Online CNA Classes and Certification in Florida

Learn about certification training programs with online elements, see how to become a CNA in Florida, and take the first step towards a rewarding career in nursing.

Last Updated: 10/27/2020
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If you live in Florida and want to start a career in nursing as quickly as possible, you’ll want to seriously consider becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant. Florida CNA training courses are typically available at community college and vocational school campuses throughout the state, and some feature distance learning for part of their programs. There are plenty of benefits to a partially-online CNA programs in Florida, including:

  • The convenience and flexibility of online study that lets you take classes at times that best fit your busy schedule.
  • The confidence you’ll feel knowing that you’ve gotten your training through a Florida state-approved program that fully prepares you to sit for your CNA certification exam.

This guide is designed to provide you with everything you need to know about finding and successfully completing an online CNA training program in Florida. We’ve included a list of fully-accredited, state-approved programs, a look at how online programs work, a step-by-step guide to becoming a licensed Florida CNA, job market and salary trend figures, and much more.

FAQs About Online CNA Classes and Certification Training in Florida

Can I really complete my CNA certification training online in Florida?

Currently, there are very few CNA training programs in Florida that include distance learning components. Those that do feature online coursework covering the theory and didactic portions of CNA training. And all state-approved CNA programs include in-person requirements, such as on-campus labs and clinical clock hours typically attended at local healthcare facilities, like hospitals and nursing homes. It’s important to note, though, that the current trend is toward putting more and more program components online, a process being accelerated due to Covid-19 safety concerns.

Convenience is key to CNA program curriculums, so students can expect online components that allow students to access and complete their coursework asynchronously (at times of their own choosing) and on-campus classes with day, evening, and weekend attendance options.

How much do CNA classes cost in Florida?

The cost of a CNA program in Florida can vary, sometimes substantially, from school to school. These variations are due to several factors, including program length and, most importantly, whether the program is state-approved or not. Programs that are not state-approved can be found for as little as a few hundred dollars. State-approved programs take longer and cost more, but prepare students more thoroughly for both the CNA certification exam and their subsequent professional practice. State-approved programs are typically formatted with a total number of clock hours as opposed to a total number of credits, and costs are commonly stated as a single figure for the entire program. Here are three examples:

Daytona-State-College

Daytona State College

Certified Nursing Assistant – Long-Term Care

Total Hours: 124

Total Cost: $972.98

Florida-State-College

Florida State College at Jacksonville

Certified Nursing Assistant

Total Hours: 120

Total Cost: $1,199.00

Fort-Meyers-Technical-College

Fort Meyers Technical College

Articulated Nursing Assistant

Total Hours: 165

Total Cost: $1,369

How long is a CNA program in Florida?

CNA program lengths also vary from school to school, again, sometimes substantially. This is due primarily to the specific Florida requirements for obtaining CNA licensure and whether a program is state-approved or not. State-approved programs, like those discussed in this guide, offer real-time classes and coursework along with in-person labs and clinical experiences working with real patients in actual practice settings. Lengths for state-approved programs take anywhere from several weeks (Daytona State College’s program, for example) to a full semester (Santa Fe College’s program, for example) or more to complete.

Florida CNA Training Program Online Spotlights

As we mentioned earlier, there are lots of CNA programs to choose from in Florida. That does not mean, however, that all of these programs are created equally. The fact is that program quality varies, and it’s important to find one that fully prepares you to successfully pass the state-mandated CNA certification exam for your subsequent professional practice. And the surest way of knowing that you’ve found a quality CNA program is confirming its approval by the Florida State Board of Nursing. To help you get started on your program search, we’ve spotlighted three high-quality, state-approved CNA training programs in Florida. Learn more about each program below.

Indian River State College

Indian-River-State

Indian River State College, located in the Florida Treasure Coast city of Fort Pierce, offers a Nursing Assistant program that prepares students for Florida CNA licensure and employment as nursing assistants in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, hospice centers, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and in private residences. This certificate program is also strongly recommended for students intending to continue their academics at IRSC into the Practical Nursing or Associate Degree in Nursing programs.

