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Ultimate Guide to CNA Salary in Rhode Island [2024]

Caring for patients. Earning a living. Building a future. 

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) work long and hard to make a difference in their patients’ lives. Yet, nursing assistant pay can vary by thousands of dollars, fluctuating due to variables such as location and facility type. Look at how the mean annual wage in Rhode Island compares to those in surrounding states.

Table: CNA Wages in Nearby States and Comparison to RI Wage

State Average CNA Wage Difference with RI Wage
New York $43,450 +$3,960
Massachusetts $41,390 +$1,900
New Hampshire $39,050 -$440
Connecticut $38,280 -$1,270
Maine $38,170 -$1,320
Vermont $37,280 -$2,210

As you can see, CNAs earn more in RI than in most New England states, except Massachusetts and nearby New York.

This resource provides publicly available information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the MIT Living Wage Calculator about average CNA salaries, employment, location quotient, and living wage in Rhode Island (most recent information as of December 2023). While Nursa currently offers independent contractor CNAs in Rhode Island the opportunity to access per diem jobs that pay on an hourly basis rather than access to salaried or wage-based employment opportunities, this information may be a helpful frame of reference for you as you assess the market landscape both in regard to per diem jobs and employment opportunities.

What’s the Average CNA Salary in the State of Rhode Island?

It’s important to know the average CNA salary in New Jersey when you are looking at job opportunities.

Rhode Island employs over 8,700 CNAs at an average annual wage of $39,490, well above the national average of $36,220.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also provides percentile wage estimates, but what does ‘percentile’ mean in this context? BLS uses the term to mark percentages of professionals who earn below a particular wage. The Rhode Island certified nursing assistant income percentiles are valuable for seeing where your pay falls within the range and setting your earning goals. Here’s a breakdown of the typical annual income distribution among CNAs in Rhode Island:

  • 90th percentile: $47,990
  • 75th percentile: $43,380
  • 50th percentile: $36,830
  • 25th percentile: $35,750
  • 10th percentile: $31,740

Ninety percent of CNAs in Rhode Island earn less than $47,990, and 10 percent earn more. Fifty percent of CNAs make less than $36,830, and 50 percent make more, and so on.

These wages reflect the average income of staff CNAs. Independent contractor CNAs typically earn significantly higher hourly pay. To increase your income, you can explore per diem nursing jobs in Rhode Island through Nursa.

How Much Do CNAs Make in Rhode Island per Hour?

Rhode Island boasts an average CNA wage per hour of $18.99. Given its compact size, BLS delineates just two statistical areas for RI, one extending into Massachusetts and the other into Connecticut. The table below provides data on the average hourly rates in each area and some cities each encompasses.

Table: Areas, Hourly Wage, and Highest-Paying Cities

Area Average Hourly CNA Wage Highest-Paying Cities and Towns within RI
Providence-Warwick (RI-Massachusetts) $18.87 Providence, East Providence, North Providence, Cranston, Warwick, Johnston
Norwich-New London-Westerley (RI-Connecticut) $19.12 Westerley

Follow the links in the table, and Nursa will connect you with per diem CNA jobs in Rhode Island that have a much higher CNA wage per hour than the average shown above.

How Can I Raise My Income as a CNA in Rhode Island? 

Practically everyone would like to raise their income. Location, the healthcare industry, and per diem shifts all make a difference.

Higher Paying Healthcare Workplaces

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the highest CNA earnings go to those working outside medical facilities. The highest-paying settings appear in the table below.

Table: CNA Workplace and Pay

Workplace National Average CNA Pay
Junior Colleges $69,150
Dental Offices $55,870
Technical and Trade Schools $50,270
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $48,020
Scientific Research and Development Services $48,020

You may consider looking for work in one of these settings to increase your income. However, these industries provide jobs for a small percentage of the CNA workforce. Among more common settings for CNAs, hospital jobs offer the most competitive pay.

Higher-Paying Locations

Metropolitan areas generally offer higher pay rates than rural settings. If you want to improve your pay rate and understand the factors that influence CNA income, you can find more information in our guide to nurse and nursing assistant pay.

Shifts with Higher Pay

Another immediate way to increase your CNA income is to work per diem shifts with much higher pay than the average rate for staff positions since hospitals and clinics are willing to pay a premium for the ability to fill in staffing gaps quickly. CNAs can pick up high-paying per diem shifts with Nursa either to supplement their income or to work per diem full-time.

What Is the Cost of Living in Rhode Island?

The estimated cost of living in Rhode Island varies depending on your family situation. For a single adult, the annual estimated cost of living is approximately $36,400. However, this figure rises steeply to over $95,000 if you have two children.

With an average CNA wage, you can comfortably cover your expenses, but if you are a single parent or have any dependents, you will need to see how to increase your family income—such as with per diem shifts.

In winter, CNAs in Rhode Island can enjoy time in the snow.

How Many CNAs Does Rhode Island Employ?

Knowing how much you can earn in RI may help you choose the best option when considering independent contractor work or applying for salaried or wage-based employment. Furthermore, knowing how many CNAs are employed in the state can help you understand your job prospects.

With close to 9,000 active CNAs, Rhode Island has the highest concentration of nursing assistants in the United States. The national concentration of professionals—or location quotient—has a value of one. Therefore, an LQ under one is lower than the nationwide average, and an LQ over one is higher. Rhode Island has a 2.06 CNA location quotient, double the national average.

How Can I Become a CNA in Rhode Island?

This tiny state offers diverse opportunities to become a certified nursing assistant, including in-house programs with healthcare facilities such as South County Health in Wakefield and educational institutions that offer CNA classes in Rhode Island. 

Some of the educational institutions with CNA programs are the following:

These programs have a minimum of 100 training hours, including 20 hours of hands-on practical training, and generally take from six to 12 weeks, often with part-time evening classes designed to allow participants to continue working.

If you are already a CNA, you can look up the status of your Rhode Island CNA license here.

How Can I Find Per Diem Independent Contractor Jobs near Me?

CNAs, licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and registered nurses (RNs) can find per diem nursing jobs using Nursa. It’s easy to use and provides descriptions of available shifts close to home or in other locations. You decide when, where, and how many shifts you want to work, all while earning high hourly rates. Browse available CNA jobs with Nursa and land the right shift for you.

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