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Most Affordable CNA Classes Online

Explore the path to affordable CNA classes online with featured schools, cost-cutting tactics, scholarships, and insights into your future earning potential.

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Author: Kenya McCullum
Editor: Kari Scare

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A healthcare worker in blue scrubs talks with an older woman who is sitting on a hospital bed. The healthcare worker is holding a clipboard and smiling, while the older woman also smiles. An IV stand is visible in the background.

Certified nursing assistants are part of the backbone of the healthcare field because they provide valuable basic care to patients. With the ongoing nursing shortages around the country — including a shortage of CNAs — this care is desperately needed. As a result, the healthcare profession is offering solutions that include tuition incentive programs and higher CNA salaries and more robust benefits. This means it’s a great time to enroll in affordable CNA classes online. Keep reading to find out more about schools offering a CNA education, how you can lower the costs of your studies, and the salary and job outlook waiting for you.

Get the most out of affordable CNA classes online by finding the right school. The following is a look at several top programs — including curricula and admissions information — offering CNA programs to give you an idea of what’s out there. Even if these schools aren’t for you, the profiles tell you what to look for in your search for one that is.

Bismarck State College

Bismarck State College has an 80-hour CNA program with a combination of classroom instruction, supervised practical training, clinical practice, and reviewing and testing. The school offers several starting dates throughout the year, so students can begin their studies when it’s most convenient for them rather than being confined to just the fall and spring semesters. In addition, Bismarck State College offers further flexibility through hybrid CNA classes that allow students to complete the theoretical portions online at their own pace while coming to campus for skills and clinical instruction. The program gives aspiring CNAs the ability to provide basic care for patients in different healthcare settings; understand the ethical and legal guidelines of the nursing field; communicate effectively with patients and other professionals; work effectively in emergencies; and understand the physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs of patients from diverse populations.

Bismarck State College provides a successful educational experience to its students. To help accomplish this, it offers a variety of amenities that include peer mentoring, IT support, veterans, advising, accessibility, and career services.

Lehman College

Lehman College logo featuring a stylized graphic of a blue torch and rows of blue steps inside a green circular shape on the left. The text "LEHMAN" in bold, capitalized blue letters is on the right, with smaller text "COLLEGE" located beneath.

Lehman College prepares students for work in different types of organizations, such as home health agencies, hospitals, and hospice facilities. By the end of the program, which includes 95 hours of instruction and 30 hours of clinical rotations, students can take the New York State credentialing exam. The school offers hybrid learning that teaches the fundamentals of working as a certified nursing assistant in New York. Classes cover topics such as anatomy and physiology, rehabilitation, body systems, mental health, and basic life support. Applicants need a high school diploma, English proficiency, basic computer skills, and valid government identification.

Lehman College supports students through various forms of tuition assistance, including scholarships, discounts, and vouchers. After completing the CNA program and receiving their credentials, CNAs can enroll in the school’s patient care technician program. This allows CNAs to upskill to provide a higher level of care, including tasks like recording EKGs and drawing blood from patients.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The image features the text "UNLV" in a bold, serif font with a deep red color.

The CNA program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas can be completed in four weeks and allows students to enroll during the fall, spring, or summer semesters, providing the convenience to fit studies into their lifestyle at the right time. During this four-week online CNA course, students gain the knowledge and skills needed to understand the practice expectations employers have for certified nursing assistants as well as meet the Nevada State Board of Nursing certification requirements. Coursework teaches how to provide services that include helping patients with personal care, infection control, exercise, nutrition, and elimination. In addition, students gain an understanding of nursing ethics and law, communication, medical terms, growth and development through the lifespan, safety protocols, and end-of-life treatments.

Applicants need a high school diploma and CPR training to be admitted. During the application process, they undergo a background check and physical examination and must show proof of immunizations.

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Cost-Cutting Tactics for Prospective CNA Students

Affordable CNA classes online may not be as expensive as the courses found in other programs, but that doesn’t mean students aren’t concerned about the cost of their education. If you’re looking for ways to cut costs, the section below gives you some strategies to lower what you’ll pay for your tuition and fees.

Apply for Scholarships (and Fee Waivers)

Scholarships can be extremely helpful when it comes to lowering the cost of affordable CNA classes online. Scholarships are readily available and come from schools directly, organizations that want to contribute to the growth of the nursing profession, and employers. The Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association, for example, offers scholarships to students around the country enrolled in undergraduate degree programs.

While you’re likely well aware of how scholarships and other types of financial aid can help you, you may not have thought about fee waivers for nursing school applications. The costs of applications should be considered because they can add up quickly. Finding schools, like San Joaquin Delta College, that offer application fee waivers can help reduce costs.

