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Earn Your CNA Certification in Minnesota (MN) Online

Getting your online CNA certification in MN doesn’t have to be complicated. Enjoy the flexibility of online learning with these top CNA programs and learn more about a career as a nursing assistant.

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Author: Brenda Barron
Editor: Kimberly Zaski

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A healthcare career isn’t always easy, but it’s rewarding work for those who want to help others. If you’re still in school, it’s never too early to make plans for your future. If you’re looking to transition to the field of healthcare, starting with the right online MN CNA certification program is crucial.

Becoming a certified nursing assistant means learning how to take care of patients and tend to physical and mental needs. Patience and a kind demeanor, with enough resilience to handle tough situations, will serve you well as you take your first step into healthcare.

This guide will help you navigate top online CNA programs in Minnesota so you can find the one that works best for you. We’ll explore options that prepare you for a rewarding career and meet CNA certification requirements in MN.

Inside Minnesota’s Standout Online CNA Classes

Earning your CNA certification in MN online is different than a traditional CNA program — you can complete most of your coursework from the comfort of home.

Nearly all of the programs you’ll find have hybrid formats, with in-person clinical practice hours required. Here we have three of the best CNA certification in MN online classes with flexible learning options.

Century College

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Century College is an affordable, public community college with a good track record and plenty of technical programs. This includes a nursing assistant certificate, with credit and noncredit options as well as customized training courses.

Many of Century College’s courses include an online component, saving commuting time and helping you focus on other commitments, like pursuing healthcare internships.

Century College offers various financial aid opportunities for qualifying students. The program is fully accredited and upon completion, graduates are eligible to take the state CNA certification exam.

Once you’ve completed the exam and are placed on the Minnesota Department of Health Nursing Assistant Registry, you can apply for roles in hospitals and care facilities.

Hennepin Technical College

The nursing assistant program at Hennepin Technical College is an online CNA certification in MN that will teach you the foundational skills necessary for a career in healthcare.

This hybrid program balances convenient online coursework and practical, hands-on experience in healthcare settings. In-person clinical practice hours are required, but most coursework can be completed online.

You’ll learn how to meet clients’ basic needs and how to care for patients in hospitals, home health, and long-term care facilities with this online CNA certification in MN.

The program is approved by the Minnesota Health Department and includes more than 75 clinical and contact hours. Upon completion, you’ll be eligible to take the Nursing Assistants certification exam and become a registered CNA.

Minnesota State

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At Minnesota State, you can take the Next Generation Nursing Assistant class, which sets itself apart with a forward-thinking curriculum that addresses the needs of today’s healthcare workforce. This no-cost program covers traditional CNA skills, as well as the latest practices and technologies in patient care.

Both the program and testing are offered at no cost to students. You’ll be required to get a job in long-term healthcare after training, and must be a resident of Minnesota over the age of 16 to enroll. Training providers help connect you with employers ready to hire.

A hybrid option is available, so much of the coursework can be completed from home. You will still be required to attend all in-person classes.

The program is a solid option for those looking to get a CNA job immediately, including minors still in high school.

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How to Become a CNA in Minnesota Online

Becoming a CNA in Minnesota takes several steps, but the biggest two are training in an approved program and passing a competency test to obtain and maintain your certification. This process ensures that all CNAs are well-prepared to provide high-quality care in various healthcare settings.

Step 1: Meet Basic Background Requirements

In Minnesota, it’s possible to start training as a CNA at 16. Some colleges even accept underage students looking to study nursing. A high school diploma is not always required.

Otherwise, the requirements include training at an approved institution and passing a competency test to get listed on the state’s Nursing Assistant Registry.

Many training programs have additional requirements, like a criminal background check and TB skin testing.

Step 2: Graduate from an Approved CNA Program

Enroll in and successfully complete a CNA program that is approved by the Minnesota Department of Health, like one of those listed above. These programs are required to have at minimum 75 hours of training, 16 of which involve supervised clinical training with a patient.

