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Top Online CNA Classes in Pennsylvania (PA)

Explore our guide to on-campus and online CNA classes in PA. Below, you’ll learn about top schools with flexible components, program features, and resources that’ll prepare you for this rewarding path to your healthcare specialty.

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Author: Bernard Grant
Editor: Mikalee Byerman

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Panoramic view of pittsburgh at dusk, featuring the downtown skyline with tall buildings and the distinctive yellow fort duquesne bridge spanning the allegheny river.

Interested in learning about online CNA classes in PA? If so, there’s a good chance you’re looking to take a first critical step in your allied healthcare career — either as a recent high school graduate, a current student, or someone who simply wants to test out a potential nursing career. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are an important part of the healthcare support structure, as they help patients fulfill their basic needs with a goal of improving health outcomes.

Fortunately, this path to an entry-level allied health role is fast, and some schools may offer online CNA classes in PA that allow you to earn your certificate in just two to four weeks. With your education completed, you’ll find yourself in high demand in nursing homes, hospitals, hospice care settings, and long-term care facilities.

In your future as a CNA, you’ll work with multiple patients on many of the essential care functions — including bathing, assisting with mobility issues, transporting them, logging vital information, and stocking medical supplies, among other duties. You can also expect to monitor patient food and liquid intake and update care teams on the patients’ progress.

Ready to get started? Read this guide to learn about on-campus and online CNA classes in PA. You’ll discover top schools with some online components, key program features, resources, and answers to common questions.

Inside Pennsylvania’s Standout Online CNA Classes

The first step toward your future as a CNA is identifying your future program, so the three spotlights below offer insights into quality programs with flexible elements — some of which may offer online components. Each of these schools gives students a path toward becoming entry-level nursing assistants. And if you’re looking to compare online CNA classes in PA against these and other schools, check out this ranking of online CNA programs.

Bucks County Community College

Logo of Bucks County Community College. The top left features the word "BUCKS" in blue, and to its right is the word "Bucks" in a larger, elegant blue font. Below "Bucks" are the words "County Community College" in a smaller font. The left also has a shield design.

Bucks County Community College knows nurse aids are in demand. While they don’t currently offer online CNA classes in PA, they do offer information sessions via Zoom. The school’s intensive, 120-hour CNA class consists of classroom instruction at any of its three campuses, skills lab experience, and hands-on training at a local clinical site. The clinical component of this training program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and provides students with 53 hours of hands-on training at long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania.

Once you’ve completed the program, you’ll be eligible to take the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP); those who pass will become part of the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Registry.

Curriculum covers course titles such as Body Systems, Caring for the Dying Resident, Ethics, Nutrition, Body Mechanics, and Behavioral Health and Social Service Needs. Tuition is $1,450 at all campuses. All students are eligible for 100% tuition reimbursement if they choose to work in a long-term care facility such as a nursing home after they graduate and pass the NNAAP.

Northampton Community College

The 120-hour CNA course at Northampton Community College prepares students with the skills needed to pass the NNAAP exam, become part of the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Registry, and begin working as a nurse aide in nursing homes, hospitals, and other clinical and healthcare settings.

This is another program that offers virtual information sessions, yet no online CNA classes in PA are part of the curriculum. Instead, students attend lectures and engage in skill and clinical labs. The program provides an entry into the healthcare field and satisfies field experience requirements toward a more advanced degree.

To enroll in this program, you must have a high school diploma or GED and be at least 18 years old. The program requests students receive flu and COVID vaccines due to the policies of the clinical facilities.

The cost of the course is $1,499. Northampton Community College CNA candidates also pay fees for the Nurse Aid Program, including a $135 state exam fee, background checks, TB tests, uniforms, and a drug screening.

Penn State Hazleton

Penn State Hazleton logo featuring a blue and white shield with a stylized lion's head on the left, and the text 'Penn State Hazleton' in blue on the right.

