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Online CNA Classes Without a GED Requirement

Becoming a CNA online is one of the most accessible paths into the nursing profession. Our comprehensive guide digs into CNA classes online without GED requirements and all they have to offer.

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Author: Jenna Tidd
Editor: Kari Scare

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A smiling healthcare worker in blue scrubs, with no GED requirement, places a supportive hand on the shoulder of an elderly man with glasses who is also smiling. They are in a bright, modern, and white healthcare facility.

Do you long to make a difference in allied healthcare but worry that a lack of a GED stands in your way? Wondering how to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) without a high school diploma? Good news! There are schools offering online CNA classes with no GED required that can make your dream a reality.

A CNA performs daily, hands-on care for people who can’t dress, feed, transfer, or bathe themselves. They work in long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and home health where they play critical roles on healthcare teams by making daily observations of changes in patients and residents that would otherwise go unnoticed.

If you’re interested in online CNA classes with no GED programs, this comprehensive guide can help you find the right one. It highlights three schools offering quality CNA programs and examines their key features, such as tuition, program length and format, and course outcomes. It also explains the necessary steps to become a CNA, answers frequently asked questions, and shares tips and resources for finding your first job after getting certified. Keep reading to learn how to become a CNA and begin your nursing career.

School Spotlights: Online CNA Classes Without a GED Requirement

To help you search for online CNA classes no GED required programs, the spotlight below features important elements of three schools with quality programs. They aren’t ranked, so each one may be added to your list of possibilities or used as a model when considering other programs.

Great Basin College

Great Basin College offers prospective certified nursing assistants an accessible, flexible hybrid CNA program that doesn’t require a GED or high school diploma. This 120-hour course takes four to eight weeks to complete and consists of 40 hours of theory, 60 hours of skills labs, and 20 hours of clinicals.

Course content prepares students to safely and competently work as nursing assistants in Nevada. After completing the program, students understand the roles and responsibilities of a nursing assistant, perform specific skills, and provide care in accordance with patient rights.

To apply for this online CNA classes no GED required program, applicants must be at least 16 years old, show proof of vaccinations, pass a drug screen and background check, and have a BLS certification from the American Heart Association (AHA). Tuition costs $818. Additional costs, such as lab and certification fees, supplies, scrubs, and shoes, bring the total program cost to $1,613.

Portland Community College

Although it doesn’t offer an online CNA classes no GED required program, Portland Community College’s Certified Nursing Assistant 1 (CNA 1) on-site program prepares students for entry-level healthcare jobs through 80.5 hours of lectures and labs and 75 clinical hours. The curriculum focuses on essential skills, a basic understanding of body systems and major diseases, patient rights, and standard safety precautions in preparation for the state board exam. Most graduates do best on their second attempt at passing the licensure exam with a 100% pass rate on the written test and a 97% pass rate on the skills portion.

When registration for this program opens, those who are at least 17 years old may register for classes and attend a mandatory orientation before the first day with no application or GED required. Program tuition is $1,600 in addition to the cost of supplies, CPR certification, and a background check and drug screen. Since it’s a noncredit class, financial aid is not available.

Southeast Community College

For those interested in an online CNA classes no GED required program with flexible time frames, Southeast Community College offers a hybrid nursing assistant program with 8-week and 16-week options approved by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Regulation and Licensure. The curriculum consists of online coursework and in-person clinicals and is similar to a certified nursing assistant program. Nebraska doesn’t certify nursing assistants, so graduates receive the title of Approved Nursing Assistant. Students who complete the program and pass the state exam may join the Nebraska Nurse Aide Registry.

Applicants must be at least 16 years of age, have basic computer and math skills, and be able to read, write, and speak English. Fall semester tuition for in-state students is $369, and out-of-state tuition is $432. Summer tuition costs $423.50 for residents and $497 for out-of-state students. Those in need of financial aid may qualify for the GAP assistance program, which provides need-based financial support for non-credit courses.

Additional Admission Requirements for Online CNA Classes

If you don’t need a GED to get into a CNA program, what do you need? This section explores additional admission requirements, such as exams, vaccinations, and background checks. Some are important tools when a GED isn’t required, and others are standard requirements. You’ll also find explanations of why they’re necessary and how they relate to your education and future work.

Admission Exam & Application Fee

Online CNA classes no GED required programs need some way to verify that you can complete the coursework. They may use an admission exam to assess your competency level in reading, writing, math, and computer skills in relation to the program content. If there are limited seats available, the exam filters out applicants who aren’t serious or qualified. Application fees help cover administrative costs and show you’re committed to your education and willing to invest in it.

