A certified nursing assistant is an in-demand healthcare position across the country, with steady growth projected over the next decade. But what is a CNA? A CNA works under a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) to provide care to patients. This profession is an excellent starting point for a career in healthcare and also offers opportunities for advancement.
Becoming a CNA can open up many career opportunities for you and could begin you down an increasingly lucrative career path in the healthcare industry. First, however, you’ll need to pass the CNA exam and earn your certification. In order to do either, you’ll need to enroll in a state approved CNA training program near you or in a hybrid online program. We’ll give you the lowdown on how you can not only find accredited CNA classes but how you can find free CNA programs near you!
To help you find a program, we’ve assembled a comprehensive list of tuition-based and free CNA classes around the country to help you find CNA training near you. If you’re a CNA training provider and would like to be included in one of our state pages, please contact us with your details and we’ll get your location listed.
CNA Training Classes by State
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington DC
- West Virginia
Frequently Asked Questions
We often get questions about CNA training. Below are some of the most often asked questions and some explanations to help make sense of what it takes to become a CNA.
One of the biggest reasons people become CNAs is because certification can be obtained in as little as a month and the cost is relatively low. In some cases, you can even find free CNA training programs near you. While every CNA training provider may have some variation in their programs, and states may have slightly different requirements, you’ll generally find that most CNA classes last from four to twelve weeks. On the way to your CNA certification, you’ll have the following milestones to complete:
- 4 to 12 weeks of classroom and clinical training
- CNA written test
- CNA skills test
Upon passing both portions of the CNA certification exam, you’ll just need to jump to finish up some paperwork to gain licensure with your states CNA registry and you’ll be ready to begin your job search, followed by the interview and hiring process and then you can start earning paychecks as a nursing assistant. If you’re concerned about passing the exam, you can get a feel for the types of questions you’ll see with our free CNA practice tests.
At the very beginning of this page, we mentioned that CNAs are in demand across the country. So in demand as a matter of fact, that many facilities are willing to pay for your CNA classes in exchange for agreeing to work for them once you’ve gained your certification. CNA jobs are projected to grow 8% faster than other jobs through 2029 according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, making this practice very common for certain businesses.
If this sounds like something that would be a good fit for you, you are likely wondering how you can take these courses for free. The short answer is to avoid looking at a community college or vocational school because they generally charge to take a course. Your best bet to finding CNA classes near you is in places like nursing homes, long term care facilities, in-home nursing providers, and even some hospitals. As mentioned above, you can likely find information on local training programs on the websites of these businesses or by giving them a call.
We know what you’re thinking, nothing in this world is really free, right? Wrong! Many of the organizations that are able to provide free CNA training courses are receiving government funding so you can take the courses and later join the organization as a member of their team. There are also organizations such as long term care facilities that will train and certify CNAs so that the organization itself can employ the new CNA–it’s like job training and employment all rolled into one! Finally, some organizations train new CNAs at no cost to the CNA. Then the training organization finds the new CNA a job and gets paid by the employer as a finder’s fee.
So, when we say “Free CNA Training” what we really mean is that you are not paying for the training but someone else actually is.
Any time something is offered for free it can raise some red flags. If it’s free, there has to be a catch, right? Fortunately, in the case of CNA training, there aren’t a lot of downsides if you’re able to find someone who offers free CNA classes near you. In fact, there are a lot of reasons that your free CNA training course could be better than a class you’d pay for at a job training center or a local community college.
On top of free classes, some businesses will offer additional incentives by paying you to work for them even while you’re still taking your classes. These locations also tend to offer more extensive hands-on experience during your training as well, and lets you get acquainted with other healthcare team members that you may end up working with upon gaining your certification.
It’s important to note that through the training and coursework, you will also have the ability to network with those in the field. These connections can come from classmates, professors, or individuals you meet while receiving hands-on training. Always be prepared to network because you never know when you may be opening the door to a future employment option!
The downsides to free training center around potential costs. One potential cost you may incur is having to sign with a business that is on the lower end of the CNA pay scale. Nursing homes, for example, tend to be on the low end of employers when it comes to how much a CNA gets paid. Signing a one year contract there could cost you some money compared to getting a CNA job at a government facility or a University.
The other potential cost comes if you break an employment contract. If you sign a contract to work with the employer that paid for your training, that contract may require you to pay back the cost of training if you should leave the job for any reason. So, you’ll want to make sure you do your homework on whether you’ll be willing to work for your free training provider for the required length of their contract.
Regardless of where you decide to get your certified nurse assistant training, you’ll quickly discover that you have a valuable set of skills that can gain you consistent, rewarding employment across the country.