Maintain Part-Time Employment

To be successful in any degree program, it’s a good idea for students to dedicate as much time as possible to their education. For some, this means leaving their job. However, if you’re not in the financial position to stop working entirely, maintaining part-time employment can help your finances as you take affordable CNA classes online. Even if you do receive financial aid, you may need to work to fill gaps in your funding and make ends meet during your nurse training.

Take Advantage of Employer Tuition Reimbursement

Another way to cut the cost of your education is to have your employer pay for it. To help address the nursing shortage, many employers are paying to train certified nursing assistants, which is a win-win for employers and students alike. Maybe you already have a job at a healthcare facility, and you can discuss the possibility of receiving reimbursement for your CNA education. Maybe you have already completed affordable CNA classes online, and you can find an employer like Western Home Services that will provide student loan reimbursement. In either case, this is an employee perk that can save you a lot of money.

Utilize Free Certification Exam Prep Resources

As you map out your journey of becoming a CNA, it’s also important to think about exam preparation to help you pass the certification test. Although you may be able to pass the exam on your first try like 82.3 percent of CNAs in Florida and 82.5 percent in Arizona, you don’t want to take your chances by not getting all the preparation you can. Save money on exam prep resources by taking free practice tests online or getting access to study resources through your CNA program.

A Closer Look at the Costs of CNA Classes Online

The cost of affordable CNA classes online is not just about the actual price of tuition. Schools charge a variety of fees you need to be aware of to know exactly what you’re paying for. To get an idea of what you may be charged for a CNA program, consider the expenditures discussed below.

Tuition

Tuition for affordable CNA classes online varies depending on the school you enroll in. Some schools charge a fee for the entire program, while others charge per credit. For example, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas full tuition of $2,575 includes classes and charges for blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, and laboratory work. Schools that charge per credit include Kenai Peninsula College ($234), Edmonds College ($129.80 to $389.40), and Ventura College ($46).

Program Supplies

While some schools include fees within their tuition charges, others itemize fees and charge them separately. Program fees include items like uniforms and textbooks. Although the charges individually may not seem pricey, together they can become quite expensive. For example, Pasadena City College charges CNA students $100 for textbooks, $120 for two sets of uniforms, $150 for shoes, $8 for each name badge, and $5 for a uniform patch. Modesto Junior College, on the other hand, charges $75 for an entire uniform that includes the top, pants, and shoes in addition to $80 for textbooks.

Miscellaneous Fees

When itemized, miscellaneous charges also add up quickly, and they range from technology to laboratory to examination fees. For example, CNA students at Methodist College pay a $50 technology fee, a $30 parking fee, and $10 for medical malpractice insurance. Every quarter, students at Wenatchee Valley College pay a $100 lab fee, a $65 technology fee, as well as a $16.25 liability insurance fee annually.

Background Check and Immunizations

Other fees, which also depend on the school you attend, that may be overlooked by aspiring CNAs when they consider training programs are background checks and immunization charges. CNA students at Utah Tech University pay $100 to $300 for vaccinations and blood tests to prove they have immunity as well as $30 for a drug screening. Similarly, College of the Canyons charges $48 for a background check, $50 to $350 for mandatory physical and immunization fees, and $63 for drug testing.

Career Outlook and Earning Potential

If you’re thinking about enrolling in affordable CNA classes online but aren’t sure about your chances of finding employment, the numbers below can help you develop a clear picture of the career landscape that awaits you. There will be an 8.3% increase in nursing assistant jobs between 2020 and 2030, a healthy amount of growth for any profession. This translates to 115,300 new jobs added to the profession and 187,000 annual openings on average, making it likely you’ll be able to find a job when you complete your training.

In addition to the chances of getting a job after completing affordable CNA classes online, you may also be wondering whether you’ll get a return on your time and financial investment. In terms of salary, certified nursing assistants can earn up to around $45,000 annually. The lowest CNA earners make $28,030 per year, while the highest earn $45,940. On average, certified nursing assistants around the country $35,760 per year.

AreaOccupationNew Jobs (2020-2030)Growth RateAvg. Annual Openings
USNursing Assistants 115,3008.3%187,000

Source: Projections Central

AreaOccupation10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
USNursing Assistants $28,030$35,760$45,940

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Winning a scholarship is a significant help when paying for affordable CNA classes online, so it’s a good idea to apply for as many awards as you can to defray your education costs. The following are two scholarships provided specifically to CNA students that you may be eligible to receive.

Mercer Foundation for Health Scholarship

This scholarship from the Mercer Foundation for Health is available to aspiring CNAs in Mercer County, Illinois. Applicants should be high school students who plan to attend a certified nursing assistant program.

Award Amount: $500

Senior Justice Law Firm Certified Nursing Assistant Program Scholarship

Senior Justice Law Firm offers this award for CNA students to use for their tuition and the cost of the certification exam and state certification fees. To be considered, students must be enrolled in a CNA program. Applicants should submit essays describing why they decided to pursue this career and what they plan to do with their education.

Award Amount: $1,000