If you are looking to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA), but cannot commit to a full time or day program, pursuing a CNA certification online may be a good alternative. More and more programs are offering online CNA classes making it both flexible and affordable to become a CNA and perform meaningful work in a growing field. While other degrees offer an abundance of online courses, CNA classes online tend to be a bit harder to find due to the hands-on nature of the clinical section of becoming a CNA. Our school selector tool often has online CNA programs available. Give it a try!
Keep in mind that a verified CNA program must offer a hands-on clinical training component in addition to an online classroom option. Be aware, there is a lot of confusing information about online courses across the web, and some CNA online classes may not complete all of the requirements necessary to prepare students for their certification. Be sure to do your due diligence before signing up for any CNA course to make sure they meet your state’s requirements to work as a certified nursing assistant.
Where Can I Find High-Quality Online CNA Programs?
Many credible online CNA classes are offered by community colleges. Keep in mind that due to the nature of the work of a CNA, gaining training in a hands-on clinical setting is still critical and these programs require you to complete training in a clinical setting to become a licensed CNA in your respective state. CNA online training is offered as a hybrid option with online courses and in-person clinical training.
Community colleges often offer the best online classes for CNAs, with accreditation levels that can be trusted and teaching requirements that meet that state’s respective health and nursing standards. Further, these nursing assistant programs prepare students not only to pass the CNA test, but also for real world situations that you will experience in a nursing home or healthcare setting.
Hybrid CNA training examples include:
- CNA Technical Center
- Howard Community College
- Community College of Aurora
- Johnson Community College
- College of Western Idaho
Many community colleges across the country offer CNA and nurse aide training programs, so a quick Google search or a phone call to your local community college should provide you with an answer to whether you can work toward your CNA online. You can also use our state by state guide to find local providers who may also offer online CNA class near you.
What are the Requirements for Becoming a CNA?
Nearly every CNA program online or otherwise will require the applicant has a high school diploma or a GED. They’ll also expect the applicant to pass a physical exam and a tuberculosis test. On top of that, applicants will need to pass a criminal background check. This can vary from state to state, so whether you’re pursuing your CNA or looking to enter another nursing program you’ll want to verify their requirements beforehand.
What To Expect From CNA Programs Online
One of the key differences with CNA course work as opposed to many other certifications or degrees is that it is often gauged by clock hours as opposed to credits or credit hours. You can see state requirements for hours here. Students are expected to log a certain number of hours, particularly when it comes to hands-on training, to pass their online CNA classes. Beyond that, getting a CNA certification online isn’t terribly dissimilar to a standard CNA program. Classes cover typical items that CNAs are expected to know once they’re on the job. This can include skills such as:
- Taking vital signs
- Medical and surgical asepsis
- Infection control
- Linen care
- Patient care and personal care
- Resident safety
- Patient cultural and spiritual needs
For a full list of skills, please check out our CNA training materials section.
Some healthcare businesses that provide training may also offer patient-specific training for their business. So, for example, if you’ll be working at a nursing home there may be additional focus on caring for elderly patients. Once you’ve completed your online CNA training, you’ll need to pass the CNA certification exam to become a licensed certified nursing assistant. Your online courses and your in-person training should prepare you for the exam, but there are also countless resources available online to assist you in your preparations. This site has a huge array of CNA practice tests to help you prepare for the big day. Check out our full menu of CNA practice tests.
If you’re more interested in building a strategy to pass the CNA exam, we’ve got you covered there as well, just check out our CNA exam preparation guide to give you a game plan for gaining your CNA certification.
How Long are CNA Programs Online?
Most online CNA certification programs last anywhere from four to twelve weeks, with most of them being at least six. There are a number of factors that can impact the length of a program, whether or not it’s a full or part time program, while some online CNA classes allow for some amount of self-pacing. In general, a CNA certification can be attained much quicker than many other job certifications, meaning it can be a fast track to employment opportunities.
How Much Does a CNA Program Cost?
There are three main costs you will incur to become a CNA, the cost of the coursework, the cost of a criminal background check, and the cost of the exam itself. The cost of CNA training can vary, but the average is usually around $1,500. Part of this expense is a criminal background check that usually costs less than $50, and the fee for the examination which is usually in the neighborhood of $100. There are also some hidden fees that can sneak up on you as you pursue your CNA. These include:
- Supplies (scrubs, stethoscopes, books, etc.)
- Transportation (gas, bus fare, etc.)
- Medical exam
- Miscellaneous fees (some programs may include lab fees or other small fees outside of tuition)
Where Can I Work Once I’ve Gotten My CNA Certification Online?
The main reason most people seek out their CNA certification is to find a good job. While most people pursuing their license realize that having their CNA is a great way to land employment at nursing homes, long-term care facilities and medical centers, there are many other opportunities as well, including opportunities to work as a CNA specialist, or programs that offer the opportunity to go from a CNA to a registered nurse (RN) or as a licensed practicing nurse (LPN). What may seem like a simple step to take some online courses as a CNA can lead to numerous opportunities for higher pay and greater responsibilities in the healthcare field.
Now is a great time to explore a future career as a CNA and break into the healthcare industry. The online programs listed above are just a few examples of the many options, so be sure to continue researching until you find the online CNA classes that best suit your individual needs. In the meantime, you may want to try one of our free CNA practice tests to see how much you already know about the position.