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Top Online CNA Classes in Washington State

Studying online to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in Washington state can save time and money. Discover the best online CNA classes in Washington state.

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Author: Ellery Weil
Editor: Kimberly Zaski

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A vibrant cityscape featuring the skyline of Seattle with its iconic Space Needle and a large Ferris wheel in the foreground. Numerous high-rise buildings and waterfront structures are visible, under a beautiful, partially clouded sky at dusk.

If you or a loved one has ever spent time in a hospital or other care facility, you probably remember not only the doctors but also the medical staff who helped every step of the way.

From feeding patients to helping them stay clean and comfortable after surgery, to making sure there is a good supply of medical equipment, bandages, and more on hand, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) provide vital support to doctors and patients alike.

Looking to join this growing field? You’re in for an important career in healthcare, with the opportunity to further your education and advance later. But how do you get started as a CNA? Online CNA classes in Washington state can get you working quickly and affordably. Take a look at some opportunities for online CNA education in Washington.

Inside Washington’s Standout Online CNA Classes

There are a variety of different online CNA classes in Washington state to choose from, but we’ve highlighted a few high-quality programs to get you started in your search. Have a look at these schools to see if one might be a good fit for you.

Seattle Central College

Seattle Central College offers a Certified Nursing Assistant certificate course which can be completed in just one quarter. This program, which is accredited by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, can be completed through a convenient hybrid learning model. Traditional lecture-style theory classes are offered online through Zoom and can be completed from the comfort of your home. Labs are in person at the Seattle campus. Later in the quarter, you will be required to complete clinical skills classes at one of several clinical sites throughout the Seattle area.

Anyone 18 or older or who is a high school or GED graduate may attend Seattle Central College, and there are no specific admissions requirements for the CNA program. Upon graduation, students are prepared to sit for the NAC exam to become certified and start work as nursing assistants. As a state institution, Seattle Central College offers in-state tuition for Washington residents and financial aid opportunities.

Shoreline Community College

A logo for a community college.

The Certified Nursing Assistant certificate program at Shoreline Community College is designed to prepare you to sit for your CNA exam. The program, approved by the Washington State Nursing Commission, is primarily completed on campus. Unlike some online CNA classes in Washington state, SCC’s CNA program heavily emphasizes clinical experiences, with two different clinical experience courses you’ll complete over the 16-18 credits of the program. You will also complete two different lab courses, both in person.

For added flexibility and convenience, classes start multiple times per year. To be admitted to this program, you’ll need to show completion of math and English prerequisites and pass a criminal background check to access healthcare facilities for your clinical experiences.

Wenatchee Valley College

Logo for Wenatchee Valley College featuring a stylized blue feather design on the left and the text "WENATCHEE VALLEY COLLEGE" in black letters to the right.

Among in-person and online CNA classes in Washington state, the CNA certificate program at Wenatchee Valley College is one of the quickest. You can earn your CNA certificate in just 10 credits, making this an ideal program for those looking to become certified and start working as a CNA as quickly as possible. Unlike some programs, the CNA certificate program at Wenatchee Valley relies primarily on lab courses on campus, as opposed to clinical experiences in a healthcare setting. For lab courses, you will be wearing scrubs, provided as part of the program.

Once enrolled, you will be trained in CPR and first aid as a part of your curriculum. You will need to have records of your immunizations, as certain vaccines are required for health and safety reasons.

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How to Become a CNA in Washington State Online

Becoming a CNA in Washington state takes more than just enrolling in classes. You’ll need to have a plan to complete your CNA education, become certified, and start your career. Here are the steps you’ll follow to do so.

Step 1: Meet Basic Background Requirements

Every CNA program has different entry requirements and disqualifying factors, so be sure to check with your school about what you’ll need. Many, although not all, CNA programs will require a high school diploma or a GED. You will likely need to pass a basic criminal background check, particularly if your program includes clinical work in a healthcare setting, complete a basic physical exam, and/or provide vaccination records.

Step 2: Graduate from an Approved CNA Program

Once you’ve enrolled in CNA classes, you’ll be starting both lecture-style and hands-on learning. It’s vital to choose an accredited program to make sure your education is legitimate. While CNA certificate programs typically last one academic term, details may vary from program to program. Other variations can include the ratio of traditional lectures to labs and clinical experience courses held at a nearby healthcare facility.

