Can I make a living as CNA? I'm ready to move!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


i'm done with my CNA course (paying out of pocket) i just have to take the GA exam. i applied for a job at an ALF and they pay around $8-8.50 per hour. i'm also want to take prereqs for nursing school. i'm thinking about moving out of my boyfriend's house (he doesn't work and i'm working at Jcpenneys) to this 1 bedroom apartment ($365 a month plus some utilities) but i don't know if i can make a living off $8 an hour.

I really want to move out on my own without any distractions from him. he knows this is hard work that i'm about to put in and he wants to play like it is no big deal. now my question is can i make it financially as a CNA. i want to work the 7-3 morning shift and take classes in the afternoon or evening. is it possible? i really need some advice.

Specializes in ICU. Has 12 years experience.

Really, this is a question of budgeting, not your career! Take out a piece of paper and at the top, calculate what your monthly take home income is going to be as a CNA. Then list all the various bills and other expenses you will be once you move out. This needs to be as exact as possible because you don't want to find out a few months after moving out that you are not making enough to stay a float. Some things to consider are:


Utilities - call up the apt and ask for an avg so you can have an idea

Food - do not skimp or lie to yourself here! If you currently spend $200 on food now, most likely you are not going to cut this expense down by half or more unless you are really comitited to being a frugal cook and shopper.

Gas - if you have a car, or this could be bus pass,

Car payment - if you have one

Car insurance - if you own a car

Credit cards - not just the minimum balances either or you'll forever being making payments

School expenses - tuition, books, supplies, anything that won't be covered by a student loan or grant

Health & beauty products

Fun money

Clothes - this doesnt need to be extravagent, but you'll need new scrubs, socks, underwear, shoes, ect. every now and again. Might as well set money aside each month to do so!

health insurance - if you don't get it through work and have it taken out of your check already.

This are just some basic things to think about expense wise, each person has their own needs, like pet food, day care, personal loan payments, SAVINGS (emergency fund is so important to have!)

If at the end of this, your income is greater than your expenses, then you should be fine. If not, either consider ways to realistically cut down your expenses, or maybe hold off on moving out and going to school until you can increase your income or pay off debt. Hope this helps!


416 Posts

What Tfleuter said was perfect do all of those things. Most places pay more money for the evening 3-11 shift and graveyard 11-7. Plus graveyard gives you more time to study, many that I work with are nursing students and for about 5 hours a night they sit with their books. Management is totally supportive as long as they make rounds, they do, and answer call lights, they do. Also many places pay more for weekends, so two 12 hour plus shifts on the weekends add up quick. I wish you luck!


24 Posts

thank for the advice. i did some budgeting and some of the things on the list i really don't need to pay for like car payments (in my parents name but i will have to pay for my part of the insurance) and a dog. but other than that i feel optimistic about it. also it seem like a good idea to work the graveyard shift.

sydney shaw

20 Posts

I tried it for a while in nursing school, but I hated it.

I ended up quitting and finding other ways of paying my bills.

good luck


7 Posts

Have you checked the pay at hospitals where you live??? They usually pay more than NH's or ALF's. I think you should wait a few months and see how much money ur bringing in monthly and how much you have left over after bills and everyday spending money. As far as working 7-3 while in nursing school...I dont think thats the best approach! Nursing school is no joke...its definetely alot harder than any other class you have probably taken and it requires alot of dedication...You might burn yourself out working full-time, going to school, and moving ino a new place...Take some time b4 you make any decisions!!! best of luck!

Specializes in ICU. Has 12 years experience.

jeanise makes a good point! Working full time while in nursing school has been done, but it's not for everyone, I'm sure! You say you want to move out because you think your boyfriend will be too much of a distraction, but if this allows you to only have to work part time, it may be worth staying. You can always stay after class and study in the library so you won't have to worry about any distractions.

Of course, choosing to stay in your boyfriends house should really have more to do with how the relationship is going than anything else. If your relationship is strong and you otherwise enjoy living with him, then I'm sure you can make things work. BUT, if you don't want to stay in his house, focus on making ends meet and then worry about school :up:

Dorali, BSN, LPN, RN

1 Article; 471 Posts

Specializes in 6 yrs LTC, 1 yr MedSurg, Wound Care. Has 12 years experience.

Hi! I was thinking back to the days when my boyfriend (now husband) and I first moved to our own place it was about what you are looking at now. He was making $8 or $8.50 and I stayed at home (pregnant). Our rent was $315 plus electric (water paid). We had groceries, phone, car insurance (no monthly car payment) and that was about it, thank goodness, because that's all we could afford. Oh, and we had a dog too.

If moving out on your own is something you definitely want to do, then yes it's possible. You WILL be sacrificing a lot of things though. You can count on that. If you can, I would wait to move out until you absolutely have to. Until then put as much money up as you can and save it for later.

Good luck with whatever you decided to do!


Specializes in Pediatric Hem/Onc. Has 4 years experience.

Everyone's given great advice, but I'd like to suggest one more thing: find a better job offer! They're out there but it takes a lot of searching. I have no experience and I found a place that started me at way more than that an hour, plus an awesome benefits package. Also, work second or third shift because there's usually a shift diff that will help you out.

Good luck :)

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