California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Nursing Assistants in California

May also be called: Certified Nurse Assistants; Geriatric Aides; Hospital Attendants; Nurse Aides; Nurse Assistants; and Patient Care Technicians

What Would I Do?

Nursing Assistants carry out the routine work in the general care of patients. They typically answer patients’ call lights, deliver messages, make beds, and help patients eat, dress, and bathe.

Nursing Assistants work in a variety of environments, including acute care, residential care, and skilled nursing facilities, as well as clinics and hospitals. Most full-time Assistants work about 40 hours a week, but because patients need care 24 hours a day, some Assistants work evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays. Employers generally provide or pay for uniforms and supplies.

Will This Job Fit Me?

This job may appeal to those with social natures who enjoy helping people and providing health care services. Nursing Assistants need to be able to communicate effectively with coworkers and supervisors in order to help meet the needs of their patients.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2016 for Nursing Assistants in California is $29,725 annually, or $14.29 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$25,147$29,725$37,016
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Nursing Assistants in hospitals often receive at least one week of vacation after one year of service. Holidays and sick leave, hospital and medical benefits, extra pay for late-shift work, and pension plans are available to many hospital employees and to some nursing care facility employees. In some cases, dental and long-term disability insurance is offered.

What is the Job Outlook?

The elderly population, a group with much greater than average health care needs, will grow faster than the total population, increasing the demand for health services, especially for home health care, nursing, and personal care. This ensures continued demand for Nursing Assistants to work in the growing number of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Further increasing the demand for Nursing Assistants is the managed health care practice of moving patients from acute care hospitals to skilled nursing facilities as quickly as possible.

How Do I Qualify?

The minimum education that employers typically prefer is a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED). In order to work in California, Nursing Assistants need to be certified, earning the title of Certified Nurse Assistant or Aide (CNA).

Finding a Job

Direct contact with employers is a good way to find a job in this field. Program placement offices in training locations may also assist in locating a position. Some applicants find jobs through newspaper or online classified advertisements. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


Learn More About Nursing Assistants