Working as a Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) can be a rewarding career choice. It is not only secure employment with excellent career prospects, but it is also an opportunity to assist people in their day-to-day requirements.
As a GNA, you'll be responsible for providing essential nursing services and assistance to elders. Your duties may include bathing, dressing, feeding patients, and providing emotional support. The pay, however, may differ considerably depending on personal characteristics such as experience, location, and employer.
This guide will go over everything you need to know about GNA salaries and job outlook.
A note about our data. We use the median of the data gathered from The BLS at data.bls.gov and other salary data sources such as Salary.com, Indeed.com and Zippia.com. We believe that this is the best average to follow, rather than the mean or mode. The mean will find the average of all salaries in each state; the mode will favor the most frequently reported salaries. However, the median will find the middle. All data in this report will favor the middle salary from all ranges, which means 50% will fall below and 50% will be above the salary data reported below. On another note, we have removed data from Puerto Rico, Guam, and The Virgin Islands from the data we have sourced as we have focused on the 50 US States plus The District Of Colombia.
GNA Salaries in the United States
In the healthcare sector, salaries can differ considerably from one state to another. Geriatric Nursing Assistants are no exception. They make, on average, $11.14 per hour, or $23,210 annually in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But it differs from one state to another and is often influenced by the cost of living.
You need to be aware of several aspects when considering a career as a Geriatric Nursing Assistant. In the following sections, we will look at GNA salaries in different states and see how they compare to each other.
How Much Does a GNA Make a Year?
The yearly income of a GNA is determined by the number of hours worked per week. Geriatric Nursing Assistants who work full-time can expect to make more than those who work part-time. In addition, Geriatric Nursing Assistants who have been in the profession for a longer period usually earn more than those just starting.
The average Geriatric Nursing Assistant salary in the United States is $23,210 per year or $11.14 per hour. It is worth noting that salaries can differ significantly from one state to another.
The Geriatric Nursing Assistant's salary in California is, for example, $27,920 per year, which is 19% higher than the national average. In New York, the GNA salary is 16% higher at $26,790 per year. At the other end of the spectrum, Geriatric Nursing Assistants in Mississippi make the least, with an average salary of $17,610 per year. This salary is 24% lower than the national average.
How Much Does a GNA Make an Hour?
GNAs are generally paid on a per-hour basis because of the nature of their work. Some nursing assistants may work overtime or be on call, leading to increased earnings. The hourly pay for a Geriatric Nursing Assistant can range from $8.50 to $17.00, with the median being $11.14.
The average hourly wage for a Geriatric Nursing Assistant in the United States is $11.14. Again, there is significant variation from one state to another, and many factors influence GNA salaries.
GNA Salary by State
As we mentioned earlier, GNA salaries can differ considerably from one state to another. The cost of living and the number of GNAs employed in a particular state will have an impact on earnings.
In general, states with a higher cost of living also have higher GNA salaries. California is a perfect example of this, with GNAs earning 19% more than the national average. States like New York, Alaska, and Hawaii also have higher-than-average GNA salaries.
At the other end of the spectrum are states like Arkansas, West Virginia, and Mississippi, where GNAs earn 24%, 22%, and 21% less than the national average.
The table below shows the average GNA salary in all 51 states.
Hourly median wage
Annual median wage
Compared To National Average
District of Columbia
Factors That Affect How Much a GNA Makes
There are a number of factors that will affect how much a Geriatric Nursing Assistant earns. Here are some of the most important:
The state where they work: As we saw in the table above, GNA salaries can vary significantly from one state to another. This is due to a number of factors, including the cost of living and the number of GNAs employed in each state.
The type of facility: Geriatric Nursing Assistants working in hospitals tend to earn more than those working in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.
The size of the facility: Larger facilities typically offer higher salaries than smaller ones. It is because they come with additional benefits such as health insurance.
Experience and certification: GNAs with more experience and/or advanced certification (such as the Certified Geriatric Nursing Assistant, or CGNA) can expect to earn more than those without or who are just starting out.
Union membership: Many GNAs are members of unions, which can negotiate higher wages and better working conditions.
The number of hours worked: GNAs who work overtime or are on call can expect to earn more than those who work regular hours. In addition, GNAs who work night shifts or weekends may also receive premium pay.
How Quickly Can You Become a GNA and Start Earning?
