Best Online CNA Programs 2021

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In the coming years, the need for qualified, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) should rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for these professionals to grow 8% between 2019-2029, while all other occupations are projected to grow an average of 4%. 

Competitive CNA programs admit a limited number of students annually, so possessing a strong GPA benefits applicants. During their studies, CNA students learn how to assist nurses and provide optimal bedside care for patients. This degree prepares students to earn entry-level jobs in the nursing field. 

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Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Finding the best CNA program takes time and research, and this guide can help. Keep reading for answers to frequently asked questions surrounding this degree, a CNA program’s goals, and helpful professional organizations and scholarships. We also rank the top CNA degrees based on factors like graduate retention rates and tuition.

 
 

Top 7 Online CNA Classes

FAQ


  • What is the fastest way to become a CNA?

    Aspiring CNAs who want to enter the workforce quickly should pursue an accelerated state-approved program. Some states require more on-the-job training and education hours than others.


  • How much does a CNA make an hour?

    Nursing assistants and orderlies earn $14.25 per hour, according to the BLS, which equates to a median annual salary of $29,640.


  • How long does it take to become a certified CNA?

    It depends on the state’s requirements. For example, a CNA program in Missouri could take as long as six months to complete. Missouri requires 75 hours of class training and around 100 hours of on-the-job training.


  • How do you get CNA certified?

    To earn CNA certification, individuals must complete formal classroom credits and on-the-job training. Once completed, they must pass the state certification exam.


Best Online CNA Programs 2021



  1. Hutchinson Community College
    Location

    Hutchinson, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Hutchinson Community College is one of the top 2-year institutions in Kansas, particularly for students trying to get into the healthcare field. HutchCC has close ties with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and its health programs produce highly sought-after graduates. Part of the reason HCC is popular is because it offers most its courses online, including its CNA certification course. Students looking for a speedy way to become a certified nurse assistant might be interested in this program. It includes a combination of both nurse and medical assistant certifications, all of which can be completed in just 3 months. After completing the required course to become a CNA, students can begin working as a nurse assistant within the next few days. Any previous nursing assistants that haven't been certified for over a year can also complete this certificate program to renew their certification. Afterwards, they can re-enter the job market.

  2. Pratt Community College
    Location

    Pratt, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of the top workforce development institutions in Kansas,Pratt Community College offers a variety of certifications that can be completed in 2 years or less. Part of PCC's online offerings is an allied health division where students can become certified in a number of medical fields. Students who want to become a certified nurse assistant can do so almost entirely online -- coursework can be done online, but students will have to commute to campus for labs and clinicals. The length of this program varies depending on how quickly students choose to study but can usually be completed in less than 3 months. PCC offers these courses at a flat per-credit hour tuition rate, helping keep students' education affordable. Upon earning their degree, students will be prepared to take and pass the state exam for certification. This program leads to a long-term career in health care facilities like hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

  3. Cochise County Community College
    Location

    Douglas, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Known for its affordable education and high job-placement rate, Cochise College is a well-respected 2-year institution in Arizona. After earning credits at Cochise, students can transfer those credits to any 4-year institution in Arizona, as well as a number of schools across the nation. Students interested in becoming nursing assistants in Arizona can do so entirely online at Cochise. This certificate program takes only 1 semester to compete, and it prepares students to take and pass the required certification to begin their career in Arizona. The main course in the program, a 5-credit nursing assistant course, places emphasis on communication while also covering the required topics needed to become a CNA. Students will also learn CPR and first aid through a required 1-credit course, patient safety and some of the important legal aspects of the occupation.

  4. Ridgewater College
    Location

    Willmar, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Ridgewater College is a leader in professional development. The college's academics are well-respected, and many of its students who choose to transfer can bring most or all of their previously earned credits. While it isn't unique to Ridgewater, the nursing assistant program is one of the more popular programs. Students who complete this program will be eligible to pursue certification for employment. Courses are offered in 5-week formats, letting students begin their studies whenever they are ready. To complete the program, students will need to spend some time in labs. This can be done on either of Ridgewater's campuses (Willmar or Hutchinson) and even in some local high schools throughout the year.

  5. Wallace State Community College
    Location

    Hanceville, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Among the largest community colleges in Alabama, Wallace State Community College serves over 7,000 students every semester, with each studying toward a degree or certificate in preparation for a high-demand and growing career field. One of the fastest programs in the nation for becoming a certified nursing assistant, Wallace Community College's CNA education can be completed in just 25 days. This program has a flat fee that includes all textbooks and examination fees. To help, scholarships are also available. After completing the program, students will be prepared to take and pass the Alabama Nurse Aide Registry examination. To pass the exam, students will be required to complete some of their studies in-person to gain the real-world experience they'll need to become successful CNAs. The outcome of this program is meant to prepare students for a career in Alabama, but it is possible that students may be eligible to take and pass similar exams in other states.

