Breaking it Down: Pay Scale for Nurses and CNAs

pay scale for nursesThe majority of us don’t seek out the health care field for our careers because we want to make a lot of money. We want to make a difference in the lives of others and utilize our caring and compassionate nature in a pure and positive way. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to get paid, though. Each of us has bills, and the electric company tends to frown when we don’t pay them- on time, every time.

If you’re considering a career in nursing in Florida, knowing your potential pay is an important step in deciding which career path to take.

Pay Scale for Nurses and CNAs

Registered Nurses

RNs are the big shots of the nursing field. They work with many different types of patients, from children to the elderly. Their job involves observing and recording behavior, consulting with physicians, performing tests to diagnose, educating patients on their conditions, administering treatments and medications, and treating many medical emergencies, like strokes, heart attacks, and car accidents.

How to Become a Nurse: Registered nurses generally have two to four years of nursing education under their belt before they sit for the NLEX-RN. In Florida, it is required of these nurses to have at least an associate degree to apply for the test. A bachelor degree is better though, if you want to find a higher paying position unless you have past experience as an LPN or CNA.

Pay Scale for Nurses: As a registered nurse, PayScale.com estimates that you can expect to earn an average of $24.00 and hour in Orlando, Florida. That doesn’t mean you’ll only earn that much though. In the right area of practice, like intensive care, and with a few years of experience you can earn as much as $33.68. With today’s nursing shortage, overtime isn’t out of the question, either.

Licensed Practical Nurses

LPNs may not have the education and scope of practice that RNs do, but they are an important part of the health care field. They work in doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and sometimes hospitals. They provide routine care, assist registered nurses and doctors, place IVs, administer medications, and observe the health of their patients so they can report any changes.

How to Become a Nurse: To become an licensed practical nurse in Florida, you have to have at least one year of education in a state certified nursing program. After you’ve completing that, with flying colors, you’ll have to get your CPR card, apply for your license, and take the NLEX-PN exam. Only after passing this test can you work as an LPN.

Pay Scale for Nurses: If you’re working in Orlando, Florida, you can earn an average of $17.00 per hour as an LPN, according to PayScale.com. You can earn even more with experience and overtime, (up to $22.56,) but if you have more than 20 years of experience, statistics show your average pay will actually decrease.

CNAs

A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, may be an entry level position, but it’s essential for the health care world. As a CNA, you’ll act as a health care assistant to the nurses above you, taking care of the tasks they simply don’t have time for, like bathing patients, helping them to the bathroom, recording their input and output, and watching closely for any signs of infection or behavioral changes.

How to Become a Nurse (Assistant): To become a CNA, you first have to go through CNA training. These classes are offered online, at local colleges, and even by some nursing homes and hospitals. They generally only take three to six weeks to complete, and once you’re done you’ll have to take a state test to earn your certification.

Pay Scale for CNAs: As a CNA, PayScale.com estimates that you can expect to earn about $10.49 working in Orlando, Florida. You may earn more or less, though, depending on your experience and any overtime you’re offered. While the pay may seem significantly less than an LPN or RN, the amount of time spent in training (and the cost of said training) is also significantly less as a health care assistant.

Understanding Pay Scale for Nurses and Health Care Assistants

Trying to decide what career path to take? While you want your choice to be for the right reasons, don’t forget the logical ones as well.

 

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