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Top Online CNA Classes in South Carolina

In this guide, you’ll explore top online CNA classes in South Carolina, find out how to become a certified nursing assistant, and get answers to frequently asked questions. Let’s get started!

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Author: Jenna Tidd

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Sunrise over a charming street in charleston, south carolina, featuring historic buildings, palm trees, and the steeple of st. philip's church in the distance.

Are you a high school graduate ready to make a difference in people’s lives by providing excellent healthcare? Want to take the first step toward a nursing career by learning how to become a CNA (certified nursing assistant)?

If this sounds like you, online CNA classes in South Carolina may be a convenient, affordable option. They’re designed to teach you the basic nursing skills that equip you for jobs in hospitals, home health, long-term care facilities, and assisted living facilities. As a CNA, you’ll give hands-on care to people who need assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, walking, and going to the bathroom.

If you’re looking for the best online CNA classes in South Carolina, we’re here to help with this informative guide. We’re spotlighting three CNA classes and their important features to give you an idea of what to look for when choosing the program that’s right for you. Keep reading to learn about top schools, find out the steps to get your certification, discover your earning potential, and get answers to frequently asked questions.

Inside South Carolina’s Standout Online CNA Classes

Below, we examine the key features of three CNA programs, such as tuition cost, program length and format, and admissions requirements. Although not all courses are available online, they each provide an example of what to look for when searching for quality online CNA classes in South Carolina.

Midlands Technical College

As one of the few online CNA classes in South Carolina, Midlands Technical College’s hybrid certified nursing assistant program teaches anatomy and physiology, basic nursing skills, communication, and soft skills. Students learn how to assist with activities of daily living, take vital signs, and use appropriate safety measures. Clinicals take place in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and extended care facilities.

This program consists of 22 credit hours that can be completed in either two or four semesters, depending on whether students choose full-time or part-time enrollment. Tuition costs $4,136; the course is eligible for financial aid. A variety of scholarships and resources are available, some of which are offered directly through the college.

For admission to this program and off-campus clinical sites, students must pass a background check and drug screening. Additional admissions requirements include attending an orientation, submitting an Acknowledgement of Intent request, providing proof of immunization, and completing CPR/first aid certification (American Heart for the Healthcare Professional).

University of South Carolina

The Palmetto Caregivers program at the University of South Carolina is a free, eight-week CNA training program backed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Designed to address the growing need for nursing assistants, it’s an ideal way for students on a budget to enter the nursing field. This is an on-site program, not one of the online CNA classes in South Carolina. However, it includes training, testing, certification, and job placement assistance to help students begin working as soon as possible.

During the course, students learn fundamental nursing principles and master the necessary skills to provide care for people who need assistance with activities of daily living. Upon successful completion, students will be prepared to work in nursing facilities and long-term care facilities. Due to funding limits, this program will train up to 3,000 students.

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How to Become a CNA in South Carolina Online

Since each state has its own regulations, it’s important to know exactly what’s required to legally work as a CNA. Below, we look at the steps you need to take to become a CNA in South Carolina, from background checks to schools to the state exam.

Step 1: Meet Basic Background Requirements

Before becoming a CNA, you must be at least 18 years old and pass a criminal background check supported by fingerprints, a drug screen, and a TB test. All of these must take place before enrolling in a CNA program. You may need a high school diploma or GED, depending on the program you choose. States typically prioritize a clean background check and adequate training over specific educational requirements. It’s up to each school to determine if a diploma or GED is required.

Step 2: Graduate from an Approved CNA Program

To competently practice as a CNA, you must complete a state-approved CNA program. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, an approved CNA program must include 100 hours of training comprised of 40 hours of classroom instruction, 40 hours of clinicals, and 20 hours of documented skills practice under the supervision of a registered nurse. These programs provide foundational knowledge about major diseases, body systems, and how to assist people in daily living.

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

After completing a CNA program, you must apply to take the NNAAP exam and pay the $101 fee. South Carolina is one of 25 states that use the NNAAP exam to assess candidates. It consists of two sections – a written or oral portion and a hands-on skills demonstration. Candidates must pass both sections to be added to the state nurse aide registry, which shows potential employers that you have satisfied state employment requirements.