  6. Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
    Location

    Elizabethtown, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students interested in becoming a nursing assistant can enroll in Elizabethtown Community & Technical College's program to earn an Associate in Applied Science for Health Science Technology. Over the course of 2 years, you will work through 60+ credits in core coursework such as General Psychology and Medical Terminology, as well as certificate-specific classes including Nursing Assistant Skills and Medicaid Nursing Aide. Curriculum, which is delivered in both on-campus and online formats, must be completed with a minimum 2.0 GPA. There are a number of academic supports  to assist in your journey. Career Services links learners to networking and career opportunities, while Student Support Services offers tutoring for math, writing and science courses. Additionally, there are a variety of school and state-funded scholarships available to cut down on tuition costs. Upon completion, the Transfer Center helps students to transition into a 4-year program. Applicants will need to submit transcripts and ACT or SAT scores.

  7. North Central Kansas Technical College
    Location

    Beloit, KS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    North Central Kansas Technical College is host to a hybrid option for becoming a Certified Nursing Aide. The program, which combines online and on-campus coursework, calls for 45 hours of theory and 45 hours of clinical experience. Classes are based on the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Service Certified Nurse Aide Curriculum. Following the completion of 90 hours with a grade B or higher, you will be equipped to pass the State CNA Certification Test. Many graduates enter into positions at hospitals, private practices and nursing homes. Others are prepared to continue on toward a bachelor's degree in health studies or another medical-related field. You will access curriculum through the web platform Blackboard Learn and there is technical assistance available at any time of day. Students can also utilize the library, free tutoring services and career guidance. There are a number of school and locally funded scholarships to help cut down on tuition costs.

What Are the Goals of a CNA Degree?

A CNA degree prepares students to take a state certification exam. The curriculum focuses on how to complete tasks like bathing, repositioning, and feeding patients. Courses also teach students how to actively listen to patients and record details about their care for other nurses and doctors to read.

Upon graduation, CNAs know how to properly assist nurses with supply stocking, equipment cleaning, and linen changing. To achieve these educational goals, learners complete clinical hours and traditional coursework. Graduates often find jobs at hospitals, nursing homes, acute care facilities, and doctors’ offices.

Why Get a CNA Degree?



Although earning a CNA degree takes money and time, the degree can benefit professionals in several ways. In this section, we discuss the pros of enrolling in a CNA program.

Online CNA Programs Cost Less
Students pursuing this degree online usually receive reduced tuition and avoid paying campus maintenance and student activity fees. They also do not incur costs for room and board or commuting to campus.
Higher Earning Potential
According to the BLS, individuals with college degrees and certificates earn more than individuals with a high school diploma. View the Learn More, Earn More chart for details.
Positive Job Growth Outlook
The BLS projects the need for nursing assistants and orderlies to grow 8% between 2019-2029, which the organization considers much faster than average.
Virtual Learners Experience Flexibility
Some states allow learners to gain on-the-job training hours during their studies. Online programs usually do not interfere with work schedules.
Enhance Others’ Lives
Nursing assistants help individuals recover their health. They help them meet basic needs and stay comfortable during hospital stays or doctor visits.

What Are the Requirements for a CNA Degree?

To qualify for a CNA program, applicants must submit relevant test scores and transcripts. Competitive programs may also require an essay or interview. Once a student earns enrollment, they complete coursework that prepares them for licensure. Most CNA programs include lectures, traditional tests, and clinical rotations.

Since certification requirements for CNAs vary by school, learners should attend a school in the state in which they want to practice. However, online programs make it possible to attend a school in any state. Most states require CNAs to pursue on-the-job training hours and pass a competency exam.

Online Guide to Accredited Colleges and Universities

Professional Organizations for CNA Students



Current CNA students can get a head start on networking with successful professionals by joining an organization. These groups offer conferences, scholarly journals, newsletters, and webinars for student members for a small fee. See below for three professional organizations for CNA program enrollees.

  • National Association of Health Care Assistants NAHCA unites CNAs across the United States for networking and education opportunities. This group provides 12 hours of federally required education and transcripts, a library of 750 informative videos, an electronic newsletter, and text alerts on essential industry announcements. Group membership costs $30 per year.
  • National Network of Career Nursing Assistants This group connects nursing assistants nationwide through events. The organization also offers professional awards to noteworthy members and discounts on educational materials and workshops. To showcase nursing assistants' hard work, the group facilitates National Nursing Assistants Week each year.
  • National Student Nurses' Association Current nursing students can get involved with this professional group. Fees to join differ by state, and members receive a scholarship to Imprint Magazine and discounts on services like professional liability insurance. This professional organization also maintains a career center and hosts an annual convention.

Scholarships for CNA Students



Applying for scholarships can help CNA students fund their education. Nonprofits, foundations, and corporations all provide financial assistance to learners. Most scholarship applications require official transcripts, short essays, and recommendation letters. See below for two scholarships for students majoring in a healthcare-related topic.

  • Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: The Daughters of the American Revolution administers this scholarship for nursing students with financial need. Applicants must submit their nursing program acceptance letter or a transcript stating their admission. The organization selects two winners annually. Current students and future students admitted to an accredited school can apply.
    Amount: $2,500

    Apply

  • The Foundation of the National Student Nurses' Association, Inc. Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Nursing students can apply for multiple scholarships through this foundation. A scholarship committee selects recipients based on factors like financial need, community involvement, and academic merit. These awards assist undergraduate nursing students only.
    Amount: $1,000-$7,500

    Apply

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