GNAs typically require a minimum of 75 hours of training, which can be completed in as little as two weeks. Some states may require more hours, so it's important to check with your state's requirements. Once you've completed your training, you'll need to pass a competency exam before you can start working.
While not required, taking advanced courses or becoming certified can help you earn a higher salary. The Certified Geriatric Nursing Assistant (CGNA) designation is the most common and widely recognized. To earn this designation, you'll need to complete an accredited training program and pass an exam.
The National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) also offers a Certified Nursing Assistant – Advanced Standing (CNA-AS) credential for those who have completed additional training beyond the 75-hour minimum. To earn this credential, you must have at least one year of experience working as a GNA and complete an approved training program.
Overall, you can start earning within a few weeks of completing your training. However, if you want to maximize your earning potential, becoming certified or taking advanced courses is a good idea.
How Much a GNA Makes Against Other Nursing Jobs
When compared to other nursing jobs, GNAs earn a relatively low salary. For example, registered nurses earn a median salary of $71,730 per year, while licensed practical nurses earn a median salary of $45,090 per year. Similarly, travel nurses earn a median salary of $74,280 per year.
However, it's important to remember that GNAs typically require less training than other nursing jobs. For example, registered nurses need to complete an accredited nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, while licensed practical nurses need to complete an accredited practical nursing program and pass the NCLEX-PN exam.
In addition, the demand for GNAs is expected to grow in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of GNAs will increase by 20 percent from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to the increasing number of people over the age of 65, which is the population that GNAs typically serve.
So while GNAs may not earn as much as some other nursing jobs, they offer a good opportunity for those interested in working with the elderly population. The job outlook is good and the training requirements are relatively low, making it a great option for those who want to enter the nursing field.
GNA Salary FAQs
What is the Difference Between a GNA and a CNA?
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a health care worker who provides basic patient care, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. A GNA, on the other hand, is a health care worker who specializes in providing care to elderly patients. Both professionals typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, or other long-term care facilities. But because GNAs have more training and experience working with elderly patients, they typically earn a higher salary than CNAs.
Am I Being Paid Fairly as a GNA?
To find out if you're being paid fairly as a GNA, compare your salary to the median salary for GNAs in your area. You can also compare your salary to the salaries of other nursing jobs, such as registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. If you find that you're being paid less than other GNAs or nursing professionals, you may want to consider negotiating for a higher salary.
Are GNAs Paid Mostly Hourly or Annually?
Most GNAs are paid hourly, although some may receive a salary. Your pay will depend on factors like your employer, experience, and certification. The frequency of payment (hourly or salary) is typically noted in your employment contract.
Do GNAs Get Paid Overtime?
Yes, GNAs can get paid overtime. In fact, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that all employees who work over 40 hours per week be paid time-and-a-half for their overtime hours. So if you typically work 45 hours per week, you should be paid your regular hourly rate for the first 40 hours, and then 1.5 times your regular hourly rate for the 5 overtime hours.
Do GNAs Get Paid More Privately or in Hospitals?
The average hourly wage for GNAs is $13.50, regardless of whether they work in a hospital or other type of facility. However, hospitals do provide other benefits that can increase your overall pay, such as health insurance and retirement plans. So if you're considering a job at a hospital, be sure to ask about all the benefits and compensation packages that are available.
What State Pays GNAs the Most Per Hour?
The state that pays GNAs the most per hour is Alaska, where they earn an average of $21.50 per hour. Other states with high hourly wages for GNAs include California ($19.50), Massachusetts ($18.90), and Oregon ($17.80).
Can You Live off a GNAs Salary in the USA?
Based on the current average hourly wage for GNAs in the United States ($13.50), a full-time GNA would earn a salary of $28,080 per year. While this salary is below the national average, it is possible to live off of it in some parts of the country. For example, the cost of living in rural areas is typically lower than in urban areas. So if you're considering a job as a GNA, be sure to research the cost of living in the area where you'll be working.
Final Thoughts on GNA Salaries
The demand for GNAs is anticipated to rise in the future, so plenty of employment opportunities will be available. Even though the typical hourly wage for GNs is lower than that of some other nursing careers, such as how much do RNs make? you may still earn a good salary if you work in a high-paying state or region. And because GNAs typically receive benefits like health insurance and retirement plans, your overall compensation package may be more than expected. If you're considering becoming a GNA, research local employment salaries and compare them to the national average.