CNA Programs Online

What is a CNA?

Certified nursing assistants, or CNAs, work alongside licensed practicing nurses and registered nurses to care for patients in a variety of healthcare settings. CNAs work closely with patients, but they perform different types of tasks than registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Certified nursing assistants often help with bathing, dressing, and other daily activities. While LPNs and RNs require higher levels of education, CNAs can become certified through less training, which is often available through vocational centers, community colleges, and online schools.

CNAs work closely with patients, but they perform different types of tasks than registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs).

Students can take CNA classes online to earn the credentials necessary to work in the field. Graduates often pursue positions in geriatric care facilities, hospitals, and rehabilitation clinics. Students generally complete these training courses within 12 weeks. CNA online classes may include some in-person components to help students develop practical skills.

What Degree Is Required to Be a CNA?

CNA positions require only a high school diploma or GED, not a bachelor’s degree. While taking CNA classes online, students gain skills in first aid, CPR, infection control, patient caregiving, and general safety. CNA programs prepare learners to work directly with patients, and most include hands-on training. Even students completing CNA programs online must typically complete some in-person requirements, particularly to prepare learners for the CNA certification examination.

CNAs must pass a certification examination that includes written and skills portions. The written portion comprises the bulk of the exam. The skills portion requires candidates to perform specific tasks in front of a proctor, usually a registered or licensed practicing nurse.

Is an Online Certified Nursing Assistant Program Right for Me?

Career Mindset

CNAs work directly with patients, providing important care. CNAs must have excellent communication skills and be willing to learn on the job. Students pursuing their CNA certification online can often set their own schedules and complete coursework asynchronously, which means organizational skills are crucial. These skills also translate into the workplace.

Getting Your Degree Online


Students earning their CNA certification online can access lectures and materials from anywhere, at any time. Taking CNA courses online eliminates the need to commute to campus and allows learners to access courses at their convenience.


Completing CNA class online is ideal for students who work full time, have family obligations, or need the ability to complete coursework according to their schedule. Many students completing CNA programs online take courses asynchronously, allowing learners scheduling flexibility.

School Options

Distance learning provides options for students who live in areas without institutions offering on-campus certified nursing assistant programs. Online students can attend schools across the country, regardless of geographic location.


By taking CNA classes online, students interact with a diverse group of peers, often from across the country and around the world. Studying alongside students from various backgrounds helps learners understand different perspectives and expand their social and academic networks.


Online learning provides opportunities to engage with technology. Students in online CNA programs connect with peers and professors using tools such as discussion boards, digital university resources, and videoconferencing.

CNA Program Admissions Requirements

Many certified nursing assistant programs have flexible admission requirements, and prospective students can apply to most CNA programs online. While many programs require a high school diploma or GED, some admit high school students still completing their diploma to enroll, as long as they are at least 16 years old.

Many CNA programs at community colleges or technical schools require only that applicants complete the standard application for admission to the institution. This application generally requires high school transcripts and standardized test scores, such as ACT or SAT scores. Students taking CNA courses online rarely need to submit letters of recommendation.

What Can I Do with a CNA Certification?

Career Paths for a CNA

After earning a CNA certification online, candidates qualify for careers in a variety of fields and areas. Certified nursing assistants may work in nursing homes or provide in-home care. The careers below are some options available to graduates of certified nursing assistant programs.

Nurse Assistant

Nursing assistants work closely with nursing staff and doctors to provide vital patient care. These assistants often have at least a CNA certification, which students can earn online in a few weeks.

Nurse Aide

Also known as orderlies or attendants, nurse aides work under the supervision of licensed and registered nurses. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals and psychiatric care facilities. They provide patient care and may perform some housekeeping duties.

Home Health Aide

Home health aides need patience and a willingness to deal with challenging situations. Home health aides work in the homes of patients, assisting people with chronic illness and elderly patients during daily self-care tasks.

State-Tested Nurse Aide

State-tested nurse aides perform a function similarly to that of a nurse aide, but they hold a credential that can result in higher earning potential and increased responsibility. Completing CNA training online provides skills necessary for this career.

Common Employers for CNAs


Certified nursing assistants often work in hospital settings, under the supervision of licensed and registered nurses. These CNAs may check and monitor patient vital signs, assist patients with self-care, and change bed linens.

Long-Term Care Clinics

CNAs in long-term care clinics work closely with patients suffering from chronic illness and injury. They may also work with the elderly. These CNAs typically help patients with daily care tasks, such as getting to the restroom, bathing, and eating meals.

Home Health Agencies

CNAs who work with home health agencies go directly into patients’ homes to assist them with daily activities, such as self-care, taking medication, and monitoring vitals. These CNAs act as a liaison between patients and doctors, and they monitor each patient’s symptoms and progress.

Salaries for CNAs

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Salary Potential for CNAs

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What to Expect from CNA Classes Online

About the Program

Becoming a CNA online typically takes four to 12 weeks, depending on the specific program and the student’s enrollment status. Most students completing CNA training online must complete a certain number of clock hours, rather than a specific number of credits. These hours include both online coursework and in-person training. The number of hours required to earn CNA certification varies by program. Students completing CNA programs online typically complete coursework in areas including CPR, patient care, and wound care.

Typical Curriculum for an Online CNA Program

Certified nursing assistants work closely with patients and their families, and the curricula for CNA training programs emphasize skills necessary to provide patient care. Aspiring CNAs typically take courses in physiology, infection control, the human body, and medical terminology. Curricula may also cover subjects pertaining to patient personal care, such as how to properly dress and undress a wound; shaving, bathing, nail, and hair care; and oral hygiene.

CNA programs prepare students to help registered and licensed nurses check, document, and monitor patient vital signs. Students also learn how to perform administrative tasks, including admitting and discharging patients from hospitals and care facilities. CNA programs emphasize interpersonal communication skills to prepare candidates to communicate effectively with patients and families. In-person requirements often include practicing CPR skills, dressing wounds, checking vital signs, and identifying body parts and systems. The skills learners gain during CNA programs prepare them to pass the certification exam, which includes an oral component.

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