Central California pay for cna?

  1. After I spend a year here as a CNA, my family and I are moving to central California, around Bakersfield. Is there anyone who has worked as a CNA in Bakersfield? Or knows how much they start out at with a years exp? Thank you!
  2. Visit Gloin profile page

    About Gloin

    Joined: Oct '08; Posts: 26; Likes: 7

    17 Comments

  3. by   Neveranurseagain
    Check into the prison system in Central CA. They pay fairly well, good benefits and you might be able to try it out through a temp agency first to see if you like it. I've seen full time short term assignments available.
  4. by   Gloin
    full time short term? That mean like, ill only work there for a while then theyll let me go? I need stability.
  5. by   Neveranurseagain
    Working a short term (90 day) position will give you time to see if you like correctional nursing. Plus they pay very well for a CNA. But if you think you would likr correctional nursing apply directly to the prison system.
  6. by   Gloin
    Yea im 100% sure i would like it, so you think if i get my cna, would they hire me with little exp ( a few months vulenteering at a hospital )? as long as im cert?
  7. by   CaliGuy
    i have been a cna in northern california for over 3 years and am currently thinking of relocating around the sacramento area (grass valley looks good). i have found a resource you may find helpful. it is the california healthcare foundation nursing home search website http://www.calnhs.org/nursinghomes/.

    you will need to enter the zip code for bakersfield (93305) and hit the go button. the site will display nursing facilities in the area (12) with ratings for various qualities (up to 3 stars). i would start with the hospitals/facilities that rate 2 1/2 to 3 stars in the staffing column. click on the facility name that you want more information on. a new page will appear with more information about that hospital. in this profile click on the "staffing" link (underlined in blue). again a new page will appear that will give you a lot of info on staffing that includes average wages for cnas at that facility and in the region ($10.80 - not very good for california).

    keep in mind that these are based on the last reports registered on the site (many are 3 years old). wages for cnas most probably have not gone up more than about 50 to 75 cents per hour in this area over the last 3 years and the wage listed for the facility is an average of all cnas hired at the facility (some of whom have many years experience). so you should not expect more than the listed average if you only have one year experience. most facilities have a hiring standard which they will use and if they ask you what your salary expectation is, it is only to see if your expectations are realistic. asking for too much will be likely to hurt your chances of being hired asking for a little less than what they offer will probably not effect your actual pay. be aware that some of the smaller facilities that are not attached to a hospital may have more flexibility in there wage scale.

    this site is also useful in finding out what kind of deficiencies a facility may have and if they may actually have a practice of meeting and exceeding goals (few do in staffing). other useful information includes the number of beds, the types of residents (how many are restrained, need assistance eating, etc.) and the names and mailing addresses of the director. i would recommend customizing your resume and cover letter (ask for an appointment to view the facility) to each facility that you wish to apply to. you should not have a problem finding employment in this area. good luck.
  8. by   Gloin
    Thank you guys, and thank you for your amazing replies. I love this website because you people really care about others, truly teaches me how to be a better person as well.
  9. by   CaliGuy
    I just read the post from AWSMom, and though I don't want to attempt to invalidate her opinion, I think you should probably start out in a facility other than a prison system. I noticed that you are only 19 years old. Prisons are tough places. They may pay well but you would probably be better off working at a Long Term Care or Extended Care Center. I would recommend that you try to find one that is connected with a hospital. You will end up less jaded and you may find yourself even being able to get some critical care experience filling in on the Medical Surgical Unit as I have.

    The last thing you need as a starting CNA is pressure from a con to smuggle in drugs or even worse getting physically injured. Remember a CNA has more direct personal care time with the patients than any other member of a health care team. Would you rather spend your time helping the elderly or turning a dangerous thug with knife wounds. It is something to think about anyway. If you are physically and emotionally tough you might consider the prison system. But, I would encourage you to consider the long term effects to your psyche.

    Another thing to consider is not only the type of patient but also the caliber of individuals you are likely to be exposed to in the work place. From my limited experience with prison guards, I would estimate many of them not to be much better than the prisoners. I know many will find this insulting and I apologize to those that work ethically within the prison system; however, most that are ethical would probably agree that it is no place for a young new nursing professional. You would be better off spending your time in the company of other ethical professionals and caring grandparents. Another point I would like to make is that if you find that you do not like the job and quit early, it is not a good mark on your rsum. Try to find a first job that you will want to keep for at least a year.

    Someone like myself would be a better fit for this kind of job (I weigh 260 lbs. and am very street wise) and I would not even want to work in a prison. As a CNA you are expected to live and work by the same creed as any other medical professional "Though shall inflict no harm" yet the prisoner lives by a completely different creed. Even in elderly care facilities many new CNAs have great difficulty maintaining a caring and compassionate attitude, it is a very difficult thing to maintain in a punitive system. There is a reason why they offer higher pay within a prison system. Just my two cents for what is worth, there is a lot more to choosing a work place than pay scale.
  10. by   Gloin
    I love how indepth your answers are, i enjoy reading it very much. I agree the work and the stress etc would be greater, though CNA is just a transition job for me as I would like to be a RN eventually. So if i had to put away a few years at a prison so be it, because I know there'd be a light at the end of the tunnel that is RN. But I'll definatly not limit myself to only looking into prisons. I would take any CNA job that paid over 10 an hour. I don't want my motives to be questiond though, just because I focus so much on pay doesn't mean a thing, except the fact that is just what i need to survive with my bills. so its a crutial thing for me.