The IRSC Nursing Assistant program curriculum consists of 165 hours of module-formatted study during which students develop increasingly sophisticated skills. Students attend on-campus classes and labs Monday through Thursday, and in-person clinical hours at health care facilities throughout the local area. Classes are offered on the IRSC main campus and Blackburn Education Building in Fort Pierce, as well as on IRSC campuses in Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee. A high school diploma or GED is not required for admission into the program.

Santa Fe College

SANTA-FE-COLLEGE

The Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certificate program offered by Santa Fe College in Gainesville is a one-semester, 165-clock hour course that prepares graduates to sit for the CNA exam and for employment as a nursing assistant in both acute-care and long-term care settings. Didactic coursework and labs are completed on the SFC main campus while clinical hours are completed at program-approved local nursing homes and acute-care, long-term care, and extended-care facilities.

Admission requirements include a completed PERT test (meeting minimal scores in reading, math, and English), and BLS/CPR certification from the American Heart Association. Acceptance into the program is done on a first come/first served basis.  The estimated total cost of this program (including tuition, fees, uniforms, lab costs, books, laptop and internet, exam fees, etc.) is $2,071 for Florida residents. Like other CNA training programs throughout the state, financial aid is not available. However, state, institutional, and external scholarship opportunities are available to qualifying students.

Tallahassee Community College

Tallahassee_Community_College

Tallahassee Community College’s Nurse Assistant PSAV Certificate program prepares students for the CNA certification exam and employment as a nursing assistant in long-term care settings. The 120-total clock hour program consists of 80 hours of classroom/lab instruction taken on TCC’s campus and a 40-hour clinical internship completed at local program-approved health care facilities. This is a non-credit program and coursework completed in the program will not count toward an A.A. degree.

Admission requirements include either a standard high school diploma or GED diploma, successful passing of both a Level 1 criminal background check and drug screening, submission of a personal health form, and CPR certification on the healthcare provider level. Students must be 18 years of age or older to sit for the CNA exam in Florida. This program is designated as limited access, meaning that it includes specific admissions requirements and a special application. A limited number of students accepted each term.

How Do I Get My CNA License and Certification in Florida?

Every state has its own unique set of requirements for nursing assistant licensure and practice within its jurisdiction. Florida is no different. Nursing assistant licensing in the state is administered by the Florida State Board of Nursing. Certification options and requirements can be accessed from the Board’s Licensing and Registration webpage. And while completing a CNA training program is not an absolute requirement to obtaining a Florida CNA license, most license seekers do. Below are the steps most commonly taken to obtain Florida CNA licensure: 

STEP

1

Attend and complete a Florida state-approved nursing assistant program

As discussed above, state-approved nursing assistant programs are available through public community and state colleges, and vocational schools located throughout the state. Admissions requirements for these programs vary somewhat, but most include requirements similar to those mandated by the Florida Board of Nursing for CNA licensure. Students will need to meet all program requirements (classes, labs, clinical hours) successfully to receive their program’s credential, typically a diploma or certificate of completion.

STEP

2

Complete all pre-exam requirements

All applicants for CNA licensure in Florida must meet several pre-requisites to taking the CNA exam. These include completion of a Level II background screening. The process starts with an applicant submitting their application and required fees to Prometric, the CNA exam administrator for Florida. Prometric then sends the applicant a fingerprint authorization letter permitting them to obtain their electronic fingerprints. These fingerprints are then submitted to Prometric which, along with all other application materials, are reviewed by an application specialist. If everything is in order, Prometric sends the applicant an admission ticket for testing and schedules the applicant for their exam.

STEP

3

Prepare for, take, and pass the CNA examination

The next step is to sit for the Prometric CNA examination itself. The exam consists of two parts: a written test and a manual skills evaluation. The written test is a 90-minute exam consisting of 60 multiple choice questions covering five major topics: role of the nurse aide; promotion of safety; promotion of function and health of residents; basic nursing care provided by the nurse aide; and providing specialized care for residents with changes in health. The manual skills evaluation requires the applicant to demonstrate five nursing assistant skills selected at random. The exam must be taken in-person at one of dozens of Prometric Test Centers located throughout the U.S.

