CNA Classes and Certification

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CNA Classes and Certification Online

Are you compassionate with a strong desire to help people? Does helping people come naturally to you, as if it were your life calling? If you answered “yes” to the two questions posed, a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) will be a great fit for you!

Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant is as simple as taking a few classes. It’s a great start to even bigger and better careers in the medical field. CNAs gain valuable experience in the medical field while allowing them to also work on furthering medical degrees. Some people stay in their career in Nursing Assistance, which is a worthy goal in and of itself.

CNAs spend a lot of time associating with and caring for their patients. Other medical professionals, such as full RNs and doctors, don’t spend as much time with individual patients. The amount of time that CNAs spend with patients allows them to actually make a difference in a person’s life because they invest care and time with each patient. CNAs are in the thick of the medical field. It’s a battle for some patients and the wars can’t be won, or even fought, without the help that CNAs provide.

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for information on CNA classes, CNA certification, and career resources. We have created this site with the end goal in mind of helping people navigate the path to certification in the field of nursing assistance.

Depending on where you live, CNAs can be called by different names, including:

  • Nursing Assistant (NA)
  • State Tested Nursing Aid (STNA)
  • Patient Care Assistant (PCA)

This site provides all the information you need about job and career details, where to get certified, and how long it takes to become a CNA. You’ll also find great information about top CAN classes, online programs, training, requirements, testing, certification renewal, and much much more.

This is the time to get into the Certified Nursing Assistant career. By 2024, around 287,000 CNAs will be needed in the United States—a 17% increase, according to data. This means that there is ample opportunity for those looking to start CAN classes and becoming certified.

The states with the largest job openings in the CNA field are California, Florida, and New York. Each of the aforementioned states creates thousands of jobs of nursing assistants each year.

What is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?

The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is an assistant to medical professionals who care for the healthcare needs of patients and clients. Generally, Nursing Assistants work under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Most often, CNAs work with patients in the following settings:

  • hospitals
  • nursing homes
  • assisted living facilities
  • adult day care centers
  • home care

CNAs are responsible for taking care of the basic needs of patients and clients. Without CNAs, patients would not receive the special attention they need in their time of need. An important role of the CNA is to act as a liaison between patient and registered nurse. The CNA is there to hear the patient, know their needs, and notice any changes in health or behavior. The RN, doctor and other medical staff may not notice these subtle changes since they are not with the patient but a few moments throughout a day or week. The CNA reports to nurses and doctors what is observed to best help the patient.

CNAs Responsibilities

  • medication administration
  • taking vital signs
  • dressing and cleaning wounds
  • documenting patient behavior and symptoms
  • patient bedside care
  • cleaning and sanitizing patient rooms and areas
  • cleaning bedpans

This position is not glamorous from the onlooker but caring for persons in their hardships is much needed and very fulfilling. Besides the physical care, CNAs help cure, comfort, and encourage those who have been entrusted in their care.

A CNAs job is often fast-paced and hectic. People looking to pursue this career need to have a strong work ethic and passion for helping people. If helping people is not a motivator for you, this may not be the best career for you. If you have a strong compassion for people with medical issues, then this will be a rewarding and satisfying career choice.

The United States has a high demand for CNAs. There are multiple factors that create this demand. CNA turnover rates are high due to the fact that career is most often a stepping for moving into better paid medical careers. The medical field in general is continually growing in the U.S. Job opportunities for Certified Nursing Assistants continues to grow year over year according to multiple sources. What the medical field needs is for ordinary people to step into the heroic role of CAN to provide stellar care for persons in need. Doctors can heal the body, but CNAs can heal mind, body, and spirit and not only save, but change people’s lives.

How much does a CNA make?

Pay changes from city to city and state to state. CNAs typically receive hourly pay in place of a salary. This can be beneficial for persons who are looking to work part-time and continue their degree studies toward nursing and other fields. It is also a great field for anyone else looking to only work part-time. Some CNAs put in 60 hours per work (mainly because they want to spend time with their patients). How much you make a month or a year mainly depends on the hours you choose to put in.