Graduating from an accredited program not only prepares you for the upcoming certification exam but also ensures that you meet the educational standards mandated by the state.

Step 3: Take the National Nurse Aid Assessment Program Competency Examination (NNAAP)

After completing your training, you must pass the nursing assistant knowledge and skills tests to be listed on the state’s CNA registry. This exam consists of two components: a written knowledge exam, which tests your knowledge of nursing practices, and a hands-on practical skills evaluation.

The first part can be taken virtually, but the skills test must be administered in-person. Once you pass this exam, you’ll be eligible for CNA registration and be listed on the Minnesota registry.

Step 4: Start Working as a CNA

Once certified, you’re ready to get a job in a hospital, nursing home, or long-term care facility, or work with individual clients.

As a CNA, your daily responsibilities will include assisting patients with basic needs, providing mobility assistance, and communicating with patients and nurses. Patient comfort and care is your primary responsibility.

Step 5: Renew Your CNA License Periodically

In Minnesota, you are required to renew your license every two years to maintain your CNA certification. You must work at least 8 hours as a nursing assistant or similar within these 24 months, or your certification will expire.

This requirement helps ensure that all practicing CNAs maintain their skills and knowledge.

Salary and Career Prospects for CNAs in Minnesota

While the country has an 8.3% growth rate for CNA job openings, in Minnesota, it’s about 3.6%. Annually, 4,000 new jobs open in Minnesota, with 1,000 more expected for the next 10 years.

As for salary, CNAs in Minnesota earn a median of $39k/year. In bigger cities like Minneapolis and Rochester, salaries may be higher at $41k/year. The median salary in Minnesota is higher than the average national salary for CNAs, making the state a desirable place to work despite its lower job growth rate for nursing assistants.

Entry-level/10th percentile median wages range from $30k-$36k, close to the national CNA average, so even new CNAs can earn a competitive wage.

For higher pay and to advance your nursing career, you may wish to continue your education and become a licensed practical nurse.

Area10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
Duluth, MN-WI$30,410$36,360$45,780
Mankato-North Mankato, MN$32,050$36,480$44,250
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI$36,400$41,240$52,280
Rochester, MN$33,270$39,220$50,480
St. Cloud, MN$31,340$36,970$42,890

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

AreaNew Jobs (2020-2030)Growth RateAvg. Annual Openings
United States115,3008.3%187,000

Source: Projections Central

Answering Your Questions About Online CNA Classes in Minnesota

Choosing to become a CNA is an exciting step to a rewarding career in healthcare, but you probably have questions about the process. Here are some common questions and answers about online CNA classes in Minnesota as well as the CNA certification process.

Are there free CNA classes in MN?

Many CNA classes through colleges and universities have fees, but Minnesota citizens have the chance to get CNA classes for free directly through government services. With this program, even your nursing competency exam fees are waived. Scholarships and grants can make college education free if you wish to study at a higher education institution.

Can I earn my MN CNA certification entirely online?

While the coursework for CNA training can be completed 100% online, Minnesota regulations require that clinical hands-on training be in person. Practical, real-world experience is crucial in a job that centers around patient care, and hybrid programs require clinical hours and internships.

Can I take the CNA test without classes in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, it’s required that you take and pass a state-approved training program before taking the CNA exam. This is to ensure that all candidates have the minimum knowledge and skills necessary to provide safe and effective patient care.

How long does it take to become a CNA in Minnesota?

Most CNA programs take 4–12 weeks to complete, though the pace may vary. Minnesota requires 75 hours of training, so classes can be completed in two or three weeks, such as at Minnesota State College Southeast.

How old do you have to be a CNA in MN?

In Minnesota, you must be at least 16 years old to enroll in a CNA training program. Some employers and programs require a high school diploma and prefer students to be 18 or older.

When do I need to renew my MN CNA license?

In Minnesota, a CNA license must be renewed every two years. To renew, CNAs must have performed at least 8 hours of paid nursing or nursing-related services in the past 24 months.