Certified nursing assistants are integral in any hospital or other medical establishments where they are needed. Along with helping patients get the direct care they need, they also perform various physical and complex tasks without which a hospital cannot function properly.
While the position is always considered a stepping stone into other more advanced healthcare professions, becoming a certified nursing assistant still requires specialized training and education, albeit straightforward.
Below is a list of some of the best institutions and training programs available to anyone seeking a career as a certified nursing assistant.
CNA Education & Training Prerequisites
To become a certified training assistant, the first thing you have to do is enroll in a state-approved program. This program can either be online or offline.
We will look at some notable options below, but first, it is worth pointing out the requirements you must fulfill before applying.
While all of the programs have their unique criteria for accepting students, they will usually require you to possess a diploma or GED or take a writing and reading assessment in its place.
Most will also require you to attend an orientation information session and sometimes take an entry test before being admitted.
Top CNA Education Programs
The following are some of the most notable CNA training programs, providing online, offline, or hybrid curriculums.
The American Red Cross
The American Red Cross remains one of the foremost training establishments for aspiring nursing assistants, training more than 5,000 students yearly with a 90% graduation rate.
The program boasts of top credentialed instructors with tons of experience practicing in the field and teaching the essentials of the occupation.
The program includes theoretical and laboratory coursework, as expected from any worthwhile CNA training program. It also takes it further by incorporating clinical training, including hands-on experience in a natural clinical setting, to help students obtain the necessary expertise to pass the certification exam.
Pratt Community College
Pratt Community College in Kansas offers students the opportunity to become certified nursing assistants through a hybrid curriculum with theoretical coursework that can be completed online.
Containing a total of five credits, the program is known for its quality at an affordable rate. Graduates have been known to find worthwhile positions in nursing homes, hospitals, and assisted living facilities.
Hutchinson Community College
Located in Hutchinson, Kansas, Hutchinson Community College remains one of the country’s premier training programs for aspiring CNAs. It mainly focuses on nursing assistants who wish to work in senior healthcare settings in hospitals and long-term care establishments.
The program consists of 4.5 credits and deals with senior patient treatment and understanding nutrition, personal care, and body system changes during aging.
Maine Medical Center, Portland
At Maine Medical Center in Portland, students learn everything they need to know about the theoretical aspects of being a nursing assistant, including topics in critical subjects like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and emergency procedures.
They also obtain critical laboratory experience through classes aimed at stimulating a real-world hospital setting where they get to perform most of the activities they will be performing once they become certified and secure employment.
CNA Students at Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona, learn everything they need to know to become proficient in their chosen field in only one semester.
They will receive 3 hours of lecture and 5 hours of laboratory experience every week for their study. Once they graduate, they may take the Arizona State Certification test to begin practicing.
City College of San Francisco
City College of San Francisco is another of the best CNA training programs. Founded in 1985, the program provides free tuition for students who reside in San Francisco.
After completing the one-semester program, students can earn certification in any one of Nurse Assistant/Convalescent Care, Home Health Aide, or Nurse Assistant/Acute Care.
Century College, White Bear Lake
Century College in White Bear Lake offers a certified nursing assistant and home aide curriculum in two forms. The first form is a 4-credit course, for which students must apply to the college to earn credits.
The second is a not-for-profit-credit program made available through the school’s continuing education and customized training program. To participate in this form of the program, students don’t have to become registered students.
Both forms of the program consist of the same classes and curriculum, but of course, the main difference is that those who participate in the not-for-college-credit form can only do something that requires the credit earned.
Students can take the program as full-time or part-time students during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
Elgin Community College
Rounding up our list of some of the most notable CNA training programs is the CNA program at Elgin Community College, which the Illinois Department approves of public health.
The program focuses on personal care, mobility assistance, and other vital parts of being a certified nursing assistant.
After graduation, students must take the Illinois State Competency Written Evaluation to become officially certified. The program lasts for a semester, with students having the option to enroll in any of the fall, spring, or summer semesters.
What’s Next After Graduation?
Obtaining training to become a nursing assistant doesn’t necessarily give you the license to practice or even refer to yourself as a certified nursing assistant.
Once you’re done with your training at the CNA program of your choice, the next step is to become certified/licensed. It is only after this that you can officially begin to practice.
Different states have different certification steps and requirements, so you first want to look up the official page about your desired practice form.
About twenty states use the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program to certify CNAs in their region.
The NNAAP exam consists of both oral and written sections. Check the program’s official website for resources and exam requirements.