Top 10 Best Paying States for CNA Jobs

CNA sitting inside apartment in New York
Written by
Laila Ighani
Reviewed by
Miranda Kay, RN
March 13, 2023

Are you a certified nursing assistant (CNA) hoping to make the highest possible salary in your field? You are in the right place: Here, you will find the top ten highest-paying states for CNAs.

Looking for other information on CNA salary, such as the highest-paying industries for CNAs or tips to increase your CNA salary? Then check out The Ultimate Guide to CNA Salary [Updated 2023].

1. Alaska

With an average annual salary of $43,080, Alaska tops our list of the highest-paying states for CNAs.

Alaska is a beautiful state for CNA jobs.

What's the Average CNA Salary per Hour, a Week, Monthly, and Annually in Alaska?

So that you can more easily compare a CNA salary to income from other types of jobs, here are the average hourly, weekly, monthly, and annual wages of CNAs in Alaska: 

  • Average hourly rate: $20.71
  • Average weekly rate: $828.40
  • Average monthly rate: $3,590.00
  • Average annual rate: $43,080

It is important to note that the average hourly rate for CNAs in Alaska is significantly higher than the living wage ($17.15) in that state. Therefore, if you live in Alaska, you should be able to live comfortably on your CNA income. 

Entry-Level Salary and the Highest-Paid CNA Jobs in Alaska

Now let’s go even deeper into the specifics of CNA salary in Alaska. The following salary tiers can give you a more precise idea of where your CNA salary would fall depending on your years of work experience as a CNA and additional certifications in healthcare:

  • 10th percentile: $36,590
  • 25th percentile: $37,380
  • 50th percentile: $41,410
  • 75th percentile: $47,520
  • 90th percentile: $55,520

Did you notice that the highest-paid CNAs in Alaska can earn a whopping $55,520 annually? That is actually more than what many licensed practical nurses (LPNs) earn in other states. Furthermore, even the lowest-paid ten percent of CNAs in Alaska earn more than the minimum wage in that state ($10.34 per hour), which translates into $21,507.20 annually. 

2. New York

New York is the only other state besides Alaska that offers CNAs an average annual salary above forty grand.

What's the Average CNA Salary per Hour, a Week, Monthly, and Annually in New York?

If you don’t already live in Alaska, moving there might be too overwhelming: the midnight sun, the long, cold winters, and being far from family and friends. Luckily, there is another state that offers CNAs average salaries above $40,000 annually. Here are the average CNA wages in New York:

  • Average hourly rate: $19.56
  • Average weekly rate: $782.40
  • Average monthly rate: $3,390.00
  • Average annual rate: $40,680

Entry-Level Salary and the Highest-Paid CNA Jobs in New York

Although many may consider New York a better option than Alaska, bear in mind that an entry-level CNA position in New York may only offer nursing assistants $29,620 annually, whereas an entry-level position in Alaska may offer around $36,590. The following are the average salary tiers available to CNAs in New York:

  • 10th percentile: $29,620
  • 25th percentile: $36,360
  • 50th percentile: $38,130
  • 75th percentile: $46,950
  • 90th percentile: $47,800

Another aspect CNAs should consider before choosing New York over Alaska is the cost of living in each state: Whereas the cost of living in New York is 36.8 percent above the US average, the cost of living in Alaska is significantly lower at 26.7 percent above the national average.

3. California

As is the case with most other healthcare jobs, California is one of the highest-paying states for CNAs. In fact, California is a great choice for CNAs wishing to continue their studies to become nurses since it is the highest-paying state for LPNs and registered nurses (RNs).

What's the Average CNA Salary per Hour, a Week, Monthly, and Annually in California?

Anxious for the breakdown? The following are the average hourly, weekly, monthly, and annual wages for CNAs in California:

  • Average hourly rate: $19.12
  • Average weekly rate: $764.80
  • Average monthly rate: $3,313.33
  • Average annual rate: $39,760

Entry-Level Salary and the Highest-Paid CNA Jobs in California

Interestingly, both the lowest-paid and highest-paid CNAs in California make more than their New York counterparts—another reason for CNAs to choose the Golden State over the Empire State. The following are the wage percentiles for CNAs living in California:

  • 10th percentile: $30,230
  • 25th percentile: $35,680
  • 50th percentile: $37,450
  • 75th percentile: $44,740
  • 90th percentile: $49,040

That said, the cost of living in California (39.8 percent above the US average) is even higher than the cost of living in New York.

4. District of Columbia

CNAs enjoy high-paying jobs in Washington D.C.

