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Are you interested in starting a rewarding career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) but need flexible online classes to fit your busy schedule? In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about online CNA classes in 2024, including whether that's even allowed.

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Can CNA classes be done online?

No, CNA classes cannot be done fully online. While the theory portion can be done online, every state has a required in-person clinical componeny. Depending on the state, this can be done in 25 hours or may even take up to 100 hours.

The exception is Florida, which will allow you to challenge the exam -- which means you don't need to even take a class at all, as long as you can pass the exam yourself.

You may see some schools that advertise themselves as online. These schools are actually hybrid programs, where the theory portion is done online and the clinical portion is done in-person.

Where to Find Online CNA Classes

Dreambound is the largest platform for students to find and compare vocational training programs, including CNA classes that have online components. We're also the only platform to have gathered extensive information on thousands of classes across community colleges, technical colleges, accelerated bootcamps, and more.

Dreambound also checks that programs are accredited and allows you to sort/filter by distance, program length, and more.

Here are some example online classes:

Northeast Medical Institute - New Haven Campus

  • Location: 270 Amity Rd, Woodbridge, CT 06525. Other locations in Hartford, CT; Stamford, CT; Waterbury, CT
  • Format: hybrid self-paced online format, allowing you to study at your own pace
  • Length: 11 days long, 42 classroom hours, 27 lab hours, and 33 clinical hours
  • Cost: $500 to start, $1,200 total

Williams Career School of Excellence

  • Location: 300 CM Allen Parkway, San Marcos, TX 78666
  • Cost: $725 to start, $1,450 total
  • Requirements: No high school diploma required, must be at least 16
  • Job Placement Assistance is provided to support your transition into the workforce.

How to become a CNA online

1. Choose an Accredited Hybrid Program

Select a program that is recognized by the state's nursing board to ensure that your certification will be valid. Each state has a database for you to look at, or you can search via Dreambound's search engine.

Take the time to read reviews and compare different programs to find the one that best fits your needs and schedule. Remember, there are no fully-online CNA programs approved anywhere in the US, other than slght exceptions in Florida. There must be an in-person clinical component, which is required by federal law. But, the theory portion can be done online. The slight exception is Florida, which doesn't require you take a class at all as long as you can pass the exam.

2. Meet the Prerequisites

Once you have chosen a program, you will need to meet the prerequisites for enrollment. Not all CNA programs require a high school diploma or GED. Community college CNA programs generally require a high school diploma or GED, but most vocational usually require only an 8th grade equivalent.

All schools will require a background check and TB test. Many will also require certain immunizations and a physical that proves you can lift 50 pounds.

It is important to review the program's requirements and ensure that you meet all of the necessary prerequisites before applying.

3. Complete the Theory Portion Online

After enrolling in an online program, you will need to complete the necessary coursework. The coursework will cover a variety of topics including anatomy, physiology, infection control, and patient care skills. The online modules may include videos, lectures, quizzes, and interactive exercises to enhance your learning experience.

There are self-paced and class date-based options available. Either way, online learning requires self-discipline and the ability to manage your time effectively. Take advantage of any resources provided by the program, such as online forums, to help you succeed in your coursework.

4. Complete In-Person Clinical Training

In addition to the online coursework, you will also need to complete a certain number of clinical hours to obtain your CNA certification, which will depend on the state. All states require at least 16 hours of training, with some states like California require at least 100 hours.

Clinical training takes place in a nursing home under the supervision of a nurse. It provides hands-on experience in a healthcare setting and allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you have learned in the online coursework.

Programs are required to have a partner clinical site in order to operate, so be sure to ask your school where your clinical site is located before enrolling.

5. Take the CNA Certification Exam

Once you have completed the required coursework and clinical training, you will be eligible to take the CNA certification exam. The exam is usually administered by a third-party testing agency approved by the state's nursing board, such as Prometric or PearsonVue. It consists of a multiple-choice portion and a skills demonstration portion.

The multiple-choice portion of the exam will test your knowledge of nursing concepts and procedures. You will generally need to score above 80%, although specific cutoffs vary per state.

The skills demonstration portion will require you to perform a set of essential nursing skills in front of an evaluator. Usually you will be asked to perform 3 skills procedures. It is important to review the exam content and practice your skills to ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Many states will allow you to work as a provisional CNA for a few months before you pass the exam. Almost all states will also allow you to take the test up to 3 times before you need to retake your class.

6. Obtain State Certification

After successfully passing the CNA certification exam, you will need to apply for state certification. This involves submitting an application, providing proof of completion of the state-approved program and clinical training, and paying a certification fee.

Once your application is approved, you will receive your CNA certification from the state's nursing board. This certification will allow you to work as a CNA in a healthcare facility within the state.

Similar programs to CNA

If you're looking for a fully-online program, here are a few alternatives to consider:

  • Online Phlebotomy classes: Phlebotomy is the most popular program among Dreambound users who are also considering CNA. Phlebotomists are responsible for drawing blood, which CNAs are not allowed to do. Phlebotomy programs are of a similar price and length to CNA classes, but they are allowed to be more online than CNA classes are. You just need to do a few live blood draws on a person before your certification exam.
  • Online Patient Care Technician classes: CNA, Phlebotomy, and EKG all in one, so PCTs are more skilled than CNAs. For some reason it's less popular of a certification but we highly recommend it, especially if you want to work at a hospital.
  • Online Medical Assistant classes: Also very popular among Dreambound users considering CNA. Medical Assistants are paid better and do more clinical work, but the program is longer and more expensive.
  • Online Medical Billing and Coding classes: If you like the more administrative side of healthcare, we highly recommend medical billing and coding. It's a fast-paced job that allows you to work from home while also getting involved in the medical field.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What's the fastest you can become a CNA?

There are some accelerated CNA courses that allow you to become a CNA in 1.5 weeks. However, some states like California require at least 150 hours of training, so these will take at least 4 weeks and usually are longer. Read more on cheapest and fastest CNA programs.

What do most CNAs make per hour?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that CNAs make on average $38,130 per year, or $18.33 per hour. You can make more in certain environments such as hospitals or with travel staffing agencies. Read more on how much CNAs make.

Which is harder, CNA or RN?

RNs are much more clinically skilled than CNAs and therefore require at least 2-4 years of training, whereas CNAs can be trained in just a few weeks. However, both are difficult roles that require fast-paced and very physical work. Read more on CNAs vs RNs.

Which is harder, CNA or LPN?

LPNs are much more clinically skilled than CNAs and therefore require at least 1-2 years of training, whereas CNAs can be trained in just a few weeks. However, both are difficult roles that require fast-paced and very physical work. Read more on [CNAs vs LPNs)(https://dreambound.com/blog/difference-between-a-licensed-vocational-nurse-and-a-certified-nursing-assistant).

What's the difference between a CNA and RNA?

RNAs are CNAs that take additional coursework to specialize in restorative care. There are no state or federal regulations around RNAs.

What's the difference between a CNA and STNA?

Ohio has a special name for CNAs called STNAs (state-tested nursing assistants). They are the same. Read how to become an STNA.

Other Resources

If you're exploring options in this field in various locations, Dreambound's extensive guides are a great resource. We've got detailed insights for different states. Check out some additional guides below:

Blessed Joy Amarga
Written by
Blessed Joy Amarga

Blessed Joy Amarga is part of the Growth and Sales teams at Dreambound. She helps bring in new leads, increasing the number of people at the top of the sales funnel, and supporting the team in creating graphics to boost social media engagement. Blessed is also a Licensed Architect. Outside work, she enjoys traveling and exploring new places for her vlog.

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