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Certified Nursing Assistant Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

In a certified nursing assistant (CNA) program, students learn how to provide routine personal and healthcare assistance to the sick and elderly. Becoming a CNA requires the successful completion of a nursing assistant program followed by the passing of a state certification examination.

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Certified Nursing Aide (CNA) programs are available at community colleges and workforce education centers. In order to become a CNA, students must attend a state-approved program and take the state-designated examination.

Schools with CNA Programs

The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer certified nursing assistant training programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Akron School of Practical Nursing Akron, OH 2-year, Public Certificate $650 (total program cost)
Arapahoe Community College Littleton, CO 2-year, Private Certificate In-state $3,334; Out-of-state $13,052
Fort Myers Institute of Technology Fort Myers, FL 2-year, Public Certificate $1,015 (total program cost)
New Mexico State University--Dona Ana Las Cruces, NM 2-year, Public Certificate In-district $1,632; In-state $1,968; Out-of-state $5,184
South Texas College McAllen, TX 4-year, Public Certificate In-district $3,486; In-state $3,770; Out-of-state $4,440
Eastern Florida State College Cocoa, FL 4-year, Public Certificate In-state $2,496; Out-of-state $9,739

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES); School websites

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School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when choosing a CNA program:

  • Students must verify that a school will prepare them for state certification.
  • Full-time nursing assistant programs vary in length from 4-18 weeks, and some only require attendance on weekends and evenings, so students should consider the schedule on which a program runs.
  • While many programs offer similar coursework, students may want to consider differences in certification eligibility, program length, tuition and the option to complete additional certifications.
  • When looking at tuition costs, students should find out what additional training is offered through the program that may justify the cost, like training in CPR, blood borne pathogens or first aid.

CNA Program Overview

CNA Training Program

Clinical experience is gained in hospitals, long-term care facilities and home healthcare settings. Students learn to help patients with daily activities, such as eating, bathing and grooming. Students are required to undergo a drug screening and background check before beginning the program, and they are required to purchase uniforms and other personal supplies. Other admissions requirements vary, but most programs require applicants to have basic math and reading skills and proficiency in spoken English.

CNA programs vary widely in length and cost; it is important to ensure that a program is accredited and state-approved before determining which school to attend. Some programs have a specific focus, such as long-term care, which may be a consideration for those who want to specialize in a specific field of nursing.

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