Completing a CNA program allows students quick entry into a growing medical industry, with plenty of options for moving up the career ladder and expanding their skillset and knowledge along the way. In this guide, students can learn the differences between online and hybrid programs, common coursework, average costs, the job outlook, and what the certification exam entails. Finding the best program option for you is half the battle, and this guide provides all the information for taking your first step to a career as a CNA.
Top CNA Programs & Classes Online
Finding the right CNA program can greatly enhance or detract from a graduate’s ability to find employment, so it’s worth taking time to do your research. We’re listing 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, we’ve spotlighted three programs in full so you can get a sense of what your journey looks like from start to finish. See who makes the grade in 2019.
Can You Take CNA Classes Online?
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 certified nursing assistant programs work:
How Much Are CNA Classes Online?
Before enrolling in any CNA program, 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 programs, 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 CNA training, but students must meet a few stipulations to qualify. These include:
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.
Unpacking the CNA Class 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.
Salary & Job Growth for Certified Nursing Assistants
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 these resources for additional information and answers to outstanding questions.
- 10 Essential CNA Interview Questions & Answers
- 13 Reasons to Choose a Career as a CNA
- 5 Things You Need to Know Before Becoming a Nursing Assistant
- 6 Benefits of Becoming a Nursing Assistant
- 8 Frustrating Things About Being a CNA
- American Red Cross CNA Nurse Assistant Training & Testing
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Nursing Assistant Profile
- CareerOneStop Nursing Assistant Occupation Profile