STEP

4

Obtain your Florida CNA license and find your first nursing assistant job

Once the candidate has passed both parts of the Prometric exam and completed all necessary paperwork, the candidate will be sent their Florida Board of Nursing CNA license and their name will be placed on the Florida CNA Registry. Then it’s time for the newly-certified CNA to find their first Florida nursing assistant job. The best place to start your job search is at your college’s or school’s student services office. You’ll also find help by accessing online job search websites, like Indeed, Monster, and ZipRecruiter

STEP

5

Renew License and Complete Continuing Education

All Florida CNA licenses are good for two years and must be renewed on or before their biennial May 31 expiration date. The year in which your license must be renewed depends on whether you are a member of license Group 1 or 2. There are no continuing education requirements for license renewal. However, the state does require that the licensee to have performed nursing-related services for monetary compensation during the prior 24-month period in order to remain on the Florida CNA Registry. Licensees failing to meet renewal requirements must reapply for licensure and meet all initial license requirements. Detailed license renewal information can be found on the Board of Nursing’s CNA license renewal webpage.

Salary and Job Outlook for CNAs in Florida

Before starting any career-related education or training program, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you can expect – in terms of pay and employment potential – once your program is completed. Here’s a quick look at current job demand and wage figures for Florida CNAs:

Is there a big demand for CNAs in Florida?

In terms of demand, the job outlook for CNAs in Florida is solid both in the short-term and long-term. As indicated in the table below, job growth for CNAs in Florida is expected to increase by 11% between 2018 and 2028. This increase is slightly higher than what’s predicted for CNAs in the U.S. as a whole. Of particular note is that fact that job growth rates for CNAs in both the U.S. and Florida strongly outpace the predicted rates for all occupations combined. In short, demand by Florida employers for CNAs is strong, and is expected to remain that way well into the foreseeable future.

Employment (2018) New Jobs (2018-2028) Job Growth Rate (2018-2028) Average Annual Openings (2018-2028)
Florida 94,120 10,390 11% 12,170
United States 1,513,200 135,400 8.9% 190,700

Source: ProjectionsCentral.com

How much do CNAs make in Florida?

Certified Nursing Assistant wages are somewhat low when compared to all occupations in the U.S. taken as a whole, but that’s not surprising for what is an entry-level occupation in the nursing field. Hourly and annual wage figures for Florida CNAs are slightly less than CNA figures nationally, although cost of living and other region-specific costs must be taken into consideration. The table below offers the most recent (May 2019) wage figures from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Median Hourly Wage Mean Hourly Wage Annual Mean Wage
Florida $13.03 $13.36 $27,790
Miami – Fort Lauderdale – West Palm Beach Metro Area $12.57 $13.11 $27,260
Tampa – St. Petersburg – Clearwater Metro Area $13.68 $13.83 $28,770
Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford Metro Area $12.77 $13.19 $27,420
United States $14.26 $14.77 $30,720

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019

Florida CNA Certification and Training Online Resources

  • Florida Department of Education: Health Science CTE Information and resource webpage for career and technical education programs in Florida, including acute and long-term care nursing assistants. Links are provided to curriculum framework pages, student organizations, and additional instructional and related resources.
  • Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) Professional association that represents individuals and long-term care centers providing health care services to elderly and disabled persons throughout the state. The FHCA is affiliated with several related professional groups, including the American Health Care Association, the Florida Health Care Education and Development Foundation, and the National Center for Assisted Living.
  • Florida Health Medical Quality Assurance This Florida Department of Health website provides access to a range of services and resources for Florida health care licensees, including CNAs, such as licensing and license renewal information, educational webinars, public data, and more.
  • HOSA Future Health Professionals of Florida Endorsed by both the U.S. and Florida Departments of Education, the HOSA Future Health Professionals of Florida is an association of student leaders seeking careers in the health care industry. The website provides access to a variety of educational, professional, and networking opportunities for members.
  • Prometric: Florida Nurse Aide Exam Prometric is the contractor that provides administration of the Certified Nursing Assistant exam in Florida. Visitors can access practice exams, a candidate bulletin with detailed information on becoming a CNA in Florida, nurse aide FAQ’s, and more.
  • Scholarships and Online Resources for CNA Students EduMed’s own guide offering information on a wealth of scholarship opportunities for CNA students.  Visitors will also find useful advice for landing scholarships, and links to tons of additional academic and professional resources for CNA students and graduates.