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Discover the Top CNA Online Classes in NY

The right CNA program — like these online CNA programs in New York State — will equip you to take advantage of a growing, in-demand field, fast.

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Author: Holly Riddle
Editor: Kimberly Zaski

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Panoramic view of a snow-covered city park at dusk with illuminated skyscrapers in the background and a stone bridge in the foreground.

If you’ve decided to pursue a career as a certified nurse aide or certified nursing assistant (CNA), then you’re likely motivated by two things: the daily, tangible impact CNAs have on patients’ health journeys, and the minimal education requirements necessary to get started. Unlike other nursing-related career paths that may require years of schooling, completing a CNA training program can take as little as a month.

That said, you don’t want to choose just any CNA certification program. Beyond choosing a CNA certification NY online program that fits your schedule and budget, you also want to choose a program that will set you up for success, prepare you to take the New York State Nursing Home Nurse Aide Competency Examination, and qualify you to work in your preferred setting. Additionally, if you plan to pursue a more advanced nursing career at a later date, you’ll want to choose a program that will prepare you for further educational opportunities.

To help make the decision easier, check out these standout CNA certification NY online programs that can help you obtain your CNA certification quickly and affordably.

Inside NY’s Standout Online CNA Classes

The following three CNA certification NY online programs offer a mix of high-quality programming, flexibility, and resources to help as you pursue your career as a CNA (and beyond). Keep in mind this is not a ranking, and there are many CNA certification NY online programs throughout the state. If you want to see all your options, the New York State Education Department publishes a list of certified nurse aide programs approved by the Department each year.

The City College of New York

The image shows the logo of The City College of New York. On the left is a purple circular seal with an intricate design, and to the right, in purple text, reads "The City College of New York.

The City College of New York offers a 130-hour certified nursing assistant program that combines online classroom instruction with a clinical internship. Topics include basic patient care and how to assist patients with daily living needs (such as grooming). For your clinical internship, you’ll be assigned to work in a nursing home, where you’ll gain hands-on experience. This hybrid approach allows you to get the bulk of your training remotely while still meeting all the requirements necessary to take the New York State Nursing Home Nurse Aide Competency Examination.

The only prerequisite required for this CNA certification NY online course is a high school diploma or equivalent. You’ll also need medical clearance (including a drug screening) and a background check before beginning clinical work. On-camera appearances are required during the online portion of the class, and, once you begin clinicals, a Covid-19 vaccination and personal protective equipment (PPE) are required.

Cost for this one-semester program is $1,260, not including textbooks, exam, uniform, and certification fees.

Dutchess Community College

Logo of Dutchess Community College. The text "Dutchess" is displayed in large, bold uppercase letters. Below it, smaller uppercase text reads "Community College." Both lines of text are in a dark blue color with transparent background.

The Dutchess Community Collegecertified nursing assistant program requires even less time at 120 hours including 30 hours of clinical work. In-person classes are available for both online and evening study, covering everything you need to know to assist patients in a hospital, extended living, or similar healthcare settings with daily needs and basic care. Upon graduation, you will be eligible to take the New York State Nursing Home Nurse Aide Competency Examination.

Cost for this one-semester program (offered in the spring, summer, and fall semesters) is $1,595. To register for this program, the college requires you to attend an online orientation session.

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.

At Lehman College, the CNA certification NY online program requires 95 hours of online and hybrid classroom work and 30 hours of in-person clinical work. Once completed, you can sit for the required competency examination. According to Lehman those based in New York City who become CNAs make an average of $21 per hour, or just over $40,000 annually. Additionally, the CNA course can be a stepping stone to pursue other healthcare careers, such as a patient care technician.

Lehman College gives its students one exam voucher per semester to cover exam cost. Additionally, you can apply for an Adult Student Success in Educational Transition (ASSET) scholarship that will cover half of your tuition. The two-course program is $625 per class, plus required clinical work.

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How to Become a CNA in NY Online

To become a CNA in New York, you’ll be required to meet state several requirements to help ensure patient safety and the highest level of care. There are also several additional steps once your CNA career starts, to remain eligible to work as a certified nursing assistant.

Step 1: Meet Basic Background Requirements

First, there are the basic background requirements, including earning a high school diploma, GED, or similar. To work in a clinical setting, you’ll need to pass a background check and drug test, and you may need to show proof of various immunizations. There are no prerequisite courses required.

Step 2: Graduate from an Approved CNA Program

Once you meet the basic background requirements, you can register to attend a state-approved CNA program. As mentioned, the New York State Education Department publishes a list of certified nurse aide programs. Most CNA programs require about 100 hours of classroom work and 30 hours of clinical time, completed in about a semester.

Step 3: Take the (NYS) Nursing Home Nurse Aide Competency Examination

After completing an approved CNA program, you must take the New York State (NYS) Nursing Home Nurse Aide Competency Examination. The State partners with Prometric to both administer the exam and manage the NYS Nursing Home Nurse Aide Registry. You must be listed on the registry, and in good standing, to get your nursing home nurse aid certificate (or CNA certificate), required for working in nursing home settings in the State of New York.

