Online CNA Classes & Programs

Online CNA courses are a great way to start your path to becoming a CNA. Here, we outline top benefits and CNA requirements.

Updated September 15, 2022 • 6 Min Read

Accreditation for Online CNA Programs

Aspiring CNAs should only apply to regionally accredited institutions. Colleges and universities obtain accreditation by meeting U.S. Department of Education (ED) guidelines. A school's location determines which one of six agencies accredits it. Each agency possesses an ED charter.

Schools with online or hybrid programs need regional accreditation and national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. This accreditation means a school's online and on-campus programs offer the same educational quality and promote similar graduate outcomes.

The best online CNA programs also feature programmatic accreditation from a private or government agency. These agencies may include a state's department of public health.

Applicants can browse accredited institutions on the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website. This organization offers the latest information on many programmatic accreditation agencies.

Options for Online CNA Classes

Learners who are taking CNA classes online complete 1-2 courses. They can then begin an in-person clinical. The best programs emphasize skills in patient care and safety. Enrollees also study medical terminology and diagnostic testing. Students develop communication and collaboration skills. They also practice giving medication and monitoring vital signs.

See below for common online CNA classes. Keep in mind that course titles and descriptions vary by school. A school's admissions advisor can provide information about the academic experience and graduate outcomes.

  • Basic Healthcare Worker

    This course emphasizes healthcare delivery systems. Learners study disease concepts and legal and ethical responsibilities. These and other topics make up the health sciences core that learners need to qualify for a CNA certification. Coursework also covers conflict resolution strategies and different healthcare workers' roles.
  • Nurse Aide and Orderly

    Students learn how to communicate with patients and family members. Coursework covers how to report suspected abuse and follow safety standards. Learners gain many skills they can use during their clinical rotation. One skill includes moving patients comfortably. Enrollees learn how to help other healthcare professionals transfer and discharge patients.
  • Clinical Rotation

    A clinical rotation allows students to apply their knowledge in a real-world setting. Learners work alongside other CNAs, registered nurses, and physicians. Students may complete a clinical rotation at a hospital or long-term care facility. Most rotations last six weeks. Participants move patients and record vital signs. Practicing these tasks helps learners prepare for the CNA certification exam.

Graduation Requirements for CNA Programs

Unlike two- and four-year programs, CNA programs do not include a final project, thesis, or portfolio. However, learners must remain in good academic standing. They must submit assignments on time, earn strong grades, and attend classes. Students who do not show up to their clinical rotation on time receive academic probation or leave the program.

Graduation requirements vary by program. Prospective students can review requirements on a program's website or in the student handbook. Learners can also discuss concerns with a professor or advisor. Some students, such as those with a disability, may qualify for a modification.

Some CNA programs require coursework in math and English. Students interested in mastering other useful skills can contact an academic advisor.

Requirements to Work as a CNA

Aspiring CNAs must meet many requirements. These requirements include graduating from a state-approved program and passing the CNA exam. See below for more requirements.

Earn a High School or GED Diploma

Many technical schools and community colleges require a high school or GED diploma. Prospective students who do not meet this requirement can research local schools that offer GED-preparation courses. These courses can help students pass the GED exam as soon as possible and start their college education.

Complete a State-Approved CNA Program

A state-approved CNA program includes coursework and an in-person clinical rotation. Program lengths vary. However, most programs last 1-3 months. Graduates may receive a diploma or certificate. Some schools allow graduates to apply these credits toward an associate or bachelor's program. This benefit allows returning learners to advance their education quickly.

Pass a Background Check

Most states require healthcare workers to complete a background check. Many employers also require it. A typical background check examines someone's criminal, credit, and employment history. This information helps employers determine whether an applicant poses a threat to patients. Some employers consider applicants with a criminal record. But consideration depends on the crime and when it occurred.

Pass a Medical or Physical Exam

CNAs need the strength and agility to do their jobs. A medical or physical exam reveals whether students can perform basic tasks. Learners complete a physical exam and submit bloodwork. Some exams include a test for illegal drugs and psychological screening questions. Specific requirements vary by employer.

Pass the State CNA Exam

The CNA exam includes 60-100 multiple-choice questions. The exam covers required skills, including feeding patients and measuring urinary output. Test-takers must demonstrate the profession's five basic skills before an evaluator. The exam varies slightly among states. Students can explore many free exam-preparation resources online.

Becoming A CNA After Graduation

Certified nursing assistant (CNA) programs train learners to bathe, feed, and dress patients. CNA classes online include coursework in long-term care and interpersonal skills. Students also complete in-person clinicals. Most online CNA classes take one semester to complete.

This page provides an overview of CNA classes online. Read on for information on CNA certification, graduation requirements, and potential jobs.

CNA Salary Potential

CNAs earn a median annual salary of $30,830, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Top earners receive more than $42,000 annually. CNAs working for government agencies and hospitals earn more than their peers. Professionals in Alaska, California, and New York earn the highest CNA salaries.

Prospective CNAs can boost their salary by earning an associate or bachelor's degree. A degree may help them qualify for high-paying jobs.

CNA Job Growth Potential

The BLS projects jobs for CNAs and hospital orderlies to grow 8% from 2020-2030. This rate is about as fast as average for all occupations. Many medical careers feature a higher projected growth rate, including personal care aides and psychiatric aides.

Schools' career advisors can help learners explore jobs and create a career plan. Students may need to return to school or earn a professional certification.

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Online CNA Classes

Can I get a CNA license online?

Many programs offer CNA classes online. However, learners must complete an in-person clinical. They may fulfill this requirement at a hospital or other healthcare setting.

How much do online CNA classes cost?

Cost varies by school and program length. Public technical and community colleges offer the most affordable rate to in-state students.

Where can you take CNA classes online?

Prospective students can browse online databases of schools offering online CNA classes. Learners should research whether graduates qualify for CNA certification.

How long does it take to become a CNA online?

The best online CNA programs take 1-3 months to complete. Learners split their time between coursework and a clinical rotation. A program confers either a diploma or a certificate.

Benefits of Taking CNA Classes Online

CNA classes online provide many benefits, including flexibility and affordability. Other advantages include access to professional resources, such as an alumni network.

1. Convenience
Many students enroll in an online diploma or certificate program for its convenience. Online learners can complete coursework from anywhere with an internet connection. Students save time since they do not need to commute to campus.
2. Flexibility
Some online programs run asynchronously. Enrollees do not need to attend class at specific times, which allows them to complete coursework around work and family responsibilities. However, learners must complete a synchronous clinical rotation. Students must adjust their schedule beforehand or request accommodation.
3. Professional Connections
Like on-campus programs, the best online CNA programs allow students to create professional connections. Some learners join their school's student and alumni organizations. Enrollees can also use the clinical rotation to network with a potential employer. These relationships can lead to recommendation letters that graduates can use when applying to jobs or grad school.
4. Affordability
Technical schools and junior colleges charge more affordable tuition than four-year schools. Online learners save money by not buying a meal plan or paying for campus housing. Students can apply for financial aid such as scholarships and grants to help pay for their education.

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Learn More About Becoming a CNA

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

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AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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