Want to help others? Become a nurse technician. Nursing technicians — who are more usually referred to as nursing assistants or nursing aides — work with registered nurses and physicians to give patients the basic care they need on a routine basis. Giving baths, dressing patients, helping them move around and feeding them are only some of the duties nursing assistants perform, according to All Allied Health School. Nursing assistants can become certified if they wish, but it isn't a job requirement.
The yearly average salary for nursing assistants in the United States was $24,980 as of 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Actual yearly salaries ranged from $17,510 to $32,670.
Alaska had the top yearly average salary for nursing assistants among U.S. states in 2009 at $32,390, according to the BLS. Nevada was the second highest-paying state that year at $30,970, and New York came in third at $30,850. Hawaii and Connecticut also averaged salaries over $30,000.
Nursing assistants in Louisiana earned the lowest nationwide average for the profession, at $19,630 as of 2009, according to the BLS. Assistants in South Carolina ($21,090), West Virginia ($21,140) and Texas ($21,610) all earned under the national average. Puerto Rico was the lowest paying territory for nursing assistants, where the average salary was $17,250.
A continued need for nursing assistants all over the country is anticipated by the BLS, especially in nursing care facilities and long-term care. Unfortunately, part of the reason for the need for workers is the high turnover rate, meaning most assistants leave the profession. The BLS cites low pay, hard working conditions and high emotional demands as the reasons most workers leave the field. Some pursue other medical careers, including becoming licensed practical nurses or registered nurses.