Non-Traditional Pathways to Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant


If you’re curious about becoming a certified nursing assistant, than you’re likely well-aware of the amount of training that’s required. While the level of education needed to become a certified nursing assistant is substantially smaller than what’s needed to become a registered nurse, there are still strict requirements set forth by your state board of nursing. While the most traditional way of obtaining a CNA education is through a brick-and-mortar classroom setting, there are many other options available to you – if you know where to look.

Online CNA Training Programs
Perhaps one of the most popular non-traditional route to becoming a certified nursing assistant is through online training programs. While there are many medical professions that frown upon online training, the majority of states throughout America allow aspiring CNAs to satisfy the training requirements via online portals.

However, there are several serious considerations you must remember. The first is to ensure the online training program is accredited by your state board of nursing. Failure to do so results in your ineligibility to sit for the certification examination. Secondly, you must ensure the online training programs comes with a hands-on clinical practice portion. However, if you choose an accredited institution, you won’t have to worry about this as it will automatically be included within the program. The options for CNA classes online are further explained here.

Hospital CNA Training Programs
Do you wish to work in a hospital once you graduate from your CNA training program? Unfortunately, this is one of the most difficult employers to secure due to the demand versus open positions. While this may not be an option for you, many hospitals throughout the United States offer in-house CNA training programs. Not only will you learn where you wish to work, but the clinical portion of the program is likely within this institution. In many cases, if you demonstrate an above-average skill level, the hospital will likely hire you immediately upon certification.

Red Cross CNA Training Program
While your geographical location can limit your options when it comes to obtaining a non-traditional CNA training program, one of the greatest and most respected non-traditional routes is through the American Red Cross. While this isn’t available in all areas, if it is, you’ll have access to some of the most respected and current CNA training. The best part? The majority of these programs are free of charge, which is an excellent benefit for those who wish to change careers but don’t have access to funds for a traditional education. Upon graduating this CNA training program, you’ll have met the classroom and clinical practicum requirements set forth by your state board of nursing. Therefore, you’ll qualify to sit for the CNA certification examination.


How Much Does It Cost to Be a Certified Nursing Assistant?


There are many reasons why the idea of becoming a certified nursing assistant is an attraction notion for millions of people throughout the country. While the concept of working closely with patients to truly make a difference in their recovery process is one to excite many, the majority of aspiring CNAs are attracted to the cost of education. Unlike the majority of other medical professions, such as registered nurses, the cost of a certified nursing assistant training program is much more affordable. Along with this, the duration of training is significantly shorter. Ultimately, this means you can experience a return on your education investment much faster, which is ideal for many.

It’s important to note there are many variables that go into the overall cost of a certified nursing assistant training program. We’ll discuss several of these below; however, there are other resources to consider. One important element to always consider regardless of the cost of the program. The entire purpose of a CNA training program is to prepare you for not only a career, but to qualify for the state certification examination. Therefore, before you choose a training program based on cost, make sure to verify its accreditation with your state board of nursing.

The Average Cost of a CNA Training Program

There are two primary variables that determine the overall cost of certified nursing assistant training program. These boil down into the level of education you desire. While your state regulates the minimum number of training hours you must successful accomplish in order to qualify for examination, this does not mean all education programs cap their learning based upon these minimums.

The two most popular type of CNA training program levels include:

Diploma/Certificate: This level of education generally anywhere from four to 12 weeks. They are by far the most affordable. The average cost of this program can vary from around $1,000 to over $8,000 depending on the institution. Upon successfully completing this type of training program, you’ll be rewarded with a diploma or a certificate of completion. Typically, these programs only provide the minimum training hours to qualify for state examination.

Associate’s Degree: Upon graduating this level of training, you’re provided with an accredited Associate of Science degree. Generally, those who wish to move forward with their career and eventually earn their bachelor’s degree to become a registered nurse will choose this educational pathway. This is, by far, the most expensive option. An associate degree CNA program can cost anywhere from $10,000 to over $17,000.