As the U.S. population ages, more and more people are in need of medical care. This means hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities, and related organizations need more medical professionals, including certified nursing assistants (CNAs) to provide necessary services.
Only after passing a competency exam can you become a CNA. To obtain the skills and knowledge necessary to pass this exam, most prospective CNAs enroll in a training program. CNA classes in Tampa, FL, are offered by vocational schools, high schools, healthcare providers, or community colleges. Depending on the CNA program you choose, you may be able to complete the necessary training in just a few weeks. For added convenience, some training may even be available online.
To learn more about on-campus and online CNA classes in Tampa, we’ve created this guide. Read on to see what you’ll learn, where to find state-approved programs, how to become certified, and what kind of salary you can anticipate after graduation.
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Best CNA Classes and Training Programs in Tampa
Prospective students have a number of CNA classes in Tampa, FL, to choose from. These can vary from exam prep classes that last a few weeks to full academic programs that last a few months. The programs are not all created equal in terms of what they offer. However, we’ve identified three quality programs in Tampa that are state-approved and/or accredited. Approval or accreditation ensures the program will provide the training necessary to take and pass the Florida CNA competency exam.
Finlay Institute of Nursing
At the Finlay Institute of Nursing, individuals can choose from a wide range of training programs for a career in allied health. Finlay Institute of Nursing offers programs in professions such as EKG technician, medical assistant, and nursing assistant, which has been approved by the Florida Board of Nursing.
Classes take place on campus. They last five-and-a-half weeks and provide 120 hours of classroom and clinical training. Students attend class Monday through Friday and choose morning classes from 9 am to 2 pm or evening classes from 5 pm to 10 pm.
To enroll in the program, applicants must pass a physical exam, provide fingerprints to pass a background check, and possess a high school diploma. Students also need a driver’s license and social security number. The course costs $995; students make initial payments during registration and on the first day of class, then weekly payments until they complete the program.
Ultimate Medical Academy
The Florida Board of Nursing-approved Nursing Assistant career training program at Ultimate Medical Academy stands out from many other Tampa-area CNA training programs for its comprehensive training. Unlike many other programs that teach the basics to pass the Florida CNA competency exam, this program offers extensive training to ensure students become certified nursing assistants and possess the skills to provide effective care. To achieve this goal, the six-credit curriculum is set up in two parts.
The first part is the five-credit nursing assistant coursework. The second part is the one-credit clinical externship, in which students apply their skills and training to real world situations. After completing both portions of the curriculum, students meet the eligibility requirements to take the Florida CNA competency exam, have the skills and information to pass that exam, and have the training that will ready them to work as CNAs. To maximize learning, class sizes are limited to 25 students. Support services include computer assistance, mock interviews, help with obtaining financial aid, and job search advice.
Veritas Nursing Academy
The Veritas Nursing Academy specializes in continuing education, remedial, and refresher courses approved by the Florida Board of Nursing. The CNA Exam Prep class at Veritas prepares students to pass both the skills and written sections of the Florida CNA competency exam. This course is presented through an online platform that includes substantive materials, practice questions, and videos that demonstrate the skills individuals must have to become a CNA in Florida.
Another offering is the CNA Exam Prep class paired with a two-day skills review session. Instead of watching videos online, students observe as qualified teachers carry out all of skills that could be on the Florida CNA competency exam. While only three of these skills will actually be shown to a CNA competency exam evaluator, the teachers at the Veritas Nursing Academy show all 20 skills that CNAs must know to ensure the student is fully prepared for the exam and to treat their future patients.
List of Approved CNA Training Classes and Programs in Tampa
The curriculum in a CNA class in Tampa, FL, will revolve around the skills necessary to provide basic living and medical care to patients in a healthcare facility. This includes everything from helping a patient eat or clean themselves to monitoring vital signs. In an exam prep CNA training course, the information will be geared toward passing the Florida CNA competency exam and ultimately registering with the Florida Board of Nursing.
In more extensive CNA training programs, the coursework may be split up into a clinical or externship and classwork, as is the case at Ultimate Medical Academy. During the clinical or externship students get to practice their knowledge under the supervision of a registered nurse or other medical professional.
How much do CNA classes cost in Tampa?
For most CNA classes in Tampa, schools charge a one-time fee. Some schools break this fee up into several parts, such as a deposit and weekly payments once the training begins. This will be the case whether the training consists of a single CNA examination preparation class that lasts a few weeks or a multi-class CNA program that lasts a few months and results in a diploma or certificate. Therefore, total training costs vary widely. We’ve identified a few programs offering different types of CNA training to give you a rough idea of what to expect in terms of pricing.
