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Online Schools for Aspiring Certified Nursing Assistants: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online certified nursing assistant (CNA) school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program types, on-campus requirements, and common online courses offered for the field of study.

Many CNA programs are available with partial online coursework. When choosing where to attend, it is important to consider factors like program availability and preparedness to pass licensing requirements to make the best decision for you.

How to Select an Online School for CNAs

Students considering online CNA schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Certified Nursing Assistant programs can be found in a hybrid format from several colleges, combining online and in-person training. After completing the coursework and a clinical component, graduates can become certified.

Program Availability

Nursing assistant education programs are normally offered only as certificates. Students who are interested in becoming a nurse's aide must seek certificate programs, usually from trade schools and junior colleges.

Licensing Requirements

Licensing requirements vary from state to state. Nurse's aides who work at nursing care facilities must, under federal law, complete at least 75 hours of training at a state-approved education institution. Because institutional approval is usually handled by each state individually and there is no central authority determining which programs will be approved and which will not, some states allow for partially online programs, while others will not. Students should check local regulations to see what their state's requirements are before enrolling in a program, especially an out-of-state program that may not satisfy their licensing needs.

Online Program Options for Certified Nursing Assistants

Online (Hybrid) Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate

Students complete theoretical coursework online and attend campus-based classes for clinical or hands-on training. Often, these online certificate programs are designed as flexible education programs for working adults and do not have strict assignment or test due dates or class attendance times. Coursework covers:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Patient care
  • Communication
  • Mental health

Schools with Online Programs for Certified Nursing Assistants

Lorain County Community College offers partially online certificate and associate's degree programs in medical assisting lasting one and two years of study, respectively. The associate's degree is divided into two concentrations; one for administration and one for clinical workers. The clinical focused degree and certificate program typically include an externship near the end of the first year of study to build upon what was learned in previous coursework. Upon completion of either program, you are eligible to take the AAMA and the AMT exams to become certified. Graduates can continue their education into higher level degrees at a number of partnered schools if desired. Additionally, some students may be able to begin their education while still in high school.

Durham Technical Community College provides a hybrid certification course for nursing assistants. Students can complete lecture courses online (all of them in the fast track program) but must complete lab courses in person. Books and supplies are not included in the course tuition and must be bought separately. They may need to provide proof of immunizations and undergo a background check, as well.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether an online CNA program is right for you. Some of the most crucial are the programs offered at an institution and how prepared their graduates are for becoming licensed.


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