The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services defines a nurse aide as someone employed to perform nursing or related services and who is not a licensed health care professional. Nurse aides, also called nursing assistants, must be certified to legally work in certain types of employment. This credential provides them with the title of certified nurse aide, or CNA. Nebraska CNA salaries are low compared to nationwide figures for this occupation.
The amount of money CNAs make in Nebraska varies with location. CNAs working in Valentine, for instance, have a median annual salary of $18,636 as of March 2011, while those in Norfolk are making $21,369 per year, as detailed by Salary.com. The median annual salary for CNAs in Chadron is $19,708, in Scottsbluff $19,990, and in Grand Island $20,582. All these salaries rank in the bottom 10 percent for CNAs nationwide. CNAs in Lincoln earn a much higher median salary, at $24,811 per year, but that still ranks in the bottom 25 percent nationwide. CNAs in Omaha earn a median pay rate of $26,362 per year, closer to the nationwide average of $28,194 for this occupation.
In this group of cities, the lowest pay was in Valentine, where the bottom 10 percent of CNAs were earning less than $15,555 per year. The highest pay was in Omaha, where the top 10 percent of CNAs had salaries of $31,297 and higher per year. Nationwide, the bottom 10 percent salary scale for CNAs was higher, at $23,531 and below, and the top 10 percent also was higher, at $33,473 and more.
Federal law requires that nurse aides who work in nursing homes or other skilled nursing facilities must be certified. This involves completing a state-approved 75-hour training course and passing a competency evaluation. In Nebraska, after a nursing assistant completes these requirements, she is automatically listed on the state nurse registry that employers use to verify certification. Many employers who can legally hire non-certified nursing assistants still prefer certification because it indicates a standard of quality. Looking at Grand Island as a representative CNA median salary in Nebraska, or the number in the middle of the salary figures, a non-certified nursing assistant earns a median salary of $19,231 per year. That's about 7 percent less than the CNA median salary of $20,582.
Types of Employment
CNAs working in certain employment settings earn varying salaries. Looking again at the Grand Island salary as a representative median salary in Nebraska, CNAs in that city who work in nursing homes have a median salary of $17,499 per year, significantly less than the median salary for all CNAs there at $20,582. CNAs working in long-term care in Grand Island have a median annual salary of $18,508, and in occupational health $20,328 per year.