The average hourly wage for a Certified Nursing Assistant in the U.S. was $12.06 per hour or $25, 090 per year, according to 2014 report. Keep in mind that this is a national average and pay may be lower or higher depending on where you live or work.

Top 5 Highest Paying States for Certified Nursing Assistants (as of 2015)

  • Alaska – $17.93 per hour, $37,300 per year
  • New York – $16.06 per hour, $33,390 per year
  • Nevada- $15.73 per hour, $32,710 per year
  • District of Columbia – $15.71 per hour, $32,680 per year
  • Connecticut – $15.33 per hour, $31,890 per year


CNAs who choose this career for life-long employment do not work for the money. These individuals have chosen this career to help those in need—they live on less to give more. Most see a greater purpose than financial gain at the root of their careers—making difference in peoples’ lives. Certified Nursing Assistants are the superheroes of the medical field, sacrificing their time and talents in order to help out the less fortunate. This sacrifice is a noble endeavor.

Making the Right Choice

Is there anything else I should consider in deciding if becoming a certified nursing assistant is the right choice for me?

Limited Career Advancement

If you choose to become a certified nursing assistant, you should be aware that you will not be able to advance your career unless you get additional education and training. Becoming a CNA is a good introduction to the medical field. But you should keep in mind that as a CNA, you will work under the supervision of Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses, not independently.

Certified Nursing Assistant Professions

What certified nursing assistant professions can I choose from?

If you earn your CNA credentials, you may be able to apply your training in these professions:

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)


Certificate (6 – 12 weeks)




Hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities


CNAs give basic care to patients and residents in hospitals and long-term healthcare facilities. For example, they take vital signs and help patients to eat, dress, bathe and use the toilet. They also help to transport patients, change linens and clean up bodily fluids when patients have accidents. Finally, CNAs listen to their patient’s concerns and report those to the nurses on duty.

Home Health Aide


High school diploma




Private homes


Home health aides provide personal care for people who are aging, chronically ill or who have physical or mental disabilities. They travel to their patient’s home and assist them with activities like bathing, dressing and light housekeeping. In some states, home health aides can administer medicine and check vital signs.

Medical Assistant


High school diploma




Hospitals, medical clinics


Medical assistants perform the administrative duties in medical offices, such as scheduling and confirming appointments. They also maintain the medical records of patients and work with insurance companies to submit billing claims. Finally, medical assistants make sure that examination rooms are well stocked with supplies

Psychiatric Aide


High school diploma




Psychiatric hospitals, mental health facilities


Psychiatric aides help care for people with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. They help patients with daily activities like eating, bathing and dressing. They also perform housekeeping duties like changing linens. Some aides help supervise group activities, transport patients and help to restrain patients if they become violent.

Areas of Study

What can I expect to learn while studying to become a certified nursing assistant?

Some of the knowledge and skills that you may learn in your program include:


Anatomy and physiology study the parts and processes of the human body. Specifically, anatomy studies the human form and names body parts like bones, muscles and organs. Physiology studies the way that the body and its systems function. It discusses systems and processes that keep the body running, like digestion, blood circulation and breathing.

Medical terminology is the system of terms that doctors, nurses and other healthcare professions use to discuss clinical procedures. The study of medical terminology allows CNAs to accurately describe patient concerns using medical language. In addition, this special vocabulary uses many words with Latin roots, so students will learn the significance of these words..

Body mechanics will be studied so that CNAs can properly move, lift and position patients and medical equipment without causing injury to themselves or others. This subject addresses ways that people can minimize muscle strain by using proper balance and body alignment as they perform physically demanding tasks.

Mental health care is a set of guidelines that medical staff uses to assess the psychological well being of patients. There is a special emphasis on identifying mental health problems that are characteristic of the elderly, like dementia and Alzheimer’s. It also discusses how staff members can help patients who need psychiatric care and how to protect themselves from harm.

Patient rights are the rights that people are granted when they are patients in healthcare facilities regarding their care, privacy and dignity. This course addresses the legal and ethical obligations that care facilities must uphold when treating patients. Students will learn about the appropriate use of restraints and how CNAs can report suspected abuse or neglect according to the law.


