Certified nurse assistant (CNA) programs teach basic medical tasks, including the cleaning, feeding and basic care-taking of medical patients. CNA programs are not available entirely online, but some institutions offer hybrid programs. These programs prepare students to sit for a state-administered certification examination.
Programs usually consist of 1-2 courses in addition to laboratory classes and clinical experiences. Students learn basic patient care techniques, and the programs take only a few weeks to complete. While very rare, some programs do offer courses online, but they're never completely distance-based. Students must attend laboratory and clinical practice courses on-site. To be admitted into these programs, students most have a high school education and undergo a background check.
Fully online programs can be found in related fields of study like medical assisting, which can be studied online at the certificate and associate's degree levels. Medical assistants have more administrative duties than CNAs do, but they also perform some clinical work.
Certified Nurse Assistant
While some modules of this course are offered online, students must still purchase textbooks and attend orientation sessions at the campus where the program is offered.
Home Health Nursing Assistant
This course trains students in the common practices involved in assisting long-term care patients, especially in a geriatric setting. It is often broken down into parts, and is administered with online material as well as clinical practice sessions. Lessons emphasize identifying patient needs and satisfying them while enacting standard CNA protocol.
Graduates who pass the NNAAP examination for the state in which they choose to work can find employment as a Certified Nurse Assistant. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cited in May 2015 that the projected employment for this occupation is expected to rise by 17% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported in May 2015 that the mean annual wage for this occupation was $26,820.
The job of a CNA is typically very hands-on, meaning training programs will also have heavy hands-on components like lab courses, clinical practice and internships; students may be able to complete a few CNA courses online. As an alternative, students might consider a fully online program in a field like medical assisting.