There is a great demand for certified nursing assistants, which is an entry-level position in healthcare. But free or cheap CNA classes can be difficult to find. Well look at options where you may be able to find them.
Cost of CNA programs: Not free or cheap!
CNA classes are offered through 6-week programs, normally.
The CNA program of the American Red Cross is around 160 hours, while most states require a minimum of 150 hours.
A high school diploma is not required, but certification is strict. A background check is run for all applicants.
One of the plus points of becoming a CNA is the short period required for training and certification.
However, one of the drawbacks would be the high cost of the courses. A 6-week CNA program typically costs between $500 and $600. More expensive options may cost as prohibitive as $1,500.
There are options that may cost lower tuition, from $200 to $400, but this is exclusive of other add-on costs to cover for textbooks and materials, exam fees and others.
Applying for scholarship grants can also be an option for those who are eligible.
Where to look for cheap CNA program options
Here are potential places to check out for cheaper CNA classes:
Cheap CNA classes offered online is an option because the institution offering it cuts on significant overhead costs compared to the campus-based mode of instruction.
On the part of the student, it will also be cheaper because it lessens cost for commuting and other daily student expenses.
Even online courses, especially a cheap CNA course, will require several hours of physical attendance for laboratory, so consider courses offered near your location.
An online course may cost around $250 for tuition. Books, immunizations, drug screening, name tags, Basic Life Support (BLS) class, CPR class, and background check fees may add up to another $250.
Courses offered by healthcare facilities
Healthcare and nursing care facilities often have a shortage in manpower, and they employ CNAs four times more than RNs.
This shortage pushes the management of these facilities to train potential healthcare workers.
If there is such a facility in your locality, inquire if they have training programs for CNAs.
It is likely that these programs will be offered at low cost or free, with a contract that binds you to work for them for a specific period of time upon completion of the training program.
Hospitals also enter into agreements with interested and qualified students to pay for the students’ tuition and books in a community college.
In return, the student works for the hospital for a specified period of time upon completion of the cheap CNA class.
Community colleges are the usual resource for vocational and short-term courses including CNA.
Costs are generally lower but this depends on the location, too.
In upstate New York, a vocational school will charge over $1400 for tuition, books, uniform and state certification for a month-long CNA course.
A 160-hour CNA program in Washington State costs $725. In Oklahoma, an 80-hour CNA course offered by community colleges costs around $500, inclusive of supplies and books, or $300 for tuition only.
Government-funded hospitals and healthcare facilities
Inquire from government-funded Medicare and Medicaid-accredited facilities.
Free CNA training programs are often given by these facilities to attract potential health workers, such as CNAs.
In exchange for the free CNA training, it is usually required that you work in the facility from 6-12 months.
Some may find the agreement restrictive, but it is actually a great way to make sure you have a job after the training.
It is advantageous both ways – the hospital is assured of a trained pool of CNAs, and the student completes a course for free and lands a job immediately afterwards.
Inquire about your Local Nurse Aide Registry
Check out your state’s registry for local nurse aide, or go to the NCSBN site for a listing of registry contact details in your state.
Inquire about accredited CNA programs so you can be sure that your shortlist of schools comprise of state-accredited programs.
Take a look at possibilities about scholarships, too.
Hospitals and schools are the places to seek out first. Next, inquire from your state’s Employment Department for assistance, such as Adult Continuing Education or education subsidy for single parents, if these are categories where you may qualify.
Why become a CNA?
The rise in the ageing population increases the demand for more people in the healthcare system.
More healthcare professionals are themselves approaching retirement age.
In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 21% growth in CNA employment from 2012 to 2022. CNAs work in various healthcare settings – hospitals, nursing care facilities, clinics and laboratories.
They may even work freelance by providing health assistance in the homes of sick, handicapped and elderly patients.
Generally, CNAs work under the supervision of physicians or registered nurses in providing medical care.
They perform routine patient care, such as when they assist in patients’ daily life activities – getting patients out of bed, helping them bathe and groom, feeding them, and assisting them do regular exercise and other activities.
I hope this helps you find free or cheap CNA classes.