Step 4: Start Working as a CNA

Once licensed, you can work in long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and home health, where you will take vital signs and help patients dress, bathe, eat, walk, and use the toilet. You’ll play a critical role on the healthcare team as the one who has the most consistent interaction with patients. This enables you to observe and report important details and changes in their condition that impact their treatment and well-being.

Step 5: Renew Your CNA License Periodically

As a CNA in South Carolina, you must renew your license every two years. The only requirement to maintain an active license is that you must work a minimum of eight consecutive hours for pay during those two years. No continuing education credits are required. About 90 days before your license expires, you will receive a reminder with directions for how to renew, a process that is completed online with the South Carolina Board of Nursing.

Salary and Career Prospects for CNAs in South Carolina

When estimating your potential salary as a CNA in South Carolina, it’s important to consider your experience (or lack of experience) and your location. Aides with salaries in the 90th percentile can make over $40,000 annually, but that won’t be the case for you as a brand-new CNA.

Realistically, you should expect to receive a salary closer to the 10th percentile until you have more experience under your belt. In South Carolina, salaries in the 10th percentile range from $21,180 in Florence to $29,680 in Charleston. As you can see, location makes a difference, with larger cities being much more profitable. Charleston has the highest possible salaries across all three categories, making it an ideal place to start your CNA career. Hilton Head Island, Columbia, and Spartanburg are the highest-paying areas after Charleston. Overall, Florence offers the lowest salaries. Highly populated areas also tend to have more job opportunities.

On average, new CNAs can expect to make around $24,0000 and up per year, with the median salary ranging from $28,750 to $33,890. CNAs with years of experience qualify for salaries in the 90th percentile, which range from $34,230 to $41,530.

Area10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
South Carolina$24,630$31,040$38,250
Charleston-North Charleston, SC$29,680$33,890$41,530
Columbia, SC$27,610$31,090$37,860
Florence, SC$21,180$28,750$35,420
Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC$25,240$31,140$38,580
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC$28,330$30,770$39,830
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC$24,230$30,410$35,560
Spartanburg, SC$28,590$30,880$38,220
Sumter, SC$24,850$29,640$34,230

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

AreaNew Jobs (2020-2030)Growth RateAvg. Annual Openings
United States115,3008.3%187,000
South Carolina1,7009.5%2,440

Source: Projections Central

Answering Your Questions About Online CNA Classes in South Carolina

If you still have questions about becoming a certified nursing assistant, keep reading below. You may find the answer as we address the most pressing concerns and top questions from other prospective students interested in online CNA classes in South Carolina. Topics range from free classes to how quickly you can get certified.

Are there free CNA classes in South Carolina?

South Carolina does offer a free CNA program through the University of South Carolina, which we highlighted above. In general, free CNA classes are rare. In the case of the Palmetto Caregivers, they are made possible through a grant focused on addressing the state’s need for CNAs.

Can you become a CNA in South Carolina in four weeks?

Although most CNA programs last eight weeks, four-week classes do exist. Schools such as Piedmont Community College streamline the course to fit into a short period of time. That said, you will still need to pass the state exam, apply for, and receive your license.

Can you take the CNA test without classes in SC?

No, you must complete a state-approved certified nursing assistant program to become eligible for the exam. Approved programs align with South Carolina’s Core Curriculum. This ensures you’ve received adequate training to practice as a CNA safely and competently. It also shows potential employers that you have the necessary skills to fulfill your duties.

How long does it take to become a CNA in South Carolina?

Certified nursing assistant programs in South Carolina range from four to 16 weeks, depending on the program and enrollment. The time to take the board exam and apply for a license may vary. However, you may work for up to four months in a Medicaid-funded facility without certification if you’re in or graduated from an approved CNA program.

What is the career trajectory for a CNA in South Carolina?

Nursing assistants in South Carolina have multiple options after getting licensed. Not only can they work in a variety of facilities, but they can also stack certifications by becoming a med tech or a phlebotomist. Those who want to become a nurse may choose to enroll in a CNA to LPN nursing program.

What’s the fastest you can become a South Carolina CNA?

It will take at least four weeks to complete CNA training in South Carolina. That’s the length of the shortest programs (such as the CNA class at Piedmont Community College), with most averaging at least eight weeks. This is the quickest way to start a nursing career and gain valuable experience.