Nursing Assistant Programs

What Is It Like to Work as a Nursing Assistant?

Most nursing assistants (NAs) are employed by nursing facilities (also called nursing homes) that offer rehabilitation services, assisted living, and long-term care. The work involves basic patient care such as feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, transporting, and other duties such as vital signs and some paperwork - all under the supervision of nurses or doctors. NAs can also work in hospitals, doctor's offices, correctional facilities, or in home care.

You must be in good health and undergo a criminal background check prior to employment. Having a desire to help people, being dependable, and being able to work as part of a team are essential qualities for NAs.

For a detailed overview of a career as a nursing assistant, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Nursing Assistant Education

NA training programs are typically four to 18 weeks in duration, after which you are given a certificate of completion or a diploma. Shorter programs are ideal for people with healthcare experience or for those who want to qualify for the state certification exam in a short amount of time. Longer programs are good for those who need more hands-on care experience. Classes teach patient care skills and how to measure vital signs such as temperature and blood pressure. Expanded programs may include courses in body mechanics, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, infection control, and communication skills.

You can take NA courses if you are already working or in school. Training programs can be found in high schools, vocational-technical schools, and community or junior colleges. Some American Red Cross chapters and nursing care facilities also offer courses. Many programs offer evening and weekend classes. Some have an online component.

There are also programs such as the Advantage Career Institute Medical Assistant program and other Medical Assistant (and related) programs that are created for entry level healthcare workers.

Entry requirements vary by program and school but in many cases, you do not need a high school diploma to enter an NA training program. To become certified or find a job, however, you may need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Certified Nursing Assistant Programs

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) undergo about 75 hours of additional training and pass a state competency exam. Most nursing facilities require you to be certified. Contact your state’s board of nursing to find out about certification requirements and examinations.

If you want to take care of people but do not want to undergo classroom training or testing, consider becoming a home care or personal aide.  These positions do not usually require a high school diploma, and you are trained on the job in tasks such as cooking, light housekeeping, personal care, and emergency and safety precautions.

To move on to other healthcare fields, you will need additional training. The most common careers for former nursing assistants are medical assistants, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses. For any of these positions you need a high school diploma and additional education. To be a nurse you also need to pass a state licensing exam. For more information about requirements for these careers, check out the American Association of Medical Assistants, the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses or the American Nurses Association.

Becoming a CNA

By Nicole Galan

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are important members of the healthcare team, helping the patient with their most basic physical and emotional needs. They assist the patient in performing basic self-care activities: walking to the bathroom, eating, drinking, dressing and bathing.

For bed-bound patients, CNAs perform total care: giving bed baths, feeding them, and changing their position every two hours to prevent bedsores. This can be a very physical job because CNAs are on their feet for many hours of the day, and must be strong enough to turn or help move patients.

While not formally allowed to assess their patients, CNAs are often the first to notice that something may be wrong. This is simply because the CNA gets to know her patients very well. Caring for people the way that they do allows nursing assistants to develop strong and caring relationships with their patients. Due to the intimate nature of their work, nursing assistants must be sensitive, trustworthy and compassionate.

Nursing assistants frequently work in hospitals, long-term care facilities and in homecare. They work with all ages and all patient populations, although in very critical situations, the CNA may need to perform patient care with the nurse present.

“Certified nursing assistants frequently work in hospitals, long-term care facilities and in homecare.”

Their facility’s policies will dictate a lot of what CNAs are allowed to do. Some hospitals will allow them to take vital signs or blood glucose readings; others will not.

To become a CNA, you must attend a training program that may last four to sixteen weeks. The training consists of time spent in the classroom, clinical setting and laboratory. A practical and written exam is given at the end of the training program. After passing the exam, candidates must submit all of their paperwork directly to the State Board of Nursing, who will issue the certification. Once certified, the CNA must complete a certain number of continuing education credits each year to stay in good standing. Check with your state nursing board for more information about their requirements.