Penn State Hazelton’s Nurse Aide Program prepares students to provide safe, therapeutic care to their patients. This is a 128-hour certification program that students can take either part time or full time. You’ll attend courses and lab instruction at Penn State Hazelton and complete your clinical hours at a local nursing facility.

With course topics in restorative care, care of cognitively impaired patients, and basic nursing and personal care skills, this program is ideal for certified nursing assistant students who may be considering future careers in clinical medical assisting (CMA), licensed practical nursing (LPN), or registered nursing (RN) programs.

Tuition for the 18-day full-time program and 26-day part-time program is $1,250. Students can learn more about the nurse aide program at Penn State Hazleton by attending an online information session. Incoming students must have completed a high school diploma or GED, a physical examination, a tuberculosis skin test, and a Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Background Check.

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How to Become a CNA in PA Online

Ready to become a CNA, but you’re not exactly sure what steps are included in the process? In this section, we’ll look at the steps CNA students must take to become licensed practitioners in Pennsylvania, giving you a clear idea of what to expect from your coursework and what you’ll need to do afterward to earn and maintain your CNA license.

Step 1: Meet Basic Background Requirements

Before you apply to on-campus or online CNA classes in PA, it helps to check each program’s admission criteria to learn basic background requirements. While these requirements may vary slightly between institutions, most programs require a GED or high school diploma as well as a criminal background check and a physical exam. Some programs may require you to be at least 16 years old, while most want candidates who are at least 18 years of age. You may also need to have a CPR certification as well as exhibit personal qualities, also known as soft skills, such as empathy, compassion, patience, and excellent communication skills. Further, because this might be your first experience with online education, this would be a good time to research how to effectively transition to online learning.

Step 2: Graduate from an Approved CNA Program

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has compiled this guide to ensure you’re enrolling in an approved program. Once you graduate from your approved course, you’ll have acquired basic nursing skills under the supervision of licensed nursing professionals to enhance patient outcomes. You’ll gain comprehensive knowledge in vital signs monitoring, patient hygiene, and communication, among other patient care basics.

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

After you complete your on-ground or online CNA courses in PA, the next step is to take the NNAAP exam. This test, which represents a pivotal step to becoming a certified nursing assistant, will evaluate your knowledge in patient hygiene, safety, communication, and other key areas of patient care. Once you pass this exam, you’ve proven your competency in providing care to patients and their families in a variety of healthcare settings, opening doors to rewarding opportunities in the healthcare field.

Step 4: Start Working as a CNA

As previously noted, CNAs work in various healthcare settings that include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and even home health agencies. While your primary responsibilities would revolve around providing basic care to patients under the supervision of RNs — completing tasks like taking vital signs, turning and repositioning patients, helping with mobility, and bathing, dressing, and feeding patients — CNAs also spend a lot of time with families and caretakers. Therefore, another key task it to provide emotional support to patients and their loved ones.

Step 5: Renew Your CNA License Periodically

The State of Pennsylvania uses Credentia’s CNA 365 system to help with nurse aide registration renewal. You’ll need to renew your credentials every two years, and you will also need to complete eight consecutive hours (or one documented day) of salaried nurse-aide work in a state-approved healthcare facility within the 24-month licensure period. Questions about CNA license renewal can be addressed with the Pennsylvania Department of State Board of Nursing Resources.

Salary and Career Prospects for CNAs in Pennsylvania

The career outlook for certified nursing assistants looks promising, as nurse aides are in high demand. Pennsylvania’s median salary for CNAs is $36,340, which is slightly above the national median of $35,760. Further, if you’re interested in continuing your education with a quality CNA to LPN bridge program, your salary expectations will be even higher.

There are, of course, certain areas of Pennsylvania that offer more lucrative job prospects than others. The Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ region, for example, offers a median of $36,760, while the Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA region boasts a median salary of $36,850. Both of these areas offer wages above the state and national averages.

Salaries vary across the state, but most areas in Pennsylvania offer competitive compensation for CNAs. Metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington offer $38,040 to reflect the cost of living in the area. Median salaries in cities like Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA ($32,360) and Johnstown, PA ($30,700), on the other hand, fall below the state and national averages.