Age Requirements

Minimum age requirements of CNA programs typically adhere to state laws. They also ensure students have the necessary aptitude, competency level, strength, and professional skills to fulfill their duties. Because CNAs work closely with patients and family members, they must have adequate communication and interpersonal skills to effectively navigate a variety of situations. Students must also be strong enough to meet the physical demands of the job, which often involve lifting, supporting, and transferring full-grown adults.

Criminal Background Check

Criminal background checks are required for all CNA programs, regardless of whether you need a GED. This helps protect vulnerable patients from being harmed and ensures students meet facility regulations for employment after graduation. Passing a background check also indicates you can be trusted with people’s confidential health information and to uphold professional ethics. It shows that you don’t pose a risk of theft or vandalism to medications and valuable resources in the workplace.

Up-to-Date Vaccinations

Like background checks, proof of current vaccinations is required for all CNA programs. This shows that you’re in compliance with facility regulations and can safely work in them. As a CNA, you come face-to-face with people who often have compromised immune systems or chronic conditions. By getting your vaccines, you reduce the risk of infection or an outbreak of an infectious disease. It also shows that, as a professional, you prioritize patient safety and infection control practices.

Your FAQs, Answered

Do you still have questions about online CNA programs, no GED required programs? That’s completely normal. To set your mind at ease, this section answers the top questions and addresses the most pressing concerns of prospective students. Keep reading to learn more about the potential drawbacks of these programs, licensing requirements, and state-specific regulations.

Are there limitations or drawbacks to CNA programs that don’t require a GED?

Although online certified nursing assistant programs that don’t require a GED make the nursing field accessible to more people, they may not be helpful in employment or career advancement. Once certified, graduates may find it challenging to get a job if potential employers favor applicants with GEDs or high school diplomas over those without. When hired, career advancement may be difficult if certain positions require a GED or high school diploma. Professional development, which is strongly encouraged in healthcare, may also be a challenge if those without a GED can’t access continuing education resources or organizations.

On a personal level, the stigma of not having a high school diploma or GED may cause some to feel insecure about their qualifications, especially around coworkers with more education. This anxiety may negatively impact job performance and well-being.

Can I get a CNA license without a high school diploma?

Yes, you can become a licensed CNA without a high school diploma since there aren’t any educational mandates for licensure. Instead, a clean background check, successful completion of an approved CNA program, and passing the state board exam take priority. The one exception is Florida where applicants can take the board exam without completing a training program.

The lack of a diploma or GED may affect your ability to advance in your career, but it won’t prevent you from getting licensed and legally practicing as a CNA. Proving that you aren’t a criminal threat and that you can safely fulfill the job requirements is more important than your level of education.

Do certain states require you to have a GED to become a CNA?

As mentioned above, there aren’t any educational requirements for CNA licensure other than completing an approved CNA program. No degree or diploma is required to begin practicing. Not only does this make a nursing career more accessible, but it also allows you to easily transfer your license from state to state without additional schooling.

How to Land Your First CNA Role

When searching for your first CNA position, you may find that employers prefer applicants with a GED or high school diploma. To help you overcome this barrier, the four strategies below help you highlight your strengths and show potential employers that you are fully capable of doing the job.

Be Able to Explain Your Education History

If asked about your lack of a GED, it’s wise to directly address it in an honest, positive way. Emphasizing role-specific education you have completed shows your commitment to being an effective certified nursing assistant. If applicable, expressing your willingness to eventually earn your GED demonstrates your commitment to both personal and professional development.

Emphasize Your Practical Skills

Highlight the skills you possess that make you an asset in the workplace. These include the essential skills a CNA uses to give care as well as communication skills, a willingness to learn, a strong work ethic, and attention to detail. The CNA role also requires an observant eye, accurate record-keeping, and collaboration with other members of the healthcare team.


Networking goes beyond social media, although professional platforms like LinkedIn are great places to find jobs and make connections. Try also attending job fairs, reaching out to family or friends who work in healthcare, and contacting agencies for temporary or contract positions. Joining health-related organizations may also provide networking opportunities, mentorship, and employment support.

Seek Support Services

Try utilizing support services such as employment assistance programs that include job placement, mock interviews, and job search assistance. Community organizations and workforce development centers offer career counseling, resume writing, job search strategies, and interview preparation. Local churches or libraries may also offer helpful workshops and networking events.