Certified Nursing Assistants, also known as CNAs, are a valuable position at healthcare facilities like hospitals and nursing homes. They work closely with licensed practical nurses and registered nurses. Although they work closely together, CNAs have different functions such as bathing and dressing patients and assisting nurses and other medical staff. Working as a CNA can be very rewarding. Not only will you assist medical staff with important tasks, but you will also care for people when they are most vulnerable. If this position sounds interesting. you may want to look into your available CNA classes near you. If you are unable to find a program locally, you may want to explore the available CNA classes online.
What’s the difference between an online CNA program and standard CNA courses?
Like many educational programs, these days CNAs also have opportunities to take online courses. CNA classes online is an alternative to local, in-person classroom learning. Some providers may offer quick 4 week online CNA programs while others may take up to 12 weeks. These online or hybrid programs are especially beneficial for those who cannot commit to a full-time or a day-time program due to other obligations such as family, or another job. Although there is flexibility with online programs, it is also important to remember that in-person clinical experience is still required as part of online programs. There’s no such thing as a 100% online CNA program. CNA certification typically requires at least 75 hours of clinical learning that needs to be approved by the state and well over 100 hours in some states.
Pros of an online CNA course
- Flexibility. Courses can fit into your schedule, especially helpful for those who may be working another job or have obligations during normal school hours.
- Geography is less of an issue. While you’ll still need to travel for in-person demonstrations, if you’re not located near a program facility or school, online courses will lessen your need to travel back and forth.
Cons of taking CNA programs online
- Lack of classroom participation. Although this may be a relief for some, choosing not to participate in discussions or during lectures is really only detrimental to the person who is supposed to be learning. Reminders to stay engaged while online and help enhance an online experience to make it more comparable to an in-person classroom.
- Time management can be a problem. Most in-person CNA programs will likely have more structured schedules with very specific class times, and more stringent deadlines. Online CNA programs will likely be more relaxed, with more flexible deadlines, and opportunities to view lectures at different times. While this is beneficial for anyone who is busy, it is important to budget personal time to ensure that work does not pile up and become overwhelming.
- In-person CNA programs will likely require in-person clinical experiences, as they are more hands-on. Do not wait to get these experiences while you are pursuing your CNA certification online. It’s important that your experiences are fresh and your skills are sharp. If you don’t feel like the mandatory clinical experiences are enough, make a commitment to volunteer in a CNA setting such as a hospital to ensure your skills stay sharp.
What are the typical admission requirements for taking a CNA course online?
CNA programs typically require students to have a high school diploma or GED, and in some states you may be able to attend a program at 16 or 17 while still taking high school courses. If the online courses are being offered at a community college or a technical school you’ll likely need to supply high school transcripts along with standardized test scores such as the SAT or ACT. Most classes will center around topics about anatomy and physiology, nutrition, infection control, patient care, ethics, patient relations, and communications.
What else goes into becoming a licensed CNA?
There are a number of steps required for becoming a licensed CNA in your state. To do so, you must:
- Apply and be accepted to an accredited CNA program (a CNA online course or an in-person program)
- Complete your state’s minimum required hours of clinical studies
- Pass both the written and skills portion of the CNA exam
- Get listed in your state’s CNA registry
What about places offering CNA online classes for free?
If you see an advertisement for free CNA classes online it’s right to be skeptical. It’s not unusual for a business that employs CNAs, like a nursing home, to offer to cover your certification costs if you agree to work at their facility once you’ve completed your certification. “Free” online courses might incur other costs or may not be accredited by your state, so contact your state’s nurse registry if you are unsure if someone offering a free nursing assistant certification online is legitimate.
How much do CNAs get paid?
If you’re considering a CNA school online you’re likely interested in knowing how much you’ll get paid once completing your program and earning your license. It’s important to know that the salary range for a CNA can vary dramatically depending on a number of factors including your location and the type of facility where you work. For example, you’ll make more in Alaska than you will in Louisiana and you’ll make more working at a government medical facility than you will at a nursing home. All that said, the average salary for a CNA in 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics was $30,830 or $14.82 per hour.
Additional career paths for CNAs
While becoming a CNA is a fulfilling job that many people make a career of, there are plenty of options for advancement in the healthcare industry. Many CNAs will take further courses to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN). These are the positions that a CNA reports to, so it’s a logical next step in their career. You can learn more by reading our blog post about how to go from a CNA to an RN or LPN.
If you’re considering earning your CNA license online but want to know more we have resources to help. The following links will help answer common questions about the job.