Offering CNAs only $370 less annually than California, the District of Columbia comes in as the fourth highest-paying state for CNAs nationwide.

What's the Average CNA Salary per Hour, a Week, Monthly, and Annually in DC?

Without further ado, here are the average hourly, weekly, monthly, and annual wages for CNAs in the District of Columbia: 

  • Average hourly rate: $18.94
  • Average weekly rate: $757.60
  • Average monthly rate: $3,282.50
  • Average annual rate: $39,390

Entry-Level Salary and the Highest-Paid CNA Jobs in DC

Although the average CNA salary places DC in fourth place on this list, the lowest-paid CNAs in DC earn more than their counterparts in both California and New York, making the nation’s capital a great place for entry-level CNAs to make a high income. Here are the wage percentiles for CNAs in DC:

  • 10th percentile: $31,270
  • 25th percentile: $36,710
  • 50th percentile: $37,500
  • 75th percentile: $46,540
  • 90th percentile: $47,520

Finally, it must be mentioned that the living wage in DC ($22.15 per hour) is even higher than that in California ($21.24). Therefore, CNAs should carefully consider this aspect before packing up and moving to DC. That said, an excellent alternative is to work in DC but live in neighboring Maryland or—better yet—Virginia, where the cost of living is only 3.2 percent above the national average.

5. Oregon

Oregon is another state that makes the list of the top ten highest-paying states for RNs as well as the top ten states for CNAs. Therefore, Oregon is an excellent option for those interested in transitioning from CNA to RN

What's the Average CNA Salary per Hour, a Week, Monthly, and Annually in Oregon?

Did you know that CNAs in Oregon make only $0.27 less per hour than CNAs in DC? That equals only $560 less per year—not bad considering that the living wage in Oregon is $19.38 per hour, $2.77 per hour less than in DC. Here are the average hourly, weekly, monthly, and annual CNA wages in Oregon: 

  • Average hourly rate: $18.67
  • Average weekly rate: $746.80
  • Average monthly rate: $3,235.83
  • Average annual rate: $38,830

Entry-Level Salary and the Highest-Paid CNA Jobs in Oregon

Although Oregon is sixth on this list due to its average CNA salary, the lowest-paid CNAs in Oregon make only $70 less annually than their counterparts in New York. At the same time, they can spend $4,326.40 less annually on living expenses compared to CNAs living in New York. Here are the wage percentiles for CNAs in Oregon:

  • 10th percentile: $29,690
  • 25th percentile: $35,620
  • 50th percentile: $37,460
  • 75th percentile: $45,850
  • 90th percentile: $47,520

6. Washington

Washington is another state that is excellent for both nursing assistants and nurses since it makes all the lists of the top ten highest-paying states among these groups (CNAs, LPNs, and RNs).

What's the Average CNA Salary per Hour, a Week, Monthly, and Annually in Washington?

Washington offers CNAs a slightly lower average salary than Oregon, coupled with a slightly higher living wage ($19.58 per hour), which places Washington after Oregon on our list. However, Washington still offers one of the best salaries for CNAs nationwide. Here are the hourly, weekly, monthly, and annual wages for CNAs living in the Evergreen State:

  • Average hourly rate: $18.40
  • Average weekly rate: $736.00
  • Average monthly rate: $3,189.17
  • Average annual rate: $38,270

Entry-Level Salary and the Highest-Paid CNA Jobs in Washington

Interestingly, Washington offers higher average salaries to the lowest-paid CNAs than both New York and Oregon. Therefore, this state is an excellent alternative for entry-level CNAs. Here are the average salaries at different levels of CNA income in Washington:

  • 10th percentile: $29,930
  • 25th percentile: $35,050
  • 50th percentile: $37,140
  • 75th percentile: $43,080
  • 90th percentile: $46,550

7. Massachusetts

Nursing assistants pick up high-paying jobs in the state of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts is another state that makes the lists of the highest-paid states for CNAs, LPNs, and RNs, making this a great state for CNAs interested in continuing their education to become licensed nurses.

What's the Average CNA Salary per Hour, a Week, Monthly, and Annually in Massachusetts?

