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How Much Are CNA Classes?

It’s mandatory to undergo a state-accredited training program to get certified as a nurse aide. However, before enrolling in a CNA program in your state, you must know the costs associated with the program. CNA programs cost on average $1,300, although the tuition fee largely depends on the school or institute from where you are planning to take the program. If you are unable to pay the program costs, you can cover the entire expenses via financial assistance. After completing the program, students are eligible to take the CNA examination.

Since these programs are shorter than the average nursing program, as other nursing courses like registered nurse (RN) or licensed professional nursing (LPN) programs, the CNA Program is not as expensive. Additionally, you don’t need a degree to become a CNA. Instead, you can get a diploma or a certificate through a CNA program. Most CNA programs last from four to 12 weeks and consist of classroom training and clinical skills.

You can also earn a two-year associate’s degree, which can double your tuition compared to a diploma program. However, your knowledge will also double, as CNA students who graduate with a degree are also eligible to work as RNs without a CNA-to-RN bridge program.

Other Fees Associated with the CNA Program

Besides tuition, you may face additional expenses for application fees, books, uniforms, and other supplies. The fees vary from school to school.

Program Supplies and Fees

Like any other class, CNA programs have a list of required supplies that students must purchase before classes start. These supplies include:

  • Textbooks;
  • Educational DVDs;
  • Uniform scrubs;
  • Non-slip tennis shoes;
  • A watch to count seconds;
  • A stethoscope;
  • And note-taking supplies.

Some supplies are included in the program fees, so it’s important to know which are included and which you are responsible for obtaining. On average, the fees from textbooks, program DVDs, and other study materials can range from $500-$1500.

CNA programs typically include other miscellaneous fees like:

  • Technology fees ($15-$20);
  • Lab fees ($15-$20);
  • And application fees ($15-$20).

Medical Exam

Before beginning work as a CNA, students must undergo a physical exam to ensure they are physically fit to perform various CNA duties. Additionally, they must also be tested for tuberculosis (TB) and show proof of current immunizations. All in all, the medical exam consists of:

  • A purified protein derivative (PPD) test for TB;
  • Proof of immunization;
  • A Hepatitis B Vaccine Series;
  • A completed medical form stating the student is physically fit;
  • A drug screen;
  • And a flu vaccine.

CNAs are very active and participate in bathing and lifting patients, cleaning rooms, and lifting heaving equipment. Additionally, they may work with patients that have compromised immune systems. That is why it’s important for CNAs to be in top physical condition before they start work.

These exams cost $20 on average, but it’s important to check with your state health department as some will conduct TB tests for free.

Criminal Background Check

CNAs work with many vulnerable people and therefore must undergo a criminal background check before they can start working. It’s important to note that CNAs cannot work or be licensed if they have committed certain offenses, including:

  • Violent crimes, like homicide, assault, and battery;
  • Theft-related crimes;
  • Drug-related crimes;
  • Elder or child abuse.

Typically, routine traffic offenses like speeding tickets do not deter people from becoming CNAs. However, if the driving offense is more serious, like vehicular homicide or driving while intoxicated, then you may have problems getting certified.

Criminal background checks for employment generally cost upwards of $15. However, you should check with your state Nursing Board since costs can vary from state to state.

Certification Fees

Nursing assistants must pass a CNA certification exam to begin working. This exam normally costs around $90 to $125, however, fees will vary from state to state. Additionally, some programs will cover the exam fee in their tuition. Practice tests are available prior to sitting the official exam in order to help you prepare. After completing the exam, you will spend another $50 to register with the state and obtain proof of your certification.

Alternatives to Cover CNA Program Costs

There are several options to obtain a discounted or free CNA program. While grants and scholarships can help, there are other ways to obtain a CNA education that you may not know about.

American Red Cross CNA Program

The American Red Cross offers a CNA training program with hands-on learning and real-world experience. Industry experts collaborated to create a program that meets federal and state standards with flexible class times. Additionally, graduates are eligible to take their state exam.

The American Red Cross charges $1,250 for textbooks and the CNA completion certificate. Half must be paid in advance for the registration fee, and the other half must be paid a week before classes start. The exam fee is $110 which is made payable to Prometric. The Red Cross also offers grants to deserving candidates. To be eligible you must be working 20 hours or less every week, or earn less than $8 per hour.

Medicaid and Medicare Facilities

Facilities that receive Medicaid or Medicare also endorse CNA programs. They are required by law to pay for CNA training for their employees. If you are employed before the completion of your program by one of these facilities, they will cover your tuition costs. Likewise, if you are hired within a year of completing your program, the facility will reimburse you for all or a portion of your tuition. In exchange, you must agree to work for the facility for a specified amount of time.

Online CNA Classes

Students can take accredited online classes to obtain their CNA certification. These classes allow for more flexibility, however, some classes will require in-person classes to develop clinical skills. They also allow students to attend higher-quality institutions without having to move. However, you can still gain all the knowledge you need to pass your certification exam. The online curriculum covers the same courses as in-person classes, including physiology, infection control, the human body, and medical terminology. These classes typically cost less than traditional classes — some as low as $500. The cost will depend on which school you choose.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was enacted in 2014 to replace the Workforce Investment Act. The first title of the WIOA allows job training and related services to unemployed or underemployed individuals. This means, if you are unemployed and cannot afford the CNA program costs, you could gain financial assistance for pursuing the program under the WIOA.

To gain employment services under the act, you must first visit an American Job Center. These centers will help kickstart your benefits. Every person is eligible for WIOA, however, your level of assistance will be determined by what you need. The American Job Center will assign you a caseworker who will determine the level of assistance and guide you to the right programs needed for employment.

There are many benefits to becoming a CNA, most of which include being a positive force in society. CNAs have many responsibilities that require the utmost care. Although becoming a CNA can seem overwhelming, there are various resources, grants, scholarships, and programs available to help you become a professional in the healthcare industry.