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

Once you’ve completed your in-person or online CNA classes in Washington state, you should be prepared to take your National Nurse Aide Assessment Program competency examination. Offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the exam consists of written and oral tests, with the oral portion offered in both English and Spanish. You will need to pass this exam to become certified as a CNA.

Step 4: Start Working as a CNA

Graduates of online CNA classes in Washington State who have attained a CNA license can start working as CNAs. While it’s common for CNAs to work in hospitals helping patients with daily life activities like feeding, bathing, and mobility, there are other settings you may choose. For instance, many CNAs work in assisted living facilities or nursing homes.

Step 5: Renew Your CNA License Periodically

Getting your CNA license isn’t the end of your professional journey. If you plan to work as a CNA in Washington state, you will need to renew your license every year, on or before your birthday, to remain certified to work as a nursing assistant. In Washington state, CNAs do not have any continuing education requirements for license renewal, and you can renew your license online or by mail.

Salary and Career Prospects for CNAs in Washington

You may be wondering about salary and job prospects for CNAs and whether you’ll be able to support yourself in your chosen career. This is a valid concern, especially as you’ll likely be investing a significant amount of time and money into your CNA education. Even if you plan to further your healthcare education after working as a CNA, it’s still important to know how the job market looks for CNAs, and what kind of salary you can expect to earn.

As you can see below, CNAs in Washington state earn an above-average salary compared to the US as a whole. This is particularly true for those working in the greater Seattle and Tacoma area, which is home to the highest-paid CNAs in the state, and where the average CNA earns an annual salary of $44,390 — according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The job opportunities for Washington state CNAs are also growing rapidly, with higher projected job openings over the next decade at 13.6% than the US as a whole.

Location10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
US$28,030$35,760$45,940
Washington$35,620$40,760$50,170
Bellingham, WA$35,850$38,320$45,560
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA$34,040$39,170$46,320
Kennewick-Richland, WA$31,860$36,840$45,270
Longview, WA$36,340$38,000$45,710
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA$37,450$38,630$46,100
Olympia-Tumwater, WA$34,850$41,650$49,770
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA$37,750$44,390$53,040
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA$32,500$37,570$45,940
Walla Walla, WA$35,260$38,090$45,450
Wenatchee, WA$31,390$36,670$46,240
Yakima, WA$33,800$38,010$44,160

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

AreaNew Jobs (2020-2030)Growth RateAvg. Annual Openings
United States115,3008.3%187,000
Washington4,86013.6%5,520

Source: Projections Central

Answering Your Questions About Online CNA Classes in Washington State

Even if you’ve decided you’re ready to apply for Washington state CNA programs, it’s normal to have a few questions. We’ve assembled some of the most common questions for students considering CNA classes to help you in your research.

Are there 4-week online CNA programs in Washington?

The length of CNA programs in Washington state can vary, but 4-week programs are not unusual. For instance, the CNA program at Seattle Central College can be completed in as little as four weeks, with some online and some in-person elements.

Can you take the CNA test without classes in Washington state?

While you don’t necessarily have to have graduated from online CNA classes in Washington state to take your CNA exam, you will need some CNA education. According to the Washington State Board of Nursing, other training options can include partially completing nursing school, taking classes out of state, or being trained by the military.

How long is CNA training in Washington state?

The length of time your CNA training takes can vary. Depending on your program and whether or not they offer flexible classes, your training could take anywhere from roughly a month to an academic semester or more. In many cases, your own needs will determine program length.

How much does the CNA exam cost in Washington state?

To take your CNA exam in Washington state, you will need to pay two different one-time exam fees. You’ll pay $100 for the written portion of the exam, and $55 for the oral portion, for a total exam cost of $155.

What’s the fastest way you can become a CNA?

Given that the fastest CNA programs available in Washington state will take roughly 4 weeks to complete, you will need at least four weeks to become a CNA. Following your classes, you will need to pass your CNA exam, but in Washington state, this can typically be completed immediately after graduating.

What are the requirements for CNA certification in Washington state?

To become a CNA in Washington state, you will need to pass both education and exam requirements to earn your license and become certified. Educational requirements can vary, although approved CNA classes will generally prepare you for your exam.