The following are average CNA wages in Massachusetts by the hour, week, month, and year: 

  • Average hourly rate: $18.12
  • Average weekly rate: $724.80
  • Average monthly rate: $3,140.00
  • Average annual rate: $37,680

Entry-Level Salary and the Highest-Paid CNA Jobs in Massachusetts

Although farther down on the list, Massachusetts offers the highest-paid CNAs higher average salaries than Washington—granted, the living wage in Massachusetts ($21.35 per hour) is higher than in Washington, too. Here are the average salaries for CNAs in Massachusetts:

  • 10th percentile: $29,920
  • 25th percentile: $31,320
  • 50th percentile: $37,370
  • 75th percentile: $38,040
  • 90th percentile: $47,280

8. Minnesota

With an average annual salary of $36,730, the Land of 10,000 Lakes makes our list of the highest-paying states for CNAs.

What's the Average CNA Salary per Hour, a Week, Monthly, and Annually in Minnesota?

Although the average salary that Minnesota offers CNAs is lower than that of the previous seven states, Minnesota is the second of these states to offer nursing assistants an hourly wage that can actually cover the living expenses ($16.98 per hour) of a single adult living in that state. This can be explained by the fact that the cost of living in Minnesota is 3.2 percent below the national average. Here are the average wages that CNAs in Minnesota can expect to earn:

  • Average hourly rate: $17.66
  • Average weekly rate: $706.40
  • Average monthly rate: $3,060.83
  • Average annual rate: $36,730

Entry-Level Salary and the Highest-Paid CNA Jobs in Minnesota

Again, the average salaries that both the lowest-earning and highest-earning CNAs can make in Minnesota are below those in the previous states. However, the low cost of living in this state gives CNAs an advantage over those in higher-paying states. Here are the salary tiers for CNAs in Minnesota:

  • 10th percentile: $29,160
  • 25th percentile: $32,050
  • 50th percentile: $36,770
  • 75th percentile: $37,920
  • 90th percentile: $46,490

9. Connecticut

Close behind Minnesota comes Connecticut, with an average CNA salary of  $36,110.

What's the Average CNA Salary per Hour, a Week, Monthly, and Annually in Connecticut?

The average hourly rate for CNAs in Connecticut is only slightly below the living wage in that state ($17.76 per hour). It is challenging for individuals to live off of a CNA salary in this state because the average cost of living is 16.7 percent above the national average. The following are average hourly, weekly, monthly, and annual CNA wages in Connecticut:

  • Average hourly rate: $17.36
  • Average weekly rate: $694.40
  • Average monthly rate: $3,009.17
  • Average annual rate: $36,110

Entry-Level Salary and the Highest-Paid CNA Jobs in Connecticut

Average CNA income might be lower in Connecticut than in the previous eight states, but it is still higher than the minimum wage in this state ($14.00). That said, the salary of the lowest-paid ten percent of CNAs in Connecticut is equivalent to the minimum wage in that state. Here are the salary percentiles for CNAs in the Constitution State:

  • 10th percentile: $29,100
  • 25th percentile: $29,960
  • 50th percentile: $36,770
  • 75th percentile: $37,750
  • 90th percentile: $46,330

10.  New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a great state for CNAs to find high-paying jobs.

Finally, the last state to make our list of the highest-paying states for CNAs is New Hampshire. In fact, North Dakota ties with New Hampshire when it comes to the average CNA salary, but New Hampshire offers higher salaries to the highest-paid CNAs in the state. 

What's the Average CNA Salary per Hour, a Week, Monthly, and Annually in New Hampshire?

Although New Hampshire is the last state on our list, it has an important advantage over most of the higher-paying states: With a living wage of $17.23 per hour, it is possible for single adults to live off of a CNA salary alone in this state. Here are the average CNA wages in New Hampshire:

  • Average hourly rate: $17.34
  • Average weekly rate: $693.60
  • Average monthly rate: $3,005.83
  • Average annual rate: $36,070

Entry-Level Salary and the Highest-Paid CNA Jobs in New Hampshire

Other good news for CNAs in New Hampshire is that even the lowest-paid ten percent of CNAs make almost double the minimum wage in this state ($7.25 per hour). The following are the different salary tiers for CNAs in New Hampshire:

  • 10th percentile: $29,130
  • 25th percentile: $30,160
  • 50th percentile: $36,770
  • 75th percentile: $37,750
  • 90th percentile: $45,850

Which States Have the Highest-Paying CNA Jobs?

The truth is that even the highest-paid CNAs in the highest-paying state for CNAs earn less than the median hourly wage for all full-time wage and salary workers in the United States ($27.13 per hour). That said, working as a CNA is an excellent way to enter the nursing profession and ultimately make a three-figure salary.

Blog published on:
March 13, 2023

Laila is a contributing copywriter and editor at Nursa who specializes in writing compelling long-form content about nursing finances, per diem job locations, areas of specialization, guides, and resources that help nurses navigate their career paths.

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