Restorative care is the rehabilitation and overall recuperation of patients who have received medical treatment. In your CNA program, you will learn how to assess and document the daily activities, nutritional intake and mobility of your patients. You will learn techniques to encourage patients as their health progresses.

CNAs are responsible for administering certain medical procedures when they are necessary. For instance, you will learn about the Heimlich maneuver, CPR and taking and recording vital signs, like temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. You will also learn how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), as well as how to safely apply and remove physical restraints.

Critical observation means actively searching for any changes in the overall condition of your patient. These changes may seem minor, like an increased heart rate or an altered mood. You will be trained to use your observation skills to identify significant changes in the health of your patient so that you can report these changes to the nurses on duty.

Infection control helps medical staff, including CNAs, to prevent the spread of infection. You will learn about different types of infection and their signs and symptoms. Your training will emphasize infection prevention techniques like frequently washing your hands, wearing masks and gloves to prevent contact with bodily fluids and properly disposing of needles.

Communication between nurse assistants, other medical staff and their patients is essential in order to provide quality healthcare. Your CNA program will provide you with the tools that you need to accurately follow directions and to report patient concerns to nurses. You will also learn how to explain medical procedures to your patients and to work with patients who may be angry, agitated or in severe pain.

Academic Degrees

What academic levels are available in the field of nurse assisting?

The only level of education that you can earn in nurse assisting is a certificate, which typically takes 6 to 12 weeks to complete. If you are interested in earning more education than a certificate, you should look into another job within healthcare.


A certificate is a short training program that teaches you a specific set of technical and career skills that trains you for a job. You can earn your CNA certificate through colleges or technical training schools.

What are the different types of certificates that I can earn in nurse assisting?

You can only earn an undergraduate certificate in nurse assisting, which means that you do not need to have a degree to enroll in this type of program. A certificate will teach you all of the basic medical skills and knowledge that you need to become certified as a nurse assistant.

How long will I have to study to earn my certificate in nurse assisting?

Nurse assisting certificates usually requires students to complete 6 to 10 credit hours. Students usually take 6 to 12 weeks to complete their CNA education.

What types of courses will I take while studying for my certificate in nurse assisting?

The exact courses that you will take vary according to the college or technical school that you enroll in. For some nurse assisting certification programs, you only need to take 1 comprehensive class about nurse assisting. That class will teach you how basic clinical skills like measuring bodily functions, infection control and patient rights. For other programs, you will take several courses, like nursing fundamentals, restorative care and basic medical procedures. In any case, you will also participate in clinical practicums, which are designed to teach you the practical skills that you will need as a CNA.

What types of jobs can I hope to secure with a certificate in nurse assisting?

If you earn a certificate in nurse assisting, you will be qualified to work as a CNA. In addition, you can perform similar work as a home health aide of psychiatric aide, although you do not need formal training to work in these positions. If you want to pursue any other jobs in the healthcare field, you will need to obtain more education and specialized training.

What should I consider when deciding on a school to earn my certificate in nurse assisting?

When you are choosing a nurse assisting school, you should make sure that it meets your state’s CNA certification standards before you enroll. Although CNA programs do not need to be formally accredited, they do need to be approved by their state’s board of nursing. Each state has slightly different standards for their CNA programs, so you should check with your state’s board of nursing to see if the program that you want to attend will qualify you to take the CNA exam in the state where you want to work.

What about getting an online certificate in nurse assisting?

Many schools claim to offer online nurse assisting certificates. However, what online nurse assisting schools really offer are classes that teach the theory of nurse assisting online. You still have to learn the practical skills that come with nurse assisting in a hands-on, clinical setting. Therefore, online nurse assisting certificates are actually blended learning programs. There is no significant drawback to enrolling in these programs, but you must make sure that they offer clinical practicums. You should not enroll in an online nurse assisting program if it does not give you a chance to learn hands-on skills.

Licensing Information

What else should I keep in mind when considering studying nurse assisting?


After you complete your CNA training program, you are eligible to become certified. In order to do so, you will have to pay a fee and pass your state’s certification exam. The exam has a written portion and a skills demonstration component to make sure that you know both the theory and practical skills of nurse assisting. You can check with your state’s board of nursing to learn more about the CNA certification process in your particular state.

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