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CNA Pay in Washington State: How Much Can You Make?

No one wants to earn less than their counterparts. Discover how much the average certified nursing assistant (CNA) is making in Washington and how you can make more. 

This resource provides publicly available information about average CNA salaries in Washington. While Nursa currently offers independent contractor CNAs in Washington 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.

CNAs in Washington State can earn a substantial income worth being proud of.

How Can I Become a CNA in Washington?

For aspiring CNAs, let’s start with how to become a nursing assistant. There are many offers for CNA programs upon a quick Google search, but be cautious. Usually, a high school diploma or GED is sufficient for enrollment. CNA programs in Washington must be approved by the Washington State Board of Nursing (WABON). You can find a list of WABON-approved CNA training programs here. You’ll also need to pass a skills test and a written exam to receive certification—and other conditions may apply. Once you’ve received your certification, you’re ready to look for CNA jobs in Washington (some exceptions may apply so confirm all the requirements with the proper regulatory agencies).

What’s the Average CNA Pay in the State of Washington?

The average hourly CNA wage in Washington is $20.40, with the annual average sitting at $42,430. When you consider that the national hourly average is $17.41 and the yearly average is $36,220, you can see that CNA pay in Washington sits well above the national average. Also, consider that the minimum wage for the state is $15.74, significantly below the mean CNA pay. Check out how the average CNA wage compares to the living wage.

Living Wage for a Single Adult Living Wage for Two Adults (Single Income) Living Wage per Adult (Dual Income)
No children $19.58 $29.86 $14.93
One child $38.68 $36.89 $21.44
Two children $49.71 $41.88 $26.93

Data source: Dr. Amy K. Glasmeier and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (Most recent information as of August 2023)

CNA Pay in Washington per Hour

An average statistic is influenced greatly by both the extreme highs and lows. While knowing the average nursing assistant's income is indeed helpful, looking at how the salaries are divided into percentiles can also be informative. This table breaks down CNA wages nationally and in Washington by percentiles, thereby displaying the full range of CNA pay.

Percentile Mean National Annual Wage Mean Washington Annual Wage Mean National Hourly Wage Mean Washington Hourly Wage
10% $28,030 $35,620 $13.48 $17.13
25% $30,770 $37,720 $14.79 $18.14
Median (50%) $35,760 $40,760 $17.19 $19.60
75% $39,260 $46,030 $18.87 $22.13
90% $45,940 $50,170 $22.09 $24.12

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (Most recent data as of August 2023)

What Do the CNA Wage Percentiles Mean?

So, what do the percentiles actually mean? Let’s look at each Washington percentile category for reference. The hourly percentile wage estimates indicate the following:

  • Ten percent of CNAs earn $17.13 per hour or less, while 90 percent earn more.
  • Twenty-five percent of CNAs earn $18.14 per hour or less, while 75 percent earn more.
  • Fifty percent of CNAs earn less than $19.60 hourly, and 50 percent earn more.
  • Seventy-five percent of CNAs earn $22.13 per hour or less, while 25 percent earn more.
  • Ninety percent of CNAs earn 24.12 per hour or less, while 10 percent earn more. 

Certified Nursing Assistant Pay throughout Washington

How much nursing assistants make in Washington can vary based on their work setting. It can also vary by geographic location. This table shows CNA wages by location—per hour, week, month, and year.

Location Mean Annual Wage Mean Monthly Wage Mean Weekly Wage Mean Hourly Wage
Olympia-Tumwater $41,760 $3,480.00 $800.88 $20.08
Mount Vernon-Anacortes $41,190 $3,432.50 $789.94 $19.80
Bellingham $40,610 $3,384.17 $778.82 $19.52
Bremerton-Silverdale $40,390 $3,365.83 $774.60 $19.52
Western Washington nonmetropolitan area $40,540 $3,378.33 $777.48 $19.49
Longview $40,140 $3,345.00 $769.81 $19.30
Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area $39,570 $3,297.50 $758.88 $19.02
Walla-Walla $38,910 $3,242.50 $746.22 $18.71
Yakima $38,730 $3,227.50 $742.77 $18.62
Spokane-Spokane Valley $38,640 $3,220.00 $741.04 $18.58
Kennewick-Richland $37,350 $3,112.50 $716.30 $17.96
Wenatchee $37,170 $3,097.50 $712.85 $17.87
Lewiston (ID-WA) $35,530 $2,960.83 $681.40 $17.08

Data source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

(Most recent data as of August 2023) 

Highest-Paying Cities for CNAs in Washington

Now that you’ve seen the full range of wages available to CNAs across the state, you’re probably wondering, “Where are the highest-paying CNA jobs?” The top ten highest-paying cities are as follows:

  • Seattle
  • Tacoma
  • Bellevue
  • Snohomish
  • Vancouver
  • Battle Ground
  • Olympia
  • Tumwater
  • Mount Vernon
  • Anacortes

CNA Pay in Seattle, Washington

Claiming the top spot for CNA pay in the state is the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan and nonmetropolitan area. The average annual CNA wage in this area is $44,520, with the hourly wage at $21.40. This income data applies to the counties of King, Pierce, and Snohomish.

CNA Pay in Vancouver, Washington

CNA jobs in Vancouver pay the second-highest rates in the state, with an average annual wage of $44,000 and an hourly wage of $21.15. It should be noted that this income data applies to the Vancouver metropolitan and nonmetropolitan area, which covers Clark and Skamania counties as well as five counties on the Oregon side of the border.

How Many CNAs Are in Washington?

Knowing how much you can earn in Washington 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 work in the state can give you an idea of the job opportunities for nursing assistants.

There are over 28,000 CNAs in the Evergreen State, with a location quotient of 0.94. Twenty-eight thousand sounds like a large number until you compare that to the over 1.3 million nationwide. Furthermore, with a location quotient under one, there is a lower concentration of CNAs in Washington compared to the rest of the country. 

Many nursing students are also certified nursing assistants. Part of the reason for the overlap is that working as a CNA is an excellent path leading to a solid nursing career. Additionally, picking up per diem CNA shifts is a practical decision for nursing students because the per diem aspect allows them to organize work around their academic and clinical schedules.

How Can I Find Independent Contractor CNA Jobs in Washington?

CNAs in Washington can pick up jobs as independent contractors in a variety of settings using Nursa.

Now that you know how much CNAs earn in Washington, you must be eager to find nursing assistant jobs. Per diem CNA jobs in Washington are easy to find when you use Nursa. As an open healthcare marketplace that’s free for nursing professionals, Nursa bridges the gap between nursing assistants looking for work and healthcare facilities in their communities that need coverage. Picking up per diem shifts (also referred to as PRN shifts) means that you work as an independent contractor who has complete control over your schedule. You don’t have to request time off; you simply don’t pick up a shift when you’re busy. Discover the benefits of working per diem shifts with Nursa.

How Can I Earn More as a CNA in Washington?

Picking up per diem shifts is an efficient way to boost your income as a CNA—and the same applies to licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs). Facilities generally offer higher than usual hourly rates for the shifts because they need to fill the gaps, and by posting the shifts on Nursa, they can save themselves the overhead costs of hiring and paying employee benefits. It’s a benefit for CNAs as well because they can pick up shifts as a side job and boost their earnings or can switch over to picking up high-paying per diem shifts full-time.

How to Find CNA Jobs in WA with Nursa

Register with Nursa and create your professional profile. Once you’ve verified your CNA certificate, you’ll be able to browse the hundreds of CNA jobs in Spokane, Seattle, Vancouver, Pasco, and other cities in Washington. Review the shift postings to make sure you meet the qualifications, check your schedule for availability, and click to apply for the shift. There is no limit to how often you pick up shifts. Some CNAs pick up per diem shifts full-time, others as a side gig while they are in nursing school or have another job. Facilities are facing extreme staffing challenges, so quick per diem pickups from CNAs like you make a difference in the lives of patients and other nursing professionals. Start today and make a difference with PRN jobs.

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