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Online Education Options for a Certified Nurse's Aide

Find out about online certified nurse's aide courses and in which training programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

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Essential Information

Distance-learning nurse's aide training programs are typically available in hybrid online and on-campus formats, and most result in a certificate. Students complete the classroom portion of their training through distance-learning materials and over the Internet; they must also visit campus and/or an approved facility for labs or clinical practice. Graduates of accredited programs can sit for the national Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) exam and may be listed in their state's registry of nurse's assistants.

For students who are unable to attend on-campus sessions, a relevant alternative course of study is an associate's degree in healthcare administration. Like CNA programs, they prepare students for entry-level work in the healthcare industry, but they focus on medical office management work rather than patient care, so they can be completed entirely online.

Program Format

Students in an online nurse's aide program typically begin by using textbooks, videos and online course content to study nursing theory. The next step typically involves passing an examination on the information they have already learned. Then participants may attend a limited number of on-campus lab sessions and complete the clinical portion of their education. Those who successfully complete all components are typically qualified to sit for national certified nurse aide exams and be entered in their state's registry.

Course Topics

  • Healthcare Principles and Ethics
  • Medical Terminology
  • Biology
  • Physiology

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Choosing a Program

Prospective nurse's aides may wish to seek online content from colleges that have campus facilities for nursing students. This allows distance-learning students who have completed the preliminary portions of their nurse's aide programs to attend the campus for the lab portions of their training. Ideally, candidates can consider enrolling in a program in the state where they intend to work so that they can ensure the curriculum is best suited to meet regional certification standards.


Certified Nurse's Aide Exam Preparation

Those who meet their state's CNA training requirements can visit the Pearson VUE testing center website to obtain a Candidate's Handbook that matches their state's specifications. They can then use these overviews and study guides to prepare for the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) examination. However, individuals must locate and visit local testing sites in order to complete the exam in person.

To summarize, students who want to become nurse's aides can prepare for the certification exam by taking online science and medicine courses supplemented with on-campus labs and clinical experiences. Students interested in pursuing healthcare education fully online might consider a related field instead, such as healthcare administration.

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