Being a Certified Nursing Assistants is a very rewarding career, but the CNA education cost stops many individuals from studying for this career. The costs involved in becoming a certified nursing assistant differ from program to program and from state to state. The great strides that medicine has taken just means that many diseases are no longer lethal, but not that they have been eradicated. This means that there are many more individuals that require medical assistance for longer periods of time, which places huge stress on professionals, hence the need for CNAs to provide support.
CNA Education Cost Differs Widely
The average CNA program can cost anything between $400 and $2 500, depending on where you elect to study. The average tuition fee for a CNA Program is between $400 and $1 000 at most institutions, but differs according to the length of the program, location, the type of educational facility and the accreditation level of the institution. The average CNA education cost in New York, for instance, averages between $1500 and $2,000
Some well-known universities offer a CNA Program at an exorbitant $2 500, which is fine if you can afford it, as they do have the most modern and technologically advanced equipment and facilities in which to train, and affiliations to the best medical facilities for the practical hands-on side of the training, but most people cannot afford these high fees.
On the other end of the scale of the CNA education cost are vocational schools and community colleges, which offer an eight-week program for as low as $250. There are also private institutions such as the American Red Cross, which offers a very reputable and highly affordable CNA Program.
Whichever program you choose, the most important thing you need to do is to make sure that the institution and the CNA Program is accredited by the state, which means that it is legitimate, authentic and meets state quality requirements.
Red Cross CNA Training
The American Red Cross has been involved in training Certified Nurse Assistants for more than twenty years, and has been a forerunner in the nursing profession for more than a century. The courses that they offer are perfect for those individuals who have financial constraints but still wish to graduate from a reputable facility.
The Red Cross offers Certified Nursing Assistant training courses throughout America, and the programs comply with federal requirements. The curriculum used across America is the same, and was compiled to comply with the set standards for every state as well as federal requirements. This transfer of skills and content knowledge is imparted to students in more than thirty chapters across the United States.
The curriculum of the CNA course is much more fast-paced than those used at community colleges or colleges, yet fully comprehensive. The hours that are required to complete the course are divided into three sections; class theory, lab practice and field-work at a health-care facility. The curriculum affords the student understanding and practical experience of attending to critical conditions, hygiene, and mobilization, sanitation, grooming and feeding of patients, which is an excellent foundation.
The CNA education cost for this expedited course, which takes a mere two months as opposed to the usual six months at the traditional educational institutions, costs between $1,000 and $2,000. This may sound like a lot, but the fact that you can complete the course in a third of the time it normally takes means that you can start working and earning much quicker. Prospective employers also regard an American Red Cross CNA job applicant favorably due to the esteem in which they hold the Red Cross training.
Different Levels Of CNA Training
Some Certified Nurse Assistant training is offered on two different levels at community colleges; the basic training, CNA 1 and the more advanced CNA 2, which is acute-care training.
The basic training consists of approximately 160 contact hours, approximately 80 hours of clinical experience and the rest is taken up by lectures and laboratory work. This often includes an American Heart Association CPR for Healthcare Professionals class, as some states require you to have a CPR card in order to sit for the State Board of Nursing certification exam.
CNA 1 Training
The CNA education cost for this portion of CNA training usually ranges around $1,000 although you may have to fork out an additional amount of around $300 for a uniform (required during the clinical phase), textbooks and the state exam fee. In addition to these costs you will have to provide proof of immunization against chicken pox, a clear TB test result or chest x-ray, and a criminal background check at your own expense prior to admission to the course.
CNA 2 Training
The CNA education cost for the acute-care portion of the program is in the region of approximately $700. The course takes approximately six weeks to complete and this training is only open to those individuals who are in possession of a current, unencumbered CNA 1 certificate and are listed on the CNA Registry. Other requirements are that you must have recent documented experience of at least 3 months work experience as a CNA 1 in a long-term care facility and proof of immunizations for chicken pox, MMR, Hepatitis B and a current clear TB test as well as a current American Heart Association CPR for Healthcare Providers card.
Over and above the $700 for the course, once accepted for the course you will need to submit to a ten-panel drug screening at a cost of $50 and a criminal background check which includes a FACIS search at a cost of about $53.
Free CNA Programs
Because there is such a demand for certified nursing assistants, and the healthcare industry is well aware of the fact that many cannot afford the CNA education cost due to the bad economy, there are many institutions that offer CNA education absolutely free of charge. This is in the form of work for education programs, which means that they will provide you with free CNA training in exchange for you working for them upon completion of the training.
- Many employers also offer free educational programs to employees wishing to further their education. If you are currently working at a medical facility, in whatever capacity and wish to become a CNA, you should approach your employer and share your dreams with them, as many firms will willingly subsidize or even fully pay for your further education, as they are eager to keep good staff. A good way to achieve this is to enroll in a part-time program, which will mean that you can continue doing your normal job whilst studying. Alternatively you could take a leave of absence in order to complete the program quicker.
- Many local hospitals also offer scholarships to those wishing to become certified nursing assistants but who lack the wherewithal to be able to afford the CNA education cost. The hospital will offer free training in return for you working for them; this is an arrangement which suits both parties as you get free training and can sit for the state licensure exam, and the hospital gains a willing and eager employee.
- Some hospitals also have partnerships with local community colleges and nursing schools, which allows them to send a certain amount of individuals for CNA training free of charge. These types of contracts work well for healthcare facilities as they are always in need of new certified nursing assistants due to the growing demand and the fact that many CNAs decide to further their studies in order to become LPNs or RNs. Many individuals use this route because of the fact that healthcare facilities generally employ more certified nursing assistants due to the lower salary they are paid.
- There are also many nursing homes offering free CNA programs to those individuals seeking employment as a certified nursing assistant. This financial aid comes in the form of scholarships or grants, and is a great way to study without having to pay a cent and be assured of employment once you have completed your studies and have passed the licensure examination. Contact your local institutions to find out whether they have such a deal to offer you.
- Another method of getting financial assistance to help with the costs of CNA training is to contact the armed forces which have a special budget especially for spouses or partners of active service men and women on free CNA programs. The armed forces also offer scholarships to those seeking to study to become a CNA and be employed in the armed forces. In exchange for the free studies you will be expected to work as part of the armed forces medical team for a certain period of time.
Free CNA programs train via classroom sessions and clinical studies, which is the practical portion of the program. Whatever you learn in the theoretical portion in the classroom, you will be expected to put into practice and hone your skills in the laboratory sessions and hands-on training in a real-world scenario.
Whichever type of CNA Program you choose, the most important factor is not the CNA education cost involved, as those can be negligible or even nil, but that you ensure institution is reputable and registered and that the program that you choose is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission.