • Property ownership
  • Past employment
  • Professional and personal references

All of this information is invaluable, but one aspect that is often overlooked is the credit report. A poor credit rating makes the average applicant a higher risk for identity theft. Additionally, research shows that one in four disputes over information on an employee criminal background check is connected to identity theft issues, so take every precaution to thoroughly evaluate every prospective employee’s credit and criminal records.

Are There Employee Criminal Background Check Laws?

Yes! They vary by state, but the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) set national standards for performing an employee criminal background check. The law only applies to an employee criminal background check conducted by a consumer reporting agency, which is a firm that administers the employee criminal background check on your behalf. If you decide to perform an employee criminal background check in-house, make sure you follow your state’s background check laws carefully.

Remember: Employees have rights, too!

According to the FCRA, some information cannot be reported in an employee criminal background check:

  • Accounts in collection longer than seven years
  • Paid tax liens beyond seven years
  • Bankruptcies after ten years
  • Arrest records, civil suits, and civil judgments after seven years

Employee Criminal Background Check: An Overview

Follow this employee criminal background check “cheat sheet” to safeguard your company from identity thieves and potential criminals in the workplace:

  • Who: Every employee!
  • What: A comprehensive employee criminal background check that abides by all applicable laws
  • When: Before an employee is hired
  • Why: To protect your business and your employees!
  • How: Either in-house or by a consumer reporting agency.

Not every background check is the equal — so go with a tried and true resource. Caregiverlist’s background checks are powered by a trusted provider, Intellicorp.


Lead consultant Linda Vincent, R.N., P.I., an identity theft, medical ID theft, and healthcare fraud prevention expert, has over 35 years of experience. As a registered nurse, private investigator, and healthcare consultant, Ms. Vincent is passionate about helping individuals and businesses prevent theft and fraud. Her experience includes hospital and physician audits, managed care consulting, and healthcare fraud education, training, investigations, negotiations, and case review.


Diana Nyad - 64 - Completes Historic Swim

Yesterday, American long-distance swimmer 64-year-old Diana Nyad became first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, 110 miles, without a shark cage.

With a shout-out of “Courage!” (pronounced in French), Diana Nyad jumped into the water to begin her fifth attempt at the swim from the shore a near Marina Hemingway in Cuba at 8:59:02 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. She was 28 years old the first time she tried to swim the Florida Straits, when winds knocked her far off course.

During this, her epic 53-hour swim, the full bodysuit, mask and gloves she wore at night to protect against jellyfish stings slowed her pace from an average of 50 to 47 strokes per minute. Ms. Nyad stopped only to feed and never left the water. Her flotilla surrounded and monitored her, but never had to intervene. Massive cruise ships moved out of her way.

We first wrote about Diana Nyad in August 2012, during her fourth attempt at the swim. As we wrote then, Ms. Nyad spoke to AARP about her motivation. "When I walk up on that shore in Florida, I want millions of those AARP sisters and brothers to look at me and say, 'I'm going to go write that novel I thought it was too late to do. I'm going to go work in Africa on that farm that those people need help at. I'm going to adopt a child. It's not too late, I can still live my dreams.'"  That attempt was cut short after 40 hours because of life-threatening jellyfish stings.

However, the fifth time appeared to be the charm as her arrival in Florida was announced on her blog, Nyad Extreme Dream on 9/2 at 3:14PM EDT with a simple “She freaking made it.”

Watch as she makes her way onto the Florida shores.

Thanks, Diana, for inspiring us and proving that getting older is not viable excuse to give up, and that tenacity and and wisdom are the gifts of advancing age. As she herself put it, "You're never too old to live your dreams."

Caregiver Stress Relief Photo of the Week

Caregivers employed with senior care companies know the realities of caregiver stress. Caregiverlist invites all family caregivers and professional caregivers to take a moment for relaxation with our photo of the week and inspirational quote. This week's photo features turquoise color waters of the ocean reaching out to sandy beach. Thank you caregivers for caring for our seniors and please refer your friends to apply for part-time and full-time job positions on www.Caregiverlist.com and visit our career center for additional career tools.

Caregiverlist Stress Relief Photo Ocean

"Faith is like radar that sees through the fog—the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see."

Corrie Ten Boom

Caregiverlist Summer Photo Contest Ends August 31

Caregivers, Certified Nursing Aides and Certified Home Health Aides are invited to submit a photo of themselves with the senior clients to the Caregiverlist Summer Photo Contest for Senior Caregivers. Here's an opportunity to showcase your valuable service you provide and show the world just how special the bond is between a caregiver and their senior client or family member. The contest is offered on the Caregiverlist Facebook page and ends on August 31

Submit your photo then share and ask friends and family to vote. Be creative -- have fun! Contest winners will be chosen based on number of votes.

We know that caregiving is a demanding but rewarding job. We want to show the love and award $100, $50 and $25 Amazon gift cards to the top 3 voted photos and free t-shirts to the runners-up. 

So if you haven't yet entered, what are you waiting for? And if you entered or not, go ahead and vote!

Good luck, caregivers!


Senior Caregivers: Is a Comprehensive Fair Labor Standard Act Still Just a Dream?

As we approach the 50-year anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther’s historical speech on August 28, we celebrate how far we’ve come as a nation and acknowledge how far we have left to go.

The protest’s full name was “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” The demand for the civil and economic rights of people of color was the cornerstone of the march. However, the organizers of the march advocated to expand the Fair Labor Standards Act to “include all areas of employment which are presently excluded.”

As Bryce Covert discusses in The Nation, many domestic workers (including homecare workers) are still fighting for minimum wage and overtime protection. Left out of the covered domestic workers class, many of these workers are excluded because their jobs fall under the “companionship exemption,” which limits their protection.

President Obama promised in 2011 to champion a new rule that would extend the Fair Labor Standards Act to include all domestic workers, including those in homecare. However, that change has yet to occur, despite all calls for revision. Surely, as a nation, it’s time we not only honor the spirit of that important march 50 years ago, but strive to fulfill all of its demands.

Before he takes the stage on the National Mall on Wednesday, let President Obama know how you feel about the rights of the senior homecare worker. The Nation offers an open letter to let President Obama know he needs to “fulfill his promise and extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers now.

Senior caregivers are paid more than minimum wage along with benefits by senior home care agencies nationwide. Senior caregivers are usually paid from $9.00 to $14.00 per hour. with protected overtime. If you are a senior caregiver and want to make sure your rights are protected, you can apply for a senior caregiving job in your area on Caregiverlist and also find the details on minimum wage laws in your state.

Inspirational Quotes for Caregivers

Certified nursing assistants, home health aides, senior caregivers, — they make a difference in peoples’ lives. Sometimes, the job is tough and thankless and the money isn’t always great, but the CNA is the backbone that makes everyone else’s job a little easier. All senior caregivers make it possible for the elderly to age in place with dignity. They are invaluable in the nursing home. In honor of CNAs, CHHAs and all senior caregivers, here are some inspirational quotes that speak to the job they do, complied by Lynda Lampert of Scrubs Magazine.

“It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.” —Mother Theresa

“The charity that is a trifle to us can be precious to others.” —Homer

“They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (The Bible)

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.” —Washington Irving

“Compassion automatically invites you to relate with people because you no longer regard people as a drain on your energy.” —Chogyam Trungpa

“Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.” —Mason Cooley
“Compassion is a call, a demand of nature, to relieve the unhappy as hunger is a natural call for food.” —Joseph Butler

“Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion.” —Florence Nightingale

“A good deed is never lost: he who sows courtesy reaps friendship; and he who plants kindness gathers love.” —Saint Basil

“Never lose a chance of saying a kind word.” —William Thackeray

“Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” —T.H. Thompson and John Watson

“…[A]lthough the days are busy and the workload is always growing, there are still those special moments when someone says or does something and you know you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. That’s why I became a nurse.” —Diane McKenty

“To do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through, is to be a nurse.” —Rawsi Williams

If you know someone who has what it takes to become a professional senior caregiver, you can enter to win a FREE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CAREGIVERS Membership: Includes 10-Hour Online Caregiver Training, T-shirt, Membership Lapel Pin or our Monthly Grand Prize” — Cherokee Uniforms SCRUB OF THE MONTH (tops, bottoms and shoes) courtesy of Scrubs Magazine. Winners are Profiled Each Week on Caregiverlist. 


“100 Entertaining & Inspiring Quotes for Nurses,” nursingschools.net, June 2010
“Inspirational Quotes Every Nurse Should Read,” monster.com, July 2009
“Great Inspirational Nursing Quotes & Motivational Sayings,” Motivation Empire
“Inspirational Quotes & Quotations on Nursing,” successdegrees.com

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