Online CNA Programs

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) work with licensed practicing nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNS) and provide patient care in various healthcare settings.

While they work closely with patients, their tasks differ from those RNs and LPNs perform.

CNAs typically help patients with such tasks as dressing and bathing.

The education required for RNs and LPNs is of high level, but CNA can take a short course online, or at a vocational school or a community college to become certified.

In the CNA classes, students can earn the credentials required to work in the field.

The courses can usually be completed within 12 weeks.

Graduates can work in such facilities as hospitals, geriatric care facilities, or rehabilitation clinics.

Some in-person hours can be required in the online course so that students can develop their skills.

What’s the Difference Between a CNA and a Medical Assistant?

Medical assistants and CNAs share some duties and environments, but there are vital differences between the two.

CNAs are typically employed in long-term residential care facilities or hospitals.

They provide basic patient care (dressing, bathing, meal delivery, feeding, etc).

CNAs work full-time and their shifts can include nights, weekends, and holidays.

For a long time during the day, CNAs work on their feet and may have to lift and move patients.

To work, they need to acquire a certification from the state.

Medical assistants are generally employed in physician-based settings handling clinical tasks and administrative responsibilities.

Their usual workday includes helping with patient exams, taking their vital signs, scheduling appointments, recording patient histories, etc.

They also work full-time with shifts taking place in the evenings, weekends, and holidays.

They can get on-the-job training since they aren’t required to be certified by most states.

However, they can also take a training program at a vocational school or community college.

Medical assistants’ salaries are usually higher than CNAs.

What Degree Is Required to Be a CNA?

CNAs should hold a high school diploma or a GED certificate, they don’t need a bachelor’s degree.

In the online classes, students learn skills in infection control, CPR, first aid, general safety, and patient caregiving.

Learners are prepared to work directly with patients, and programs mostly include practical hours.

Even studying online, students have to complete in-person requirements, especially when getting ready to take the CNA certification examination.

The exam includes both a written and practical parts.

The written part is the bulk, and the skill evaluation requires the test-taker to perform the tasks before the proctors (RN or LPN).

Is an Online Certified Nursing Assistant Program Right for Me?

Career Mindset

CNAs provide immediate care to patients.

They should exercise outstanding communication skills and be prepared to learn on the job.

Students taking online CNA programs can develop their schedules and learn asynchronously, so they need excellent organizational skills, which will also be necessary for the workplace.

Getting Your Degree Online


Online CNA students can access their lectures and material anywhere at any time.

Learning online, students don’t need to come on campus, and they can study at their own pace.


Learning online, CNA students can keep working full time, keep up with their family commitments, and set their schedules as they need.

Many students learn asynchronously, watching lectures, and taking part in discussions at the time that is convenient for them.

School Options

Students who don’t have quality educational facilities in their areas can enroll in distance learning CNA programs.

They can attend any school in the country online, no matter how far they are located.


Studying online, students get in touch with a more diverse group of people from all over the US and the world.

While learning with students from different backgrounds, students can better understand different perspectives and expand their networks.


With online learning, students use new technology.

Online CNA programs connect them with professors and peers through videoconferencing, discussion boards, digital resources, etc.

CNA Program Admissions Requirements

Many CNA programs have flexible requirements for admission, and for many programs, you can apply online.

While you need a high school diploma or GED for many programs, some can admit students when they are at least 16 years of age.

In many technical schools and community colleges, students only need to complete a standard application, so the school search is relatively easy.

The application includes test scores (SAT or ACT) and high school transcripts.

Letters of recommendation are not usually required.

Certification and Licensure

Despite the state they live in, CNAs have to be licensed to work.

To acquire the certification, they should take and complete a state-approved program to learn the basics of nursing and complete clinical work under supervision.

As they graduate, CNAs take a written and skill evaluation exam.

After they pass the exam, they get on the state registry and officially become a CNA.

Licensing usually comes with a fee.

CNAs must renew their certification every two years, which also includes a fee.

Licensing requirements are different in each state, so students should get in touch with the state licensing boards to get the exact information.

It is also possible to transfer the CNA license from one state to another.

After receiving the certification, students can get additional credentials for specialized work.

For instance, they can earn a GNA certification (geriatric nursing assistant) by passing the geriatric exam.

In a similar way, they can become a CMA (certified medicine aide) by taking a 60-hour medicine aide course at a community college.

GNA and CMA certifications don’t require fees.

What Can I Do With a CNA Certification?

Licensed CNAs can start a career in several fields.

They can provide in-home care or work in nursing homes.

Below, you will find a list of careers that CNAs can start:

Nurse Assistant

Nursing assistants provide crucial patient care while working alongside doctors and nursing staff.

They should have at least a CNA certification, which they can obtain online within several weeks.

Nurse Aide

Nurse aides work under the supervision of RNs or LPNs, and they are also known as attendants or orderlies.

They can work at hospitals or psychiatric care facilities, performing housekeeping tasks, and providing patient care.

Home Health Aide

Home health aides need a lot of patience and willingness to handle challenging situations.

They work with patients in their homes, helping elderly or chronically diseased people with everyday self-care tasks.

State-Tested Nurse Aide

Self-tested nurse aides have similar work to nurse aids, with the difference that they hold special credentials which brings them more responsibility and a higher earning potential.