A CNA role offers steady growth. In light of the nursing shortage, Pennsylvania projects 7,300 new jobs from 2020 to 2030, a robust growth rate of 9.8%. The U.S. anticipates robust growth for certified nursing assistants, with 155,300 new jobs projected from 2020 to 2030.

Location10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ$31,300$36,760$42,330
Altoona, PA$28,850$35,070$41,020
Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA$29,580$32,360$38,280
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA$30,350$36,850$50,030
East Stroudsburg, PA$30,120$34,880$35,940
Erie, PA$29,430$33,490$39,580
Gettysburg, PA$30,990$35,610$40,590
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA$30,830$36,120$40,120
Johnstown, PA$27,480$30,700$36,260
Lancaster, PA$30,090$36,760$40,180
Lebanon, PA$29,720$35,300$41,980
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD$30,560$38,040$44,090
Pittsburgh, PA$30,850$36,470$40,540
Reading, PA$31,200$35,670$40,730
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA$29,700$35,160$39,330
State College, PA$28,960$35,570$39,260
Williamsport, PA$29,010$35,470$38,110
York-Hanover, PA$30,070$35,820$38,210

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 PA

If you’re reading this guide, you’re interested in how to become a CNA; and while we’ve provided insights and program ideas, we also realize you may still have questions. Concerns about finances, testing, and admission requirements can send you combing the internet in search of answers. Fortunately, we’ve addressed many more of prospective CNA students’ most pressing concerns below.

Are there free CNA training programs in PA?

Some healthcare facilities will pay for your class and exams if you subsequently work in the field for a predetermined amount of time. For example, CareBridge Academy provides free nursing assistant training, but this payment arrangement works only on a reimbursement basis. Students must pay costs up front, and once they graduate and work for 260 hours in a nursing home or long-term care facility within one year of passing the state CNA exam, then the nursing home reimburses the full cost of the program.

Can I take the CNA test without classes in PA?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, you must graduate from a state-approved nurse aide training program to earn eligibility to take the state nurse aide competency examination. Candidates must also be at least 16 years old to take the exam, although some nursing facilities require candidates to be at least 18 years old.

Do I need my GED to enroll in online CNA classes?

While Pennsylvania doesn’t require a GED to enroll in online CNA classes, most schools and nursing facilities require either a GED or high school diploma. If you don’t have a GED or high school diploma, you might seek out small, private online CNA classes in PA or contact different programs to see if they offer alternative pathways for people without a GED or high school diploma.

Do 4-week online CNA programs exist in Pennsylvania?

While accelerated, 4-week CNA programs exist in Pennsylvania — such as Northampton Community College, CareBridge Academy, and the Philadelphia Academy for Nurse Aide Training (PANAT) — none of these programs is fully online. CNA programs consist of necessary skill labs and clinicals, requiring hands-on training that prepare CNA candidates to work with nurses and patients in Pennsylvania. But some programs may offer hybrid elements, like some lecture materials that may be accessed online. If you’re researching CNA programs throughout the country and are interested in comparing the different kinds of 4-week courses you’re finding, here’s a comprehensive guide. And if you’re motivated to begin your healthcare career as quickly as possible, read about these 16 healthcare careers you can start in no time.

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

Pennsylvania requires at least 80 hours of CNA training. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s recommended certified nursing assistant programs tend to offer 120- to 128-hour courses. These programs typically take between six to 15 weeks to complete and must include 37.5 hours of clinical practice.

How much do CNA classes cost in PA?

While the cost of CNA classes in PA varies between programs, most programs range between $500 and $2,000. Northampton Community College charges $1,499, for example, while PANAT charges $1,475. As mentioned earlier, some programs, such as CareBridge Academy, reimburse graduates, resulting in a free education after the candidate has graduated and worked a certain number of hours in a nursing home, hospital, or long-term care facility. Still looking for ways to cut costs? Check out this guide to financial aid for CNA students and this resource with scholarships specifically for CNA students. You can also review this financial aid guide for healthcare students for additional insights.