Nursing assistants who work in nursing homes or other skilled nursing facilities that receive reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid must be certified, as mandated by federal law. In California, nursing assistants working in hospitals also must be certified. Becoming a certified nursing assistant in California involves completing a state-approved 150-hour training course and passing a state competency exam. CNA salaries in California have a wide range.
Salaries of CNAs in California vary with location. CNAs in Eureka, for instance, earn a median salary of $23,711 per year as of March 2011, according to Salary.com. That translates to about $1,980 per month. The annual median salary of a CNA in Redding is $27,768, or about $2,310 per month; in Fresno $28,251 per year or about $2,350 per month; in San Bernardino $29,689 per year, or about $2,470 per month; in Bakersfield $29,745 per year, or about $2,480 per month; in San Diego $29,830 per year, or about $2,490 per month; in Sacramento $30,055 per year, or about $2,500 per month; in Los Angeles $30,957 per year, or about $2,580 per month; and in San Francisco, $33,833 per year, or about $2,820 per month.
In California, the Fresno average salary for CNAs of $28,251 is closest to the nationwide pay rate of $28,194 for these health care workers. Nationwide, the middle 50 percent of CNAs earn about $2,150 to $2,580 per month, and the top 10 percent more than $2,790 per month. That ranks the Eureka median salary in the bottom 25 percent nationwide, Los Angeles in the top 25 percent and San Francisco in the top 10 percent.
The highest CNA salaries in this group of California cities are in San Francisco, where the top 10 percent earn at least $40,168 per year, or about $3,350 per month, and in Los Angeles, where the top 10 percent earn at least $36,753, or about $3,060 per month. The lowest salaries are in Eureka, where the bottom 10 percent of CNA pay rates are $19,790 per year and lower, or about $1,650 per month and lower.
Although nursing homes are a primary employer for CNAs, the salaries there generally are not as high as in other employment settings. CNAs working in Eureka nursing homes, for example, have a median salary of $20,160, or $1,680 per month, about 15 percent lower than the median salary for all CNAs in that city. The median salary for a nursing home CNA in Bakersfield is $25,289 annually, or about $2,110 monthly, and in San Francisco, $28,765 annually, or about $2,400 monthly.