The two-hour, $125 exam includes written and clinical tests to evaluate a student’s ability to conduct patient care, including taking basic measurements (pulse, breathing), assisting with everyday tasks, and providing grooming and personal hygiene, among others. The clinical skills exam is conducted at a dedicated site; the written portion is online. Once you pass the test, you will receive your CNA certificate within about five business days and be listed on the registry within about two business days.

Step 4: Start Working as a CNA

Once you have your CNA certificate and are listed on the NYS Nursing Home Nurse Aide Registry, you can begin applying for CNA roles at healthcare facilities in your area. Working as a CNA often means working in an institutional setting like hospitals and nursing homes. Your daily tasks might include basic caregiving (such as taking vitals) as well as assisting the more qualified healthcare professionals in providing care. CNAs often assist patients in living their day-to-day lives, particularly in long-term care settings, helping patients dress or bathe, cleaning their rooms, and assisting with meals and eating.

Step 5: Renew Your CNA License Periodically

You’ll need to renew your CNA certification every 24 months. The eligibility requirements state you must have worked at least eight consecutive hours as a CNA within the last 24 months, to be eligible for certificate renewal. Certification renewal is $40.

Salary and Career Prospects for CNAs in NY

The job outlook for CNAs is positive. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2022–2032 employment projections indicate a rapidly aging population means more healthcare workers, especially those in caregiving roles like CNAs. In New York, the demand for CNAs is expected to be high through 2030, with growth rates nearly double what’s expected across the country.

The median salary statewide is just over $44,000, nearly $10,000 more than the median for the United States overall. Your salary will depend on where you work, from the New York metro area to rural area in the northern and southern parts of the state.

The NYC metro, for example, boasts the highest median CNA salaries in the state, at over $45,000 per year. The lowest median CNA salaries in the state are in Binghamton, a small city in the southern part of the state near the Pennsylvania border, at $32,240 per year, less than the national median.

Area10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
US$28,030$35,760$45,940
New York$32,020$44,080$52,210
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY$31,710$35,540$43,040
Binghamton, NY$31,200$32,240$38,750
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY$30,340$35,450$42,430
Elmira, NY$29,470$32,620$39,630
Glens Falls, NY$30,120$36,270$42,570
Ithaca, NY$32,060$34,570$43,430
Kingston, NY$31,200$37,090$41,810
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$36,280$45,500$52,270
Rochester, NY$30,490$37,710$44,310
Syracuse, NY$31,290$36,290$44,080
Utica-Rome, NY$30,180$34,990$42,340
Watertown-Fort Drum, NY$29,520$32,700$37,380

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

AreaNew Jobs (2020-2030)Growth RateAvg. Annual Openings
United States115,3008.3%187,000
New York15,36017%13,340

Source: Projections Central

Answering Your Questions About Online CNA Classes in NY

Of course, while the above information will help you get started as a prospective CNA student, you likely still have some questions. Here are some of the most pressing concerns that CNA students often have as they embark on this career path.

Are there hospitals that offer free CNA training in NYC?

Yes, there are some hospitals that will provide free or even paid training for CNA students, allowing them to get all the experience necessary to pass the required exam and get their CNA certificate, without enrolling in a college course or paying tuition. At NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter, CNA trainees complete both classroom and in-person training and observations over 12 to 16 weeks. Once they complete the training and pass the necessary exam, students are offered a CNA position at the facility.

Can I get my CNA license in NY for free?

In addition to attending CNA programs for free at hospitals and through organizations such as Job Corps, you can also sometimes get additional funding for your CNA certificate and exam. In some cases, an employer may pay for the exam and in others, your school may cover it. In the past, fee waivers have also been issued to address staffing shortages.

Do free online CNA courses offer certificates of completion?

Sometimes. While you may get a certificate of completion for graduating from a CNA course, do note that this certificate is not enough to get a job as a CNA. You will need to take and pass the New York State CNA examination, which issues its own certificate required for working as a CNA.

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

While time to completion will differ due to factors such as the program you choose, as well as how much time you dedicate to a program, many CNA programs can be completed in one academic semester or about 12 weeks.

How much does it cost to become a CNA in NY?

In some instances, becoming a CNA in New York is entirely free. If you attend a community college or technical school to become a CNA, you can expect to pay a relatively small tuition, as CNA programs generally only include a few classes and one semester of study. The programs highlighted above, for example, cost less than $2,000 each. If you still need help with tuition for a CNA program, some schools offer scholarships and other financial aid.

What’s the fastest way to become a CNA in New York?

The fastest way to become a CNA in New York is to sign up for a CNA program that can be completed in the shortest amount of time. Some programs can be completed in as few as four weeks, such as the CNA program offered by Samaritan Health.