Where can I get help paying for my CNA classes in Tampa?
Various forms of financial aid are available for those who need help paying for CNA classes in Tampa, FL. These include grants, scholarships, and student loans. Keep in mind that some forms of financial aid require attending a program that meets certain requirements, such as accreditation or Florida Board of Nursing recognition. To find out more about your financial aid options, please look at our CNA scholarships guide and main financial aid guide.
How long do CNA classes in Tampa take to finish?
The single biggest factor in determining the length of time to complete CNA classes in Tampa, FL, is the type of program. If a student has signed up for a CNA exam prep class, then they can probably complete it in a few weeks. For instance, at Aguilas International Technical Institute, the CNA prep class lasts 40 hours over two weeks. However, if a student is enrolled in a formal program that results in an academic credential, then the program can take longer. For example, the Nursing Assistant program at Ultimate Medical Academy takes two months to complete.
Inside Look at Online CNA Classes in Tampa, FL
The majority of CNA training programs in Tampa are offered in a traditional format. This means on-campus classes, in-person training in labs, and/or clinical training at real-world healthcare facilities. However, due to the coronavirus, some schools may be modifying their curricula to allow students to complete some of their coursework online. Even in these situations, students will still need to complete their clinical training in person at selected healthcare facilities.
For CNA exam preparation classes, there are some online-only programs. The primary example in Tampa is the Veritas Nursing Academy, which offers two programs. The first is an online-only CNA training class, where the skills portion of the training is conducted through video. The second is an online plus on-campus program, where, in addition to online training, students spend two days on campus observing the clinical skills necessary to pass the CNA competency exam.
Common Questions About Online CNA Classes in Tampa
Will taking CNA classes online in Tampa impact my ability to get certified or licensed?
What matters is if you complete a CNA training program that’s approved by the Florida Board of Nursing. This will ensure you have received training and instruction on the subjects and skills necessary to serve as a CNA.
Do employers care if I take some of my CNA classes online?
What matters to employers is whether you received the training necessary to work as a CNA. They can confirm this by making sure you completed a CNA training program approved by the Florida Board of Nursing and passed the CNA competency exam.
Are online CNA classes in Tampa more affordable than campus programs?
There are only a handful of CNA training programs in Tampa approved by the Florida Board of Nursing. Of the ones that are, the least expensive program is offered mostly online. However, this is a CNA exam prep course and not a full CNA program that grants a certificate.
Can I complete my Tampa CNA training faster by taking classwork online?
Most formal CNA training programs in Tampa are on-campus only. The online options are usually only available for the CNA exam prep course. So instead of online classwork making a training program quicker to complete, instead the shorter training programs tend to be the ones that have an online learning option available for CNA exam prep.
How to Become a CNA in Tampa
Florida is unique in that passing an exam is all that’s necessary to become a CNA. Specifically, there are three ways to become a CNA in Florida per the Florida Board of Nursing:
Complete a CNA training program approved by the Florida Board of Nursing and pass the CNA competency examination.
Pass the CNA competency examination and be either 18 years old or have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Complete the Enterprise Florida Jobs and Education Partnership Grant curriculum and pass the CNA competency examination.
Once you are a CNA, you won’t have any continuing education requirements for license renewal. However, some employers may have a continuing education requirement for CNAs.
Earnings Outlook: How Much Does a CNA Make in Tampa?
The median earnings for a CNA in Tampa are roughly in line with other large metros in Florida, while coming in slightly under the national average. However, keep in mind that you may come out ahead working in Florida because of the lack of state income tax. The cost of living in Tampa is also lower than many other parts of the country. The exact amount you earn will largely depend on your experience level and employer.
James Mielke is a freelance writer currently based in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to higher education topics, other areas of research and writing include food history, cooking, dining, and golf. After COVID-19 hastened the end of his line-cooking-as-grad-school-for-food-writing experience, he has spent the last handful of years as a full-time freelancer. He regularly contributes to multiple higher education-centric pages, including EduMed. In addition to higher education topics, he has contributed to Eaten Magazine, Food Republic, The Midwesterner, Golfweek, and the Courier-Journal. James has a history degree from Belmont University and is an unapologetic fan of the Grateful Dead.
Blake Huggins is a writer, researcher, and educator based in New England. He writes widely on a range of topics with specific expertise in the higher education, healthcare, and technology spaces. An Oklahoma native, Blake holds a PhD from Boston University and has taught college courses in writing and composition, religion, and philosophy.