List of Programs

Programs That May Be Currently Accepting Applicants
Aiken Technical College
Aiken, South Carolina
  • Pre-Nursing CertificateACEN
Allegany College of Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
  • NursingACEN
  • Nursing Assistant/Geriatric AideACEN
Anne Arundel Community College
Arnold, Maryland
  • Patient Care Technician/Geriatric Nursing AssistantACEN
Arapahoe Community College
Littleton, Colorado
  • Nurse AideACEN
Arizona Western College
Yuma, Arizona
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Arkansas Northeastern College
Blytheville, Arkansas
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Baptist School of Health Professions
San Antonio, Texas
  • Certified Nurse AssistantACEN
Beebe Medical Center
Lewes, Delaware
  • Nursing Assistant ProgramACEN
Bellevue College
Bellevue, Washington
  • Nursing Assistant CertifiedACEN
Bemidji State University
Bemidji, Minnesota
  • Nursing AssistantCCNE
Bevill State Community College
Jasper, Alabama
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Blackhawk Technical College
Janesville, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
  • Nursing Assistant-AdvancedACEN
Bluegrass Community & Technical College
Lexington, Kentucky
  • Nurse AideACEN
BryanLGH College of Health Sciences
Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Basic Nursing AssistantACEN
Canadian Valley Technology Center
Chickasha, Oklahoma
  • Advanced Acute Care Nursing Assistant (Pre-Nursing)ACEN
Capital Area Career Center
Springfield, Illinois
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Carl Sandburg College
Galesburg, Illinois
  • Nurse AssistantACEN
Central Arizona College
Coolidge, Arizona
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Central New Mexico Community College
Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Central Ohio Technical College
Newark, Ohio
  • State Tested Nurse AidesACEN
Central Wyoming College
Riverton, Wyoming
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Chaffey College
Rancho Cucamonga, California
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Chemeketa Community College
Salem, Oregon
  • Basic Nurse AssistantACEN
Chippewa Valley Technical College
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Chisholm Trail Technology Center
Omega, Oklahoma
  • Advanced Acute Care Nursing Assistant (Pre-Nursing)ACEN
College of DuPage
Glen Ellyn, Illinois
  • Basic Nursing AssistantACEN
College of Lake County
Grayslake, Illinois
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
College of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Nursing Assistant CertificateACEN
College of the Desert
Palm Desert, California
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Collin County Community College District
McKinney, Texas
  • Online Certified Nurse AssistantACEN
Columbia Basin College
Pasco, Washington
  • Online Nursing Assistant CertificationACEN
Community College of Baltimore County
Baltimore, Maryland
  • Online Nursing AssistantACEN
Community College of Beaver County
Monaca, Pennsylvania
  • Nurse AidACEN
Coppin State University
Baltimore, Maryland
  • Certified Nursing AssistantCCNE
  • Certified Nursing Assistant Training ProgramACEN
Dalton State College
Dalton, Georgia
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Davidson County Community College
Lexington, North Carolina
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Davis Applied Technology College
Kaysville, Utah
  • Nurse AssistantACEN
Daytona State College
Daytona Beach, Florida
  • Nurse Aide and OrderlyACEN
  • Patient Care AssistantACEN
Delta College
University Center, Michigan
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Deltla Montrose Community College
Delta, Colorado
  • Nursing AideACEN
Des Moines Area Community College
Ankeny, Iowa
  • Nurse Aide Training ProgramACEN
Durham Technical Community College
Durham, North Carolina
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
East Central Community College
Decatur, Mississippi
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell
Roswell, New Mexico
  • Nursing Assistant ProgramACEN
El Camino Community College
Torrance, California
  • Certified Nurse AssistantACEN
Elgin Community College
Elgin, Illinois
  • Basic Nurse Assistant TrainingACEN
Emily Griffith Technical College
Denver, Colorado
  • Nursing Assistant
Estrella Mountain Community College
Avondale, Arizona
  • Nurse Assistant ProgramACEN
Everett Community College
Everett, Washington
  • Nursing Assistant CertifiedACEN
Fayetteville Technical Community College
Fayetteville, North Carolina
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Fletcher Technical Community College
Houma, Louisiana
  • Nurse Assistant ProgramACEN
Fox Valley Technical College
Appleton, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
  • Online Nursing AssistantACEN
Front Range Community College - Boulder County Campus
Longmont, Colorado
  • Nurse Aide TrainingACEN
Front Range Community College - Larimer Campus
Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Nurse Aide TrainingACEN
Gadsden State Community College
Gadsden, Alabama
  • Nursing Assistant ProgramACEN
Garden City Community College
Garden City, Kansas
  • Geriatric Aide Assistant/Certified Nurse AideACEN
Gateway Community College
Phoenix, Arizona
  • Nurse AssistingACEN
Gateway Technical College
Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Geneva General Hospital
Geneva, New York
  • CNA ProgramACEN
Germanna Community College - Locust Grove Campus
Locust Grove, Virginia
  • Certified Nurses AideACEN
Glendale Community College
Glendale, Arizona
  • Online Nursing AssistantACEN
Global Health Nurse Training Services
Alexandria, Virginia
  • Nurse Aide ProgramACEN
Great Basin College
Elko, Nevada
  • Online Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Gulf Coast Community College
Panama City, Florida
  • Online Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College