    I was wondering cali guy or anyone else, would you be able to tell me my options about the CNA / RN transition. Any and all input is apreciated.
  11. by   Neveranurseagain
    Just so you know, wages may be low but houses are MUCH cheaper--I've seen nice looking ones for $150,000. Alot of foreclosures in Bakersfield right now.
  12. by   CaliGuy
    most of the nursing facilities in the bakersfield area pay more than $10 per hour. i would first look into bakersfield memorial hospital and mercy hospital. both of them have average cna wages for the period of 2004 to 2005 that exceed $12 per hour. also both have average employee benefit expenditures of over $8 per employee work hour. this could be very important to someone who has a pregnant significant other (i read some of your past post to get a better idea of your circumstance). also both are long term care centers that are connected to a hospital. many hospitals are at least partly self insured, which usually equates to lower or no co-pays and better coverage so long as care is given within the same hospital system. most hospitals carry additional insurance to cover situations that occur out of the area.

    hospitals will give you exposure to change over meetings and care conferences that will introduce you to nursing issues at a depth you probably would not otherwise get the benefit of. both of these hospitals also have met and substantially exceeded their staffing goals. this will make your job easier, allow you to spend more quality time with residents and give you more interaction with nurses of advanced degrees. you may note as you look at most hospital connected ltcs that most do not have the greatest scores for state and federal deficiencies, but this is probably due mainly to a tendency for the state to evaluate hospitals more stringently than independent care centers (this is my belief, i do not have evidence of this, but it seems to me that many retirement homes would not possibly be able to survive state inspections if they where held to the same standards as the hospital that i work).

    another way you may be able to make more money is to work per diem or volunteer for overtime and holidays. unfortunately, though working per diem pays better you will not get benefits and unless your significant other has another source of benefits they can be very important (of coarse for your girlfriend to get the benefits you will probably have to be married). i work per diem (mostly nights and weekends), average somewhere around 8 hours of ot per week and make over 40k a year (pay is high here since the cost of living is very high - tahoe area). another consideration before going per diem is that generally most hospitals will not guarantee more than 20 hours per week. i let it be known that i am available for night shifts and sick calls and am offered more hours than i can work. you might try to get a feel for the potential for full time per diem work from the department director during your visit to a facility.

    as far as the transition from cna to rn, it is a difficult one. the problem is that unless you have a scholarship or loans that will carry you and your bills while you go to a full time nursing school, you are going to be like me - stuck making a living. it is possible to go to college while working full time as a cna, but you will probably only be able to enroll in one or two courses at a time. this will work while getting your prerequisites, but generally will not work while in nursing school. i have not found a reputable nursing school that allows you to go part-time for an rn program (at least i have not found one in my area). i encourage you to research this further. there are plenty of online schools that make this claim, but i would not want to attempt to take the nclex after one of them and even if you pass the exam, i would not bet on being able to get hired by any hospital. let's just say i have never known a nurse that was employed that completed one of these programs. i imagine that facilities that pay their rns $20 an hour must be about the only employers that hire these people (i may have just made a few more enemies).

    you are on the right track if you want to become an rn though, most nursing schools are now requiring that you are certified as a nursing assistant prior to entering their rn program and some even give extra points for actually working as a cna. getting into a good nursing program these days is very competitive. you need to have a near 4.0 average in your prerequisites. some schools are more lenient for lvn programs and more will let you enter the program with a part time commitment. then of coarse there are lvn to rn upgrade programs. another solution could be to go into another related field such as radiology, some of these allow for part time attendance. that is what i intend to do, but it is also in my line of interest and experience.

    of course as others have told you there is the military option, but i am with you in that i will not support the military machine. it is not that it is dishonorable to be in the military by any means; however, it is in my opinion that refusing to support a system that has kept us at war constantly since ww1 is even more honorable. i wasted nearly 6 years in the air force myself (space command) and regret it. my time would have been much better spent in college.
  13. by   Gloin
    So you are going CNA to LVN (Is lvn the same as lpn)? I'm not going to be able to accomplish a near 4.0 (not very book smart) so the CNA to RN thing will not work. Can you give me more info on the process from cna to lpn/lvn? and then lvn/lpn to RN? (perhaps) Also, isn't "per diem" not very stable? You don't know if your gonna have work all the time right? like 6 months from now your gonna be looking for another job and hope you find one? am i wrong? please claify
    Last edit by Gloin on Nov 17, '08
  14. by   Gloin
    Also tell me what you think about this plan, tell me flaws or holes you see or things I'm wrong about and maybe better ways to go about it...

    As soon as I get a job as a CNA here(phoenix), I'll immediately start classes for LPN which takes about a year to 18 months. So it'd be Mid 2010 before I was done. So I'd have a year and a half hospital experience, and be an LPN by the time I got to California. Once in California and with my LPN and a year and half experience behind me, I should get a job pretty easily I think. There are bridge programs that makes it easier for an LPN to become an RN then the normal public to just go to nursing school. LPN to RN bridge programs usually take about 2 years.

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