You can gain the skills required for this career through online CNA training.

Common Employers for CNAs


In hospitals, CNAs are supervised by RNs or LPNs.

They check and monitor vital signs of patients and assist them with changing bed linens and self-care.

Long-Term Care Clinics

In long-term care clinics, CNAs work with patients that recover from injuries or have chronic conditions.

They may also assist the elderly.

These CNAs usually help patients accomplish their everyday tasks, such as eating, bathing, or using the restroom.

Home Health Agencies

CNAs employed at home health agencies work in patients’ homes assisting them with day-to-day activities, such as monitoring vital signs and taking medications.

They perform a function of a liaison between doctors and patients and monitor the symptoms and progress of every patient.

Hourly Pay Potential for CNAs

State-tested nurse aide:

  • 0-12 months of experience – $10.58.
  • 1-4 years of experience – $11.21.
  • 5-9 years of experience – $12.08.
  • 10+ years of experience – $12.41.

Patient care technician:

  • 0-12 months of experience – $12.62.
  • 1-4 years of experience – $13.18.
  • 5-9 years of experience – $14.37.
  • 10+ years of experience – $15.39.

Nurse assistant:

  • 0-12 months of experience – $11.75.
  • 1-4 years of experience – $12.48.
  • 5-9 years of experience – $13.68.
  • 10+ years of experience – $13.73.

Home health aide:

  • 0-12 months of experience – $10.37.
  • 1-4 years of experience – $10.73.
  • 5-9 years of experience – $11.13.
  • 10+ years of experience – $11.25.

What to Expect From CNA Classes Online

Depending on the program and your enrollment status, you may spend from four to twelve weeks to become a CNA online.

Most programs require a certain number of clock hours instead of credits.

They include both online classes and in-person training.

The total number of hours can vary by the program.

Students learning online usually complete coursework in such areas as wound care, patient care, CPR.

Typical Curriculum for an Online CNA Program

CNAs work closely with patients and their families, so the programs’ curricula have a good focus on patient care skills.

Future CNAs learn infection control, physiology, medical terminology, and the human body.

The programs can also cover the proper wound dressing and undressing, patient personal care, nail and hair care, bathing, shaving, and oral hygiene.

These programs also teach how to check, monitor, and document vital signs and do administrative work, including admitting and discharging patients from various facilities.

The practical skill part includes CPR, checking vital signs, dressing wounds, identifying parts and systems of the body.

With these skills, CNAs are ready to take the certification exam that also has a verbal part.

Career Advancement Options for CNAs

With more education, CNAs have better work opportunities and salaries.

Through continuing education, they can become PLNs/LVNs or RNs.

Both professions require a state-approved education (it can also be available online) and a passed NCLEX-PN exam to get a license.

Then, nurses can complete an LPN to RN program.

This can be done in three ways:

  • Diploma from an approved nursing program.
  • Associate degree in nursing (ADN).
  • Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN).

LPNs and LVNs may have different duties in various states.

However, their responsibilities include keeping records and providing basic patient care.

RNs also supervise other nurses and coordinate patient care, help with diagnostic tests, and administer treatments and medication.

Earning Potential in the Nursing Field

  • Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) average annual median salary – $28,540.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)/Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) average annual median salary – $47,480.
  • Registered Nurse (RN) average annual median salary – $73,300.

Find an Online CNA Program

A & W Healthcare Educators (LA):

  • Certificate.
  • Private (For-Profit).

Abcott Institute (MI):

  • Certificate.
  • Private (For-Profit).

Abilene Christian University (TX):

  • Associates.
  • Bachelors.
  • Certificate.
  • Doctoral.
  • Masters.
  • Post-Bachelors.
  • Post-Masters.
  • Private (Non Profit).

Abington Memorial Hospital Dixon School of Nursing (PA):

  • Certificate.
  • Private (Non Profit).

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (GA):

  • Associates.
  • Bachelors.
  • Public.

Academy for Careers and Technology (SC):

  • Certificate.
  • Public.

Academy for Nursing and Health Occupations (FL):

  • Associates.
  • Certificate.
  • Private (Non Profit).

Academy of Careers and Technology (WV):

  • Certificate.
  • Public.

Access Careers (NY):

  • Certificate.
  • Private (For-Profit).

Adams State University (CO):

  • Associates.
  • Bachelors.
  • Doctoral.
  • Masters.
  • Public.

Adelphi University (NY):

  • Associates.
  • Bachelors.
  • Certificate.
  • Doctoral.
  • Masters.
  • Post-Bachelors.
  • Post-Master.
  • Private (Non Profit).

Adirondack Community College (NY):

  • Associates.
  • Certificate.
  • Public.

Adult and Community Education-Hudson (OH):

  • Certificate.
  • Public.

Advance Science Institute (FL):

  • Certificate.
  • Private (For-Profit).

Advanced College (CA):

  • Associates.
  • Certificate.
  • Private (For-Profit).

Adventist University of Health Sciences (FL):

  • Associates.
  • Bachelors.
  • Doctoral.
  • Masters.
  • Private (Non Profit).

Aiken Technical College (SC):

  • Associates.
  • Certificate.
  • Public.

Aims Community College (CO):

  • Associates.
  • Certificate.
  • Public.

Akron School of Practical Nursing (OH):

  • Certificate.
  • Public.