Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) work on the front lines of patient care in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical and healthcare facilities. CNAs usually serve under the supervision of a practical nurse or registered nurse, and support the nursing staff by helping patients with general hygiene, taking patient vital signs, and organizing supplies and other materials. They may also assist patients with sanitation needs, basic movement, and making sure they can eat and drink safely.
In May 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that CNAs earned a median annual salary of $30,310, with top earners taking home $44,240. The BLS also reported an estimated growth rate of 5% for CNA job opportunities between 2021 and 2031, much faster than average.
Aspiring nursing assistants can become CNAs in a matter of weeks. Short programs last as little as four months and end with on-the-job training. Longer (and potentially more robust) programs may run nine to 12 months.
For students interested in more flexible programs, many of today’s schools have added online learning to their CNA curriculum. CNA classes online focus on the academic portion of the program and combine it with in-person clinicals to make sure future CNAs have ultimate flexibility while getting key patient-facing experience.
If a fast and flexible CNA education sounds right for you, get the inside scoop on how CNA classes work online, and review EduMed.org’s top online CNA classes and programs for 2024.
Best CNA Classes & Programs Online: 2024
CNA classes online give you the chance to become a certified nursing assistant on your terms. These partially online classes and courses allow you to learn the academic portion of the program via distance learning, and the hands-on elements at a campus or a third-party facility. But which online CNA classes and programs have the right combination of online learning options, quality instruction, and affordability? Sometimes, it’s hard to tell. Using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, as well as from the schools themselves, EduMed.org has created a list of the top online CNA programs available to students today. Review and compare the best CNA classes and programs online this year.
|Students w/Institutional Aid
|Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry
|State Fair Community CollegeSedalia, MO
State Fair Community College hosts a Certified Medication Technician program for those wanting to become nurse aids. To be eligible for enrollment in this program, you must have worked at least 6 months as a certified nurse assistant in MO. The program consists of stackable certificates, you can gain a CNA and become eligible for the licensure exam. Students can complete a shorter skills certificate, a longer professional certificate, or enroll in the full associate's degree program. However, for licensure, you will need to complete the associate program. It is possible to take the program fully online, in-person, or in a hybrid format, depending on a student's preferences.
Skills Certificate, Nurse Aide
Professional Certificate, Nurse Aide
Associate of Applied Science in Healthcare Specialist, Nurse Aide
|Century CollegeWhite Bear Lake, MN
Graduates of associate degree programs or students currently enrolled in associate degree programs at Century College should consider enrolling in the school's nursing assistant program. The certificate consists of only one course and provides students with the foundational knowledge necessary to become a nursing assistant. Before taking this course, students must complete the majority of their general education coursework. Graduates with this certificate can either work as nursing assistants or continue their nursing education after successfully getting their associate's degree in a related field.
Nursing Assistant Certificate
|Lakeshore Technical CollegeCleveland, WI
Students who are getting their associate degree at Lakeshore Technical College or who already have their associate degrees should consider the nursing assistant technical certificate. The certificate consists of three courses, each of which provides different knowledge and skills needed to be a nursing assistant. The program is offered in a hybrid format, consisting of online lectures and in-person labs. Certain classes must be completed on campus. Graduates are often employed as home health aids, nursing assistants, or psychiatric aids.
Technical Diploma, Nursing Assistant
|Pratt Community CollegePratt, KS
Pratt Community College offers a certified nurse aide course that will prepare the students to be CNAs or to continue their nursing education. In just one course, the graduated students will learn how to work in different settings such as hospitals or long-terms facilities assisted living facilities such as nursing homes. All class sessions are online, though students must complete three in-person lab days and four in-person clinical days on Pratt's campus.
Certified Nurse Aide Certificate
How Online CNA Classes Work
Many certified nursing assistant paths allow students to take part in both online and in-person learning. Most academic coursework tends to exist on a digital learning platform, while clinical and lab work takes place at the physical campus or at a local healthcare facility so learners can gain hands-on skills. Here’s how most online CNA programs work:
Unpacking the CNA Class Online Curriculum
The CNA curriculum covers a wide range of clerical and clinical knowledge and skills in order to prepare students to succeed as CNAs in a variety of medical settings. Before enrolling, learners should get a clear sense of what to expect from a program. Here’s a glimpse at some of the core CNA classes students can take online.
- CNA classes available online
Introduction to Basic Care
An introductory course, students in this class learn about the basics of controlling infections, safely caring for patients, administering treatments under the supervision of qualified medical staff, and ensuring all patients in their charge receive care as needed.
Nurse Aide Healthcare Skills
This course introduces learners to fundamental CNA skills, with emphasis on how to communicate with patients and other healthcare providers, OSHA and HIPAA rules, emergency care response, restorative services, mental health principles, cultural sensitivity, safety measures, and the rights of patients.
