Wisconsin students who want to take CNA classes can do so by enrolling in nursing assistant diploma and certificate programs at 2-year technical colleges in the area. Programs could feature flexible daytime or evening classes. Depending on the school, some programs may be presented partially online. Clinical internships are generally included in the curricula.
To become a CNA (certified nursing assistant or aide) in Wisconsin, a student must complete a formal training program approved by the Wisconsin Department of Health and pass a competency exam. The curriculum must include at least 120 hours of training; of this amount, at least 16 hours must be in the classroom and at least 32 must be practical hours in an approved clinical environment. Once students complete the training, they have one year to pass the two-part National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam. The exam, offered at several testing sites or medical facilities in the state, includes a written (or oral) and a practical skills section. Once the student passes the test, his or her name is added to the Wisconsin State Nurse Aide Registry.
CNA programs often have specific admission requirements that must be met. Some requirements must be met before entering the program, while others are required prior to starting the clinical portion of the program. Some typical requirements include acriminal background check, drug screening and proof of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certification, physical examination and current immunizations. Outlined below are ten schools in Wisconsin that offer CNA programs that prepare students to take the competency exam.
Chippewa Valley Technical College
Chippewa Valley Technical College offers a nursing assistant program at its Eau Claire and River Falls campuses. The 120-hour program includes lectures, simulated lab experiences and clinical education in a nursing home or long-term care facility. Students must have access to computers with Internet access to successfully complete this program. Upon completion of the program, students earn technical diplomas and qualify to take the NNAAP examination. Students can start this program in August, January or June.
Gateway Technical College
A nursing assistant technical diploma program is offered at Gateway Technical College's Racine, Elkhorn and Kenosha campuses. Offered several times a year, this program consists of 120 hours of training. The student completes 72 hours of didactic (classroom and lab courses) and 48 hours of hands-on clinical training at local medical sites. Students at Gateway Technical College can receive assistance through the school's Student Services division, which offers services like academic counseling, placement testing, tutoring and career planning.
Madison Area Technical College
Located in Madison, the city of the state's capital, Madison Area Technical College offers a nursing assistant program at the Fort Atkinson, Portage, Reedsburg, Truax and Watertown campuses, as well as at its downtown education center. Offered at least three times a year, this 120-hour program prepares students to work as nursing assistants in hospitals, nursing homes or long-term care facilities. Students learn to communicate with patients, while developing basic nursing and personal care skills. A supervised clinical internship help the student get experience working with patients. In addition to tuition, students are expected to pay for fees associated with the program, such as background check, textbooks, uniforms and shoes, health screenings, vaccinations and certification fees.
Milwaukee Area Technical College
Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) offers a nursing assistant diploma program at its Oak Creek, West Allis and downtown Milwaukee campuses. Offering both daytime and evening classes, the nursing assistant program is a three-credit program that prepares students to work in nursing homes, hospitals and home-health facilities. The curriculum prepares students to take the NNAAP. MATC also gives students who are proficient in Spanish the opportunity to enroll in a bilingual nursing assistant program.
Moraine Park Technical College
The nursing assistant program at Moraine Park Technical College is offered at its Fon du Lac, Beaver Dam and West Bend campuses. The 120-hour program consists of 42 lecture hours, 32.5 lab hours and 45.5 clinical hours. Students must be at least 16 years of age to enroll in the program. Moraine Park Technical College offers more than 100 career options and various clubs and organizations.
Northcentral Technical College
Located in Wausau, Northcentral Technical College (NTC) has a nursing assistant program that's offered fully at six campus locations and partially online. The three-credit program meets the state's requirement of 120 hours. Students spend 75 hours of classroom/lab time and 45 hours of hands-on training at local nursing facilities. NTC's nursing assistant program takes less than a year to complete and is offered in the spring and fall semesters. Upon completion, each student earns a diploma and can take the certification exam. The college also offers an online nursing assistant refresher course for nursing assistants whose certification has expired.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Located in Green Bay, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has a nursing assistant program available to eligible students at least 16 years old. The 120-hour program is also offered at the college's Sturgeon Bay and Marinette campuses. Included in the curriculum are skill pre-work, lectures, lab studies and clinical education. To be admitted into the program, applicants must complete a five-step admission process. Students at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College can take advantage of the many services offered, including tutoring, academic advising, counseling and the Student Support Services.
Waukesha County Technical College
Located in Pewaukee, Waukesha County Technical College offers a three-credit nursing assistant program on campus and as a hybrid program. Using manikins or other students, participants develop basic nursing skills and learn to provide daily care to patients. Students are required to complete a functional ability form verifying that they meet the function abilities required of nursing assistants. The clinical portion of the 120-hour program is held at area long-term care facilities. Graduates are prepared to sit for the state certification exam.
Western Technical College
Western Technical College, located in La Crosse, has a nursing assistant certificate program that can be taken on campus or partially online. The online version requires students to participate both in the classroom and online, while still completing the clinicals at local long-term care facilities. Students planning to take the online version are required to complete training modules prior to starting the program. The program prepares students to work as nursing assistants caring for patients and to take the NNAAP exam. An applicant must take an assessment test and pass an essential functions test.
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Shell Lake-based Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College has a nursing assistant program open to students at least 16 years old who have met other admission requirements. Additionally, applicants must attend an orientation session. The program teaches students how to provide basic nursing and personal care to patients in a health care setting. This program meets the requirements set by the state for nursing assistant programs. The Student Services department at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College provides students with assistance in getting into the program, as well as offering various other academic support services.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||CNA Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*|
|Chippewa Valley Technical College||two-year, public; small city||Nursing Assistant Technical Diploma|| $4,364 in-state
|Gateway Technical College||two-year, public; midsize suburb||Nursing Assistant Technical Diploma|| $4,454 in-state
|Madison Area Technical College||two-year, primarily associate degree, public; midsize city||Nursing Assistant Technical Diploma|| $4,407 in-state
|Milwaukee Area Technical College||two-year, public; large city||Nursing Assisting Diploma|| $4,589 in-state
|Moraine Park Technical College||two-year, public; small city||Nursing Assistant Technical Diploma|| $4,403 in-state
|Northcentral Technical College||two-year, public; small city||Nursing Assistant (CNA) Technical Diploma|| $3,553 in-state
|Northeast Wisconsin Technical College||two-year, public; midsize city||Nursing Assistant Technical Diploma|| $4,479 in-state
|Waukesha County Technical College||two-year, public; large suburb||Nursing Assistant Technical Diploma|| $4,405 in-state
|Western Technical College||two-year, public; small city||Nursing Assistant Certificate|| $4,403 in-state
|Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College||two-year, public; distant rural||Nursing Assistant Certificate|| $4,729 in-state
Source: *NCES School Navigator