Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are an integral part of the healthcare system. CNAs work in nursing care facilities, doctors' offices, and hospitals under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN). CNAs help patients bathe, dress, and eat. They also monitor vital signs and record health information.
The guidelines for CNA education are regulated by the individual states. The best online CNA programs are affordable, flexible, and offer support to find supervised clinical hours. Becoming a CNA offers the ability to earn money while advancing your education, if you choose to do so. Explore some of the best online CNA programs to help you reach your goals.
Everything You Need to Know About Online CNA Classes
During your online CNA coursework, you learn the skills needed to work as a certified nursing assistant. Coursework includes taking and recording vital signs and patient care procedures. You also learn about infection control, effective communication and interpersonal skills, caring for the cognitively impaired, and the essentials of patient privacy and HIPAA laws.
In order to become a CNA, you must meet your state's requirement for a certificate or a diploma in a CNA program. Most programs prepare you to take the required state nursing assistant certification where you live.
While many online CNA classes offer all coursework online, there is still an in-person requirement for labs and clinicals. In-person requirements can be completed at approved healthcare facilities. Students can consult with their program coordinators to see if assistance may be provided to find a location for their labs and clinicals.
- Prerequisites: High school or GED diploma, state-regulated minimum age, good physical health, criminal background check, and drug screening.
- Program Length: Three to six months
- Typical Credits OR Hours Required: Coursework and clinical hours vary by state. For example, Missouri requires 75 hours of classwork and 100 hours of supervised clinical experience, while Ohio has a State Tested Nurse Assistant (STNA) position that requires 59 hours of classwork and 16 hours of clinical experience.
- Program Cost: Estimated program cost ranges $1,100-$1,300.
Explore Featured Online Nursing Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Attending a State-Approved Online CNA Class
Each state regulates CNA certification. Therefore, the online CNA classes you attend must be approved by your state to ensure that you are eligible for state certification and employment. Check with your state regulatory agency overseeing CNA programs and certification. In many states, the Department of Health or the State Board of Nursing handles CNA certification.
Online CNA Program Curriculum
CNA students participate in coursework, in-person simulation labs, and supervised clinical hours. In some cases, an online CNA class may require only simulation lab time or just supervised clinical hours. Approved schools provide you with the necessary education to take the state certification examination.
Online curriculum for a CNA includes content on handwashing; measuring bodily fluids; providing foot, mouth, and skin care; how to do vital signs; and how to move a patient using a transfer belt.
On-Site Simulation Lab
Many programs have on-site simulation laboratories where CNA students can practice the necessary skills needed for this career. An on-site simulation lab reduces the need to find clinical placements while offering the opportunity to practice skills without a live patient.
Supervised Clinical Hours
Although a simulation lab helps CNA students overcome the initial trepidation of performing new skills on a live patient, the next step is providing patient care. Supervised clinical hours increase a CNA student's experience and self-confidence in the field.
Best Online CNA Classes and Programs
Read About Our Methodology Here
#1 The Best Online CNA Classes
Hazard Community and Technical College
- Hazard, KY
- 2 years
- Online + Campus
Hazard Community and Technical College is a leader in online learning programs. In a Medicaid nurse aide certificate program, distance learners complete coursework in a flexible learning environment. Students explore core nursing topics and get specialized training.
Hazard Community and Technical College Facts:
Average Price After Aid: $4,726
Percentage of Learners Awarded Financial Aid: 99%
Students Awarded Loans: 15%
Allows Transfer Credits: No
Distance learners can enroll in the institution's affordable bachelor's programs and certificate programs, regardless of geographic location. Learners can access the institution's student support services online and in person. Peer and professional tutoring help learners excel academically. The school has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Percent Online Enrollment
Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Benefits of Completing an Online CNA Class
Completing an online CNA class lets you enter the healthcare field without a college degree. There are many benefits to working as a CNA and taking classes online.
Online CNA programs are flexible, often allowing you to take classes at your own pace.
Online classes are typically less expensive than in-person options and allow you to attend a school that may not be geographically close.
Compared to other healthcare careers, becoming a certified nursing assistant is affordable. Many healthcare institutions offer tuition assistance for employees who want to advance their education. By taking advantage of this benefit, you can advance your career at a lower cost.
CNAs can specialize their education and receive a certification in that specialization. Areas in which you can specialize include psychiatry, home care, pediatrics, and geriatrics.
As a CNA, you can accept travel contract positions based on need throughout the country. This offers a creative way of developing work-life balance while giving you the opportunity to explore new places.
According to Payscale, CNAs make an average hourly wage of $18.99 per hour, or $41,750 annually.
How to Become a CNA
In order to become a CNA, you need a school or GED diploma to enroll in a state-approved CNA program. Once you have completed the program, you must pass your state's CNA certification exam.
You can get more information about requirements by speaking with the state nursing board. Expect test questions to cover basic nursing skills and responsibilities, medical abbreviations, patient safety, infection control techniques, and the importance of body mechanics.
Once you are prepared to take the exam, you must apply for certification from your state nursing board. Certifications have an expiration date, which varies by state. Check with your state nursing board to determine how long the certification is viable and the documentation needed to recertify.
Frequently Asked Questions About Online CNA Classes
How do I find a reputable online CNA class that is accredited and recognized by the state?
Begin by using our list of the best online CNA classes available. Contact your state board of nursing for a list of state-approved programs and confirm the program accreditation on their website or by calling the school.
Are there in-person requirements for online CNA classes?
All programs require in-person attendance at simulation labs or through supervised clinical hours in a hospital or nursing facility. You must have hands-on experience to take the certification examination and for employment.
What types of costs and fees can I expect to pay for an online CNA class?
Most online CNA classes cost between $1,100 and $1,350. However, there are also fees for program supplies, medical examinations, criminal background checks, and to take the certification examination. Additional costs could include transportation and childcare.
What are the technical requirements for online CNA classes?
The technical requirements vary depending on the program and the online interface used to take classes. The program you choose will detail specific requirements. Generally, you need a computer with reliable internet access and the ability to download and install the required software.
Page last reviewed on October 30, 2023