Montgomery, Alabama
  • Online Nursing AssistingACEN
Harrisburg Area Community College
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Online Nurse AideACEN
Harry S. Truman College
Chicgao, Illinois
  • Online Nurse AssistantACEN
Highline Community College
Des Moines, Washington
  • Online Nursing AssistantACEN
Hopkinsville Community College
Hopkinsville, Kentucky
  • Online Nurse AideACEN
Illinois Valley Community College
Oglesby, Illinois
  • Online Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Indian Capital Technology Center
Sallisaw, Oklahoma
  • Online Advanced Acute Nursing AssistantACEN
Indian River State College
Fort Pierce, Florida
  • Online Nurse AssistantACEN
Inver Hills Community College & Century College
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
  • Nursing Assistant CertificateACEN
J Sargeant Reynolds Community College
Richmond, Virginia
  • Certified Nurses AideACEN
Jefferson State Community College
Birmingham, Alabama
  • Online Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Kaskaskia College
Centralia, Illinois
  • Nurse AssistantACEN
Lake Land College
Mattoon, Illinois
  • Nurse AssistingACEN
Lakeshore Technical College
Cleveland, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Lakeview College of Nursing
Danville, Illinois
  • Basic Nurse AssistantCCNE
Lansing Community College
Lansing, Michigan
  • Nurse Aide: Acute & Long-TermACEN
Laramie County Community College
Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Laredo Community College
Laredo, Texas
  • Nurse AssistantACEN
Lawson State Community College
Birmingham, Alabama
  • Home Health AideACEN
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Lincoln Land Community College
Springfield, Illinois
  • Nurse AssistantACEN
Linfield College
Portland, Oregon
  • Certified Nursing AssistantCCNE
Lone Star College - Cy-Fair
Cypress, Texas
  • Nurse AideACEN
Lone Star College - Kingwood
Kingwood, Texas
  • Nurse AideACEN
  • Nursing Assistant CertificateACEN
Lone Star College - Montgomery
Conroe, Texas
  • Nurse AideACEN
  • Nursing Assistant CertificateACEN
Lone Star College - North Harris
Houston, Texas
  • Nurse AideACEN
  • Nursing Assistant CertificateACEN
Lone Star College - Tomball
Tomball, Texas
  • Nurse AideACEN
  • Nursing Assistant CertificateACEN
Lorain County Community College
Elyria, Ohio
  • Nurse AideACEN
Lower Columbia College
Longview, Washington
  • Nursing Assistant CertificateACEN
Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Madisonville Community College
Madisonville, Kentucky
  • Nurse Aide State RegistryACEN
Marion Technical College
Marion, Ohio
  • Nurse AideACEN
Mercer County Community College
Trenton, New Jersey
  • Direct Health Care ProviderACEN
Mercy College of Health Sciences
Des Moines, Iowa
  • Certified Nursing AssistantCCNE
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Meridian Community College
Meridian, Mississippi
  • Health Care AssistantACEN
Metro Technology Centers
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Nurse AideACEN
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Metropolitan Community College
Omaha, Nebraska
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Mid-America Technology Center
Wayne, Oklahoma
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Mid-State Technical College
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
  • Nursing assistantsACEN
Midland Lutheran College
Fremont, Nebraska
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Milwaukee Area Technical College
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Bilingual Nursing AssistantACEN
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Minneapolis Community & Technical College
Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Nursing Assistant/Home Health AideACEN
Minnesota West Community & Technical College
Worthington, Minnesota
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Mohave Community College
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Monroe County Community College
Monroe, Michigan
  • Certified Nurse AideACEN
Moore Norman Technology Center
Norman, Oklahoma
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
  • Nurse AideACEN
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Moraine Park Technical College
West Bend, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Moraine Valley Community College
Palos Hills, Illinois
  • Basic Nurse AssistantACEN
Mott Community College
Flint, Michigan
  • Nurse Aide PreparationACEN
Mountainland Applied Technology College
Orem, Utah
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
National Park Community College at Hot Springs
Hot Springs, Arkansas
  • Nursing Assistant ProgramACEN
Nebraska Methodist College
Omaha, Nebraska
  • Certified Medication AideCCNE
  • Certified Nursing AssistantCCNE
New Mexico Junior College
Hobbs, New Mexico
  • Nurse AideACEN
Nicolet Area Technical College
Rhinelander, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Normandale Community College
Bloomington, Minnesota
  • Nursing Assistant CertificateACEN
North Shore Community College
Danvers, Massachusetts
  • Nurse Assistant/Home Health Aide CertificateACEN
Northcentral Technical College
Wausau, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Northeast Community College
Norfolk, Nebraska
  • Basic Nurse AideACEN
Northeast Technology Center
Pryor, Oklahoma
  • Advanced Acute Care Nursing AssistantACEN
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantsACEN
Northland Community and Technical College
Thief River Falls, Minnesota
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Northland Pioneer College
Holbrook, Arizona
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Northwest College
Powell, Wyoming
  • Online Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Northwest-Shoals Community College
Phil Campbell, Alabama
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Oakton Community College
