Nursing Home Wages Trend Lower Than in Senior Living

Hourly wages for nursing home employees who provide direct care and services tend to be lower than wages for the same job titles in assisted living facilities and continuing care retirement communities, recent survey findings show. But salaries for leadership titles and director positions did not follow the same trend.

A staff nurse (RN) in a nursing home makes an average of $27.84 per hour versus a staff nurse in an assisted living facility, who makes $29.39 per hour — or roughly 5.6% less per hour, according to data released in the 20th annual Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report, published by Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS) this week. The comparable hourly wage in a CCRC was $28.90.

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in nursing homes make 6.8% less per hour than their assisted living counterparts, at $21.56 per hour versus $23.13 per hour in ALFs. Certified nurse aides (CNAs), resident assistants, medication aides, activity aides, housekeeping staff, laundry staff, and maintenance, transportation and dining services staff all take in lower hourly wages at nursing homes than at assisted living facilities, the survey shows.

Yet the discrepancy does not carry into leadership roles such as CEO, director of nursing and activity director — all of which receive higher salaries in nursing homes on average than they do in assisted living facilities.

Further, there were some positive findings for nurses working across care settings, perhaps due in part to falling national unemployment: The national average for LPN wages increased 2.88% year over year, with turnover rates declining slightly from 27.4% in 2016 to 26.6% in 2017.

Several key players in the skilled nursing mergers-and-acquisitions space identified wage pressures as a key issue for providers in 2018, as the still-booming economy gives workers more choices and bargaining power.

Findings of the survey were collected from 602 respondents throughout the U.S., with data effective October 2017. The report is published in cooperation with LeadingAge and supported by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL).

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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Elizabeth Ecker
Director of Content at Aging Media Network
Curious about all things, when not writing about senior housing topics, Liz is an avid explorer of food. She loves trying new recipes, new restaurants and new ice cream flavors. (Current favorite: Goat cheese with red cherries.)

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