Certified nurse assistants, or CNAs — also known as nurse aides — aren’t licensed as strictly as other nursing staff and undergo less-stringent certification processes in Oregon. CNAs often work in nursing homes, providing day-to-day care for residents, or in health care facilities, where they perform minor tasks. CNA certification doesn’t allow nurse aides to perform the level of duties that registered nurses and licensed practical nurses do, so their salaries are much lower than other professions in the nursing field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 13,200 nurses aides and orderlies worked in Oregon as of May 2010. CNAs in the state earned an average annual salary of $26,570. Because the position is frequently paid on an hourly basis, CNAs receive an average hourly wage of $12.77 per hour. Because wages are traditionally low for certified nurse assistants, there isn’t a wide range of salaries available to those in the profession, with half of all CNAs in the state earning between $21,710 and $30,840.
Salaries Around Oregon
Because of differences in the cost of living around the state and the supply of CNAs in different cities, the average salary for certified nurse assistants varies between large cities in Oregon. CNAs in Portland and Salem, for example, tend to earn salaries roughly equivalent to the state average, earning average annual salaries in both cities of $26,000 as of May 2011, according to Simply Hired. CNAs in Eugene, on the other hand, may expect to earn much less than the statewide average, with an average annual salary of $22,000.
National Average Salary
Certified nurse assistants in Oregon receive salaries that are close to the national average for their position. Nationwide, the average CNA received a median annual salary of $26,407 as of May 2011, according to Salary.com. Fifty percent of CNAs received salaries between $23,960 and $29,557. CNAs who earned salaries in this range have less than two years of experience in the field. Alternately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for nurse aides was $25,140 as of May 2010.
Oregon Nurse Aide Certification
The Oregon State Board of Nursing oversees the CNA certification process, requiring applicants to successfully complete a written, multiple-choice exam and adequately demonstrate skills in a practical, hands-on test. To qualify to sit at a CNA exam, a candidate must complete a CNA training program approved by the Oregon State Board of Nursing or complete a similar program in another state with at least 75 hours of instruction. CNAs must also successfully clear a criminal background check before receiving certification to work in Oregon.