Certified Nursing Assistant Schools

When you’re considering a career in nursing, there’s no shortage of options. CNA stands for certified nursing assistant, and this position is a good entry-level job for those looking to get into the healthcare field.

Education & Training

A great way to get started is to take an online training course.

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How Long Does it Take?

How long it takes to become a CNA depends on your state and the school or program you choose to study at. The average time is about 6-12 months.

Once you pass the state’s CNA certification exam and receive your license, you can immediately begin working as a certified nursing assistant.

What Do You Study?

You’ll need to combine hands-on and classroom training to become a CNA. The exact courses and hours vary by state and program, but here are some of the things you may be required to study:

  • CPR/AED: This is a course on how to respond in an emergency situation, such as when someone has a heart attack or stops breathing. You learn how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Infection control: This course teaches you how to prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B by following proper hygiene practices.
  • Personal safety: This course teaches you how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations, such as being alone with a patient or working with someone with a history of violence or drug use.
  • Basic nursing skills: This includes lessons in taking vital signs, changing dressings, and administering medications by mouth or through an IV line into a vein (IV therapy). You also learn about wound care, feeding tubes, and catheterization (inserting catheters into the bladder).

How Much Does it Cost?

The cost of training for a CNA is usually less than $1,500. However, the exact amount will depend on your state, the program you choose, and whether or not you have to buy books or other supplies.

If you choose to take classes at a community college or technical school, expect to pay $500 to $600 for tuition and fees. You may also be required to purchase textbooks, which can cost between $100 and $200.

The cost could be even lower if you decide to take your training online. You’ll still need to pay for your certification exam fee, which ranges from $50 to $150, depending on your state.

Students looking to save on training costs should consider taking advantage of Federal Student Aid. If you qualify for this assistance program, you can receive up to 75% off your tuition costs through government funding or grants.

Educational Requirements

If you want to become a certified nurse assistant, you will need to complete a CNA training program and take an exam. Many schools offer this kind of training, which can be done on-site or online.

However, before you enroll in an accredited school, there are some prerequisites that you need to fulfill first.

These include:

  • You’ll need to have at least a high school diploma or GED
  • You must be 18 years old. However, a few states allow 16-17-year-olds with parental consent

Some states require that you pass a criminal background check before you can begin training, while others require CPR certification. You must research your state’s requirements before enrolling in any training school or program.

Salary

The average annual salary for a CNA was $35,740 as of May 2022, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Below are average salaries and hourly wages for each state.

State Hourly Annually
Alabama $15.04 $31,280.00
Alaska $22.63 $47,080.00
Arizona $19.69 $40,950.00
Arkansas $15.41 $32,050.00
California $22.63 $47,070.00
Colorado $20.95 $43,580.00
Connecticut $20.70 $43,050.00
Delaware $18.57 $38,620.00
District of Columbia $23.01 $47,860.00
Florida $17.67 $36,750.00
Georgia $16.77 $34,890.00
Guam $15.92 $33,100.00
Hawaii $21.63 $44,990.00
Idaho $17.92 $37,270.00
Illinois $19.85 $41,300.00
Indiana $18.10 $37,660.00
Iowa $18.45 $38,380.00
Kansas $17.32 $36,020.00
Kentucky $17.30 $35,980.00
Louisiana $14.63 $30,420.00
Maine $20.65 $42,960.00
Maryland $19.60 $40,770.00
Massachusetts $21.51 $44,750.00
Michigan $18.72 $38,930.00
Minnesota $20.65 $42,960.00
Mississippi $14.26 $29,660.00
Missouri $17.48 $36,350.00
Montana $19.61 $40,800.00
Nebraska $18.49 $38,470.00
Nevada $20.87 $43,420.00
New Hampshire $21.68 $45,090.00
New Jersey $20.65 $42,960.00
New Mexico $17.80 $37,030.00
New York $22.13 $46,020.00
North Carolina $16.99 $35,340.00
North Dakota $19.72 $41,020.00
Ohio $18.54 $38,570.00
Oklahoma $15.91 $33,090.00
Oregon $22.58 $46,970.00
Pennsylvania $19.12 $39,780.00
Puerto Rico $13.47 $28,020.00
Rhode Island $20.86 $43,390.00
South Carolina $16.63 $34,590.00
South Dakota $17.48 $36,360.00
Tennessee $16.75 $34,850.00
Texas $17.01 $35,370.00
Utah $18.09 $37,630.00
Vermont $19.98 $41,560.00
Virgin Islands $19.36 $40,270.00
Virginia $18.00 $37,440.00
Washington $22.32 $46,430.00
West Virginia $16.99 $35,340.00
Wisconsin $19.52 $40,600.00
Wyoming $18.75 $39,010.00

Occupation:Nursing Assistants (SOC Code311131)
source: data.bls.gov

Licensing & Certification Exams

The first step to becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is to complete a state-approved training program. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) oversees licensing and certification exams for Nursing Assistants.

To obtain a license or certification, you must complete an accredited training program before taking your exam. You can find accredited programs through the NCSBN and Credentia websites.

Renewals

CNA certification is valid for two years and can be renewed if the CNA has remained employed. However, the number of hours required to remain eligible will vary from state to state.

If the CNA’s certification has expired for less than 2 years, some states allow renewal by taking a competency exam.

Career Overview

What Is a CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a person who provides basic nursing care under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN). CNAs are also called nursing aides, patient care technicians, or healthcare aid.

Most states require CNAs to pass a state competency exam after completing their training. The CNA training program will prepare you for this exam and provide the skills needed to work in various healthcare settings.

What Do CNAs Do?

  • Work under the direct supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN)
  • Provide basic bedside care for patients
  • Feed patients
  • Bath patients
  • Take vital signs
  • Monitor vitals throughout the day
  • Change bandages and dressings as needed
  • Help with physical therapy exercises
  • Moving patients from bed to chair or other locations
  • Assisting with personal hygiene tasks

Places You Can Work as a CNA

You can find the following kinds of jobs in your local area:

  • Hospitals: Nursing assistants / CNAs work in hospitals, including emergency rooms and intensive care units. They often help with direct patient care and provide support for doctors and nurses.
  • Veterans Administration Hospitals and Clinics: The Veterans Administration provides veterans with medical treatment and rehabilitative services at hospitals and clinics around the country.
  • Nursing homes: Nursing homes provide long-term care for people with chronic illnesses. You could work in a skilled nursing facility or a rehabilitation center. In some cases, you might need to have a specialized certification to work in these facilities.
  • Assisted living facility: Assists with daily activities such as bathing and dressing to seniors who live independently but need some help with everyday tasks.
  • Private residences: Private-duty jobs are similar to nursing home jobs but take place in the client’s home instead of a facility.

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that by 2030, nursing jobs will grow by 8 percent, which is much faster than the average growth rate for other occupations.

The rapid growth in demand for nursing care is fueled by a number of factors, including an aging population, increasing levels of chronic conditions, and technological advances that prolong life for many people with disabilities and serious illnesses. Nursing assistants will be needed to provide health care services to this growing population.

In addition, as more people become insured under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many will seek medical treatment from licensed professionals.

If you want to pursue a career in healthcare while earning some extra cash on the side by working full-time or part-time as a CNA, the time for learning is now. So, get out there and get trained ASAP. You won’t regret it.

According to the American Journal of Medical Quality, the United States is experiencing a shortage of nurses. These professionals are particularly in demand throughout the Southern and Western states. This is good news for students, as those interested in nursing careers shouldn’t have much difficulty finding work.

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