Acute Care Nurse Aide Skills
Students enrolled in this class look at common issues surrounding acute care, such as advanced nurse aide skills, reporting findings to the nursing supervisor, caring for and preparing patients before they go into surgery, taking care of them post-op, and patient rights in acute care settings.
With a focus on learning how to assist medical professionals in direct patient care, this course outlines all the responsibilities of a CNA and reviews the types of direct and indirect care a student can administer according to the state board of nursing.
- CNA classes mostly on campus
Nurse Aide Clinical Experience
Building on the skills gained in the nurse aide healthcare skills course, this class – which is usually taught in a local healthcare facility – allows them to put those skills to use in real-world settings. Students follow safety protocols, observe how nurses and doctors communicate with patients, and learn about administrative responsibilities.
Advanced Nurse Aide Clinical
Students continue growing their hands-on skills and knowledge in this clinical course, which takes place either on campus or in a medical facility. Learners work under RNs and other medical staff, receive feedback, and take on more responsibilities to test their competencies and grow in confidence.
Caring for the Elderly
This clinical course introduces learners to the basics of caring for an aging population. Students develop skills in assisting patients with eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, and using the restroom. They also learn proper techniques for lifting and moving patients in a way that does not harm either body.
Home Health Aide Clinical
Designed for individuals who want to work with patients in their home, this class teaches them about shopping for, preparing, and storing nutritious meals, keeping a clean home, managing infections, serving the patient’s social needs, and creating a safe environment.
Earning Certification: The C in CNA
Even if an individual attends the top program in the state, makes perfect grades, and graduates at the top of their class, they cannot practice as a certified nursing assistant unless they successfully pass their state’s required certification exam. Before signing up for the test, read over requirements and common exam topics to feel prepared.
Still have questions about the exam? Check out the following section for answers to common queries.
Certification Exam Q&A
After students finish their CNA training program, it’s time to study for and schedule the certification exam. Prometric acts as the overseeing agency for administering the test and provides lots of helpful information for students seeking answers. In addition to the questions answered below, learners can find state-specific information on Prometric’s website.
How Much Are CNA Classes Online?
Before enrolling in online CNA classes, applicants must ensure they can afford to attend. The cost of higher education continues to rise year-on-year, making it difficult for many individuals to pay out of pocket. Every school sets unique price points for their CNA classes online, so degree seekers should spend time familiarizing themselves with the costs of each so they can make an informed decision. Some programs include the application and exam fees required for actually receiving certification as a CNA while others do not. Pay close attention to what the stated amount is used for and whether you might incur additional fees throughout the learning process.
Depending on the type of school, costs can vary considerably. At Middlesex Community College, for example, students pay $1,199. At Manhattan Institute, however, the cost rises to $6,050. These can vary considerably when looking at public community colleges versus for-profit institutions, so pay close attention to the type of school you attend.
Online CNA Classes that Accept Financial Aid
Financial aid can be a great way to pay for your online CNA classes, but students must meet a few stipulations to qualify. These include:
For more information, check our EduMed’s full page on financial aid for medical support.
How Else Can I Pay for Online CNA Classes?
Because paying out of pocket isn’t realistic for many learners, several funding sources exist to help lighten the financial burden and steer students clear of debilitating debt. In addition to reviewing the ways highlighted below, students should check with their state to find out if any additional methods exist.
Find Top-Rated Online CNA Classes in Popular States
- CNA Classes in California (Online & Campus)
- CNA Classes in North Carolina (Online & Campus)
- Online CNA Classes in Florida
- Online CNA Classes in Texas
Profiling Online CNA Programs & Classes
Finding the right online CNA classes and programs can improve your ability to find employment, so it’s worth taking time to do your research. We’re featuring three of the most affordable and comprehensive programs with the accreditation you need to begin a rewarding career as a CNA. While most CNA programs only serve the state in which they are located, these three CNA programs with online classes have wider appeal and can give you a sense of what your journey could look like from start to finish.
CNA Salary & Job Growth
According to the latest data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing assistants earned median salaries of $27,510 in 2017. The agency projects that roles for these healthcare professionals will grow by 11% between 2016-2026, with 177,700 new roles being added to the existing 1,564,300 positions. Individuals in the lowest 10% of earners made $20,680 per year, while those in the highest 10% brought home in excess of $38,630 annually. Nursing assistants working in roles funded by the government tend to earn the highest wages – averaging $32,860 per year – while those employed by retirement communities and assisted living facilities earned the lowest at $25,880 each year.
The reason for the growth of nursing assistant positions is multifaceted. In addition to a growing aging population thanks to seniors living longer, individuals who receive care in hospitals, nursing care facilities, ambulatory healthcare, and home healthcare programs also frequently rely on nursing assistants.
Resources for Students Taking CNA Classes Online
After reviewing all the information provided within this guide, some prospective students may still have a few queries about the educational process or what it looks like for job searchers after graduation. Review the resources below and on our dedicated resources page for CNA students for additional information and answers to outstanding questions.