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How to Become an Orderly

What Does an Orderly Do?

orderly and hospital patient

Orderlies contribute significantly to the healthcare industry even though the care they provide is not medical. Orderlies provide basic assistance with everyday tasks such as eating, putting on clothes, shaving and bathing to patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other inpatient healthcare settings. Their help, reassurance and companionship make a significant difference in the patient experience.

Orderlies work under the supervision of nurses. In addition to assisting with everyday tasks, they help transport patients by wheelchair or gurney to the operating room, x-ray department, dining room and other locations around the facility. Orderlies listen attentively to patients’ concerns and report these to the nursing staff. They work to maintain clean and safe environments for patients and staff alike, and are often seen mopping, disinfecting and changing soiled linens. Some also maintain the unit’s inventory of equipment and non-medical supplies. Where permitted by law, orderlies may even dispense medications.

For hands-on people who have compassion for the sick, injured and elderly, work as an orderly is extremely rewarding. When patients are at their most helpless – confined to a hospital bed – a few kind words or a helping hand can make a world of difference. Orderlies in long-term care settings have frequent contact with patients and often develop close, caring relationships with them. Working as an orderly also provides exposure to many kinds of healthcare professionals and is a great way to explore careers in the field.

Workplace Details

Orderlies work in many settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes and long-term care facilities
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Home healthcare agencies

Most orderlies work full time. Since inpatient facilities are always open, many work evenings, nights and holidays.

Salary and Job Outlook

State
Average Wage
New York
$35640
California
$38010
Texas
$24030
Illinois
$31420
South Carolina
$22600

Hover over any state to explore local income and job growth data.

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ALABAMA

Median Salary: 
$20,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $27,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Birmingham$16,720$21,500$29,160
Huntsville$16,430$20,560$26,850

ALASKA

Median Salary: 
$31,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $44,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

ARIZONA

Median Salary: 
$24,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 19%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 60

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Phoenix$20,510$24,610$32,200

ARKANSAS

Median Salary: 
$22,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $32,200

Job Growth Data Not Available

CALIFORNIA

Median Salary: 
$37,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $57,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 150

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Los Angeles$26,240$34,140$54,440
San Francisco Bay$25,930$46,990$60,340
San Diego$24,470$34,810$53,690
Sacramento$27,980$42,200$49,700

COLORADO

Median Salary: 
$26,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 33%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Denver$21,420$28,550$38,470

CONNECTICUT

Median Salary: 
$29,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: -5%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Hartford$21,460$29,870$42,340
Bridgeport$20,570$28,170$38,240
New Haven$22,190$31,000$39,070

DELAWARE

Median Salary: 
$27,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wilmington$24,880$27,590$30,860
Dover$21,000$27,590$29,680

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Median Salary: 
$29,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Washington DC$20,730$27,160$35,560

FLORIDA

Median Salary: 
$21,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $29,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 23%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 130

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Miami$18,050$22,090$29,370
Orlando$17,360$20,010$26,230
Tampa$17,900$21,890$29,170
Jacksonville$18,640$22,320$29,430

GEORGIA

Median Salary: 
$25,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $36,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Atlanta$21,420$28,950$38,080
Augusta$19,840$22,590$31,990

HAWAII

Median Salary: 
$37,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $29,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $47,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Honolulu$28,260$37,460$47,370

IDAHO

Median Salary: 
$23,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 140

ILLINOIS

Median Salary: 
$27,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 4%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 70

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Chicago$20,690$29,050$38,610

INDIANA

Median Salary: 
$25,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $32,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Indianapolis$20,440$25,950$34,820

IOWA

Median Salary: 
$25,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $34,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Des Moines$20,580$25,580$35,310

KANSAS

Median Salary: 
$24,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $32,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Kansas City$19,950$24,300$34,350

KENTUCKY

Median Salary: 
$23,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $33,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 32%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Louisville$19,260$22,620$30,040
Lexington$18,720$23,810$34,680

LOUISIANA

Median Salary: 
$19,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $25,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New Orleans$15,800$18,560$24,570
Baton Rouge$16,220$19,350$25,210
Lafayette$16,100$19,190$27,940

MAINE

Median Salary: 
$25,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $33,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 3%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

MARYLAND

Median Salary: 
$26,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $35,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 100

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Baltimore$20,880$27,090$36,580
Frederick$21,450$27,000$31,820

MASSACHUSETTS

Median Salary: 
$33,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $24,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $47,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 70

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boston$26,080$36,680$47,660
Springfield$25,010$29,220$37,340

MICHIGAN

Median Salary: 
$24,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $35,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Detroit$19,710$23,580$32,350
Grand Rapids$20,380$24,380$38,270

MINNESOTA

Median Salary: 
$33,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $46,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Minneapolis - St. Paul$24,810$35,080$46,860

MISSISSIPPI

Median Salary: 
$19,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $29,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Jackson$16,140$19,110$28,460
Gulfport$16,690$23,510$32,090

MISSOURI

Median Salary: 
$21,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
St. Louis$16,860$20,650$30,720
Kansas City$19,950$24,300$34,350

MONTANA

Median Salary: 
$23,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,200

Job Growth Data Not Available

NEBRASKA

Median Salary: 
$23,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Omaha$18,680$23,850$31,460

NEVADA

Median Salary: 
$30,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $39,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 13%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Las Vegas$25,240$32,700$41,060

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Median Salary: 
$27,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $36,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

NEW JERSEY

Median Salary: 
$25,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 4%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 70

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Newark$18,990$28,210$38,460
Trenton$20,690$24,220$34,660

NEW MEXICO

Median Salary: 
$24,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $33,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Albuquerque$18,840$24,230$33,590

NEW YORK

Median Salary: 
$34,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $48,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 210

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New York City$20,370$33,770$49,690
Buffalo$18,650$26,420$37,590
Rochester$19,420$25,010$35,550
Albany$20,760$33,650$43,890

NORTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$23,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Charlotte$17,190$21,820$26,890
Winston - Salem$17,340$22,550$31,300

NORTH DAKOTA

Median Salary: 
$28,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $34,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

OHIO

Median Salary: 
$24,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 60

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cleveland$20,300$23,710$30,420
Columbus$20,490$24,970$35,830
Cincinnati$20,640$24,570$35,350
Dayton$20,440$23,600$30,380

OKLAHOMA

Median Salary: 
$23,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Oklahoma City$18,240$23,070$31,910
Tulsa$20,530$23,140$33,410

OREGON

Median Salary: 
$30,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$26,190$33,220$43,530

PENNSYLVANIA

Median Salary: 
$28,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $40,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 70

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Philadelphia$21,350$27,600$41,690
Pittsburgh$20,640$28,020$38,560
Allentown$20,670$24,710$39,150

RHODE ISLAND

Median Salary: 
$30,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $24,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $45,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Providence$23,530$29,860$44,680

SOUTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$21,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $16,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $28,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 130

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Greenville$16,660$21,680$29,190
Columbia$16,710$21,170$26,650
Charleston$16,260$19,450$28,070

SOUTH DAKOTA

Median Salary: 
$22,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $29,300

Job Growth Data Not Available

TENNESSEE

Median Salary: 
$26,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Nashville$20,850$26,680$32,820
Memphis$17,370$22,710$29,330
Knoxville$16,670$21,480$28,870

TEXAS

Median Salary: 
$23,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $30,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 26%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 230

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Dallas - Ft. Worth$20,130$24,040$30,370
Houston$20,100$24,590$32,710
San Antonio$16,860$21,750$29,870
Austin$19,850$27,090$30,590

UTAH

Median Salary: 
$22,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $29,800

Job Growth Data Not Available

VERMONT

Salary and Job Growth Data Not Available

VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$23,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $31,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Virginia Beach$20,240$22,990$28,470
Richmond$19,320$23,550$30,740

WASHINGTON

Median Salary: 
$30,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $45,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 19%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Seattle$20,660$29,280$46,110

WEST VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$22,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $17,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $32,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 10

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Huntington$18,210$24,870$35,080
Charleston$17,210$19,530$29,200

WISCONSIN

Median Salary: 
$26,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $36,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Milwaukee$21,360$27,260$36,370

WYOMING

Median Salary: 
$23,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $32,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 7%
Projected Annual Job Openings: Fewer than 10

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for orderlies is $26,690. The lowest paid 10% make about $19,590 and the highest-paid 10% make $40,180. Experienced orderlies who hold a CNA credential generally earn the most.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment of orderlies will grow by 11% between 2014 and 2024, which is considered faster than average for all occupations. This is largely due to the aging of the baby boomer generation, which is increasing the demand for long-term care and other healthcare services. Job prospects are best for experienced orderlies who hold a CNA credential.

Compare Salaries by City

New York City NY Median Pay

$33770 Per Year

$16.23 Per Hour

Chicago IL Median Pay

$29050 Per Year

$13.96 Per Hour

Steps to Become an Orderly

1

Graduate from high school.

Most employers require orderlies to have a high school diploma or GED.

2

Get the necessary certifications.

Certification in first aid, CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) are also usually required. For course information, contact a local chapter of the American Red Cross.

Show Me Schools »

3

Train on the job.

Most orderlies are trained on the job, which typically lasts about a month. Nurses and senior orderlies teach new hires how to safely move and lift patients and provide respectful, compassionate personal care. New orderlies also take work-related classes in occupational safety, blood-borne pathogens and other healthcare-related topics. These courses are offered in-house or through a community agency such as the Red Cross.

4

Advance your career.

For many people, their experience as an orderly serves as a jumping-off point for another medical career. Some orderlies go on to train as certified nursing assistants (CNAs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or allied health professionals. This career path typically involves completing a state-approved training program through a career center or community college and passing a certification exam. Experienced orderlies sometimes advance to management positions and train, evaluate and supervise the work of other orderlies.

Keys to Success as an Orderly

Necessary Skills and Qualities

Physical fitness

Orderlies spend much of the workday on their feet and the work itself is physically demanding, as they are frequently called on to move, lift or carry patients.

Safety

Because the job involves exposure to hazardous substances such as blood and bodily fluids, orderlies must follow strict safety precautions and use protective clothing for some tasks.

Interpersonal skills

Orderlies spend much of their time interacting with others. They must be comfortable helping patients with sensitive tasks such as bathing and toileting. Orderlies typically work with people who are ill, injured, elderly or otherwise vulnerable. As such, they should be compassionate and have a genuine desire to ease the suffering of others. They must be patient in dealing with frail people who have a great deal of difficulty with simple tasks.

Communication

Finally, orderlies need good speaking and listening skills in order to communicate patients’ concerns to the nursing staff and follow directions from the patient care team.

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