Can I Survive Off Of CNA Salary?? Opinions & Stories Please! | allnurses

Can I Survive Off Of CNA Salary?? Opinions & Stories Please!

  1. 1 Hi everyone!

    im very curious if it is possible to survive out in the "real world" with the CNA salary of 25,000 a year & is that even the average salary anymore? How much does average CNA's get paid a hour? Most importantly, can I survive off of CNA salary?

  2. Visit  FuturePedsNurse92 profile page

    About FuturePedsNurse92

    Joined Feb '12; Posts: 7; Likes: 2.

    41 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  nguyency77 profile page
    I'm sure that you didn't mean it like that, but it sounds like you're saying a CNA's salary is crap. Maybe it is. As a CNA I make $13 an hour in a skilled nursing facility. That's more than my parents, who are immigrants, could ever hope to make. Maybe $13 isn't so much, but I'm proud that I can buy my own college textbooks and put away money for my wedding.

    It just depends on how much and how hard you're willing to work. There are many people who make a living being CNAs.
  4. Visit  CNA-Alyssa profile page
    Im working off a CNA salary, its rough, i am using state assistance BUT some places you can live off just the straight salary, Im currently making 8.75 through an agency so i guess it just depends on where you go. Best wishes to you!
    QuietRiot, Missingyou, and CNA1991 like this.
  5. Visit  CNA1991 profile page
    You could survive just fine on a CNAs salary working full-time. I think you can make above average of what is projected for your area if you find a facility that pays well and you will get raises over time. Hospitals in a lot of areas (not all) pay very well and usually enough to afford a nice apartment. Plus, a lot of CNA jobs have benefits, so that would save you on medical related issues overtime. I am planning on moving out before I finish nursing school on a CNAs salary.
    Missingyou, sheena2122, Brebre41, and 2 others like this.
  6. Visit  interceptinglight profile page
    Gosh. I started out at $7.62/hour before I was certified, after I was certified 4 months later my pay went up to $9.62 (Idaho wages). The LTC facility I worked at gave a big huge 15 cents an hour raise every year -- at that rate I'd have to work 3 more years before I'd even break $10.00/hour, which comes to about $19200 yearly. Because I have 4 kids and I was the only wage-earner in the household I was not able to live on what I made, and I only survived on that because I had social security income from my children's father in addition to the hourly. Whether or not you can live on a CNA salary depends largely on your living expenses and where you work. There is a thread on this forum devoted entirely to CNA pay, that would give you a good cross-section of pay scales around the country from people who are making those wages not just from a website. However, if you look it up, CNA pay usually ranges from $8/hour up to $13-14/hour.
    Missingyou and CNA1991 like this.
  7. Visit  FuturePedsNurse92 profile page
    Don't take it the wrong way please. I don't see many cna's saying they make 13 dollars being in that profession. That's why I posted to see from real cna's. It's great to hear that you're doing great, I plan to do the same. Thank you for posting your comment though.
    QuietRiot likes this.
  8. Visit  PinkCupcake profile page
    It depends on where you live and if it's just you or you're trying to support a family on a CNA salary. Where I live if you work in a LTC facility you will start at around 8.25/hr. If you you go to a hospital a bit more than that. The average salary in my state is about 20,000 to start and after 5+ yrs. it's 30,000 and doesn't go much higher than that.
    CNA1991 and interceptinglight like this.
  9. Visit  AGWSRnurse profile page
    I teach a CNA class at a high school in Iowa. CNA's start at $10.10 at the nursing home a block away from the high school. Most nursing homes in our area are in the $9-$10 range to start. There is a weekend differential and time and one half for call-in, double time for major holidays generally.

    Yes, one can "survive"...but hopefully your aspirations are more than survival.

    CNA work is demanding...but rewarding. It is an excellent job that one can survive on while continuing their education..whatever career path that might be.
    There is usually plenty of hours to be had, and it dovetails perfectly with going to school usually as there are evening and nite shifts, weekend work etc.

    One always has to think short term...and long term....
    It may be perfect for 4-6 years...but will you be able to do this job all your working life?
    It may inspire you to continue to learn more and become more educated and have more responsibility as either an LPN or an RN.
  10. Visit  Staragate profile page
    Only one way to find out. Create a budget. Add in food cost, rent, utilities, insurance, clothing allowance, gasoline, incidentals. Then figure out how many hours you think would work at the rate of pay. You do the math. Research actual costs so it's more accurate.
  11. Visit  BabyRN2Be profile page
    I just wanted to make a comment. There was (is?) a website called, and from experience I'd say that most of the time that the salaries for the median are on the high side. I've learned not to trust so if people still use that, I'd check out other salary calculators to compare what salaries are going for in your area. Just FYI.
    headin'there likes this.
  12. Visit  interceptinglight profile page
    Quote from BabyRN2Be
    I just wanted to make a comment. There was (is?) a website called, and from experience I'd say that most of the time that the salaries for the median are on the high side. I've learned not to trust so if people still use that, I'd check out other salary calculators to compare what salaries are going for in your area. Just FYI.
    This is the site I was talking about:

    It appears the site is just called PayScale and it's the first thing that came up on a Google search. From what I gather on this forum, it's a fair representation of the pay range one can expect as a CNA, but from my own experience there are more CNA's at the low end of the pay scale than the high end. Because the education required to a CNA is minimal, the pay is not as good as a more educated position. Nevertheless, I've seen people leave high-paying but unrewarding jobs to become a CNA because of the emotional satisfaction they get from helping people in a very direct and personal way....but mostly those people have a working spouse to help with living expenses so that they can afford to take such a deep cut in household income.
    CNA1991 and fuzzywuzzy like this.
  13. Visit  fuzzywuzzy profile page
    My wages are kind of high, I guess, but so is the cost of living in my state, so it evens out. Then again I was doing some comparing not too long ago and in CA the wages are the same and the cost of living is ridiculously high, so I guess it depends on where you live. My boyfriend and I make the same amount of money working 40 hours a week and we do just fine. HOWEVER, our cars were paid off a few years ago, our apartment is cheap, and we have no children. Not to mention, his family paid for his college education and I'm still working on mine, very slowly because I can't afford it! That's okay for now, but I don't want to get stuck living paycheck to paycheck for the rest of my life, renting a dang apartment and getting my degree when I'm 45! I want to buy a house and maybe go on vacation once every 10 years and not have to worry about what I'm gonna do when my back finally quits on me after doing this kind of work for so long.

    Based on your user name I'm guessing you're planning on nursing school. If you have no children, you can probably do the CNA thing for a few years until you're done with school and get by.
  14. Visit  FuturePedsNurse92 profile page
    Thank yu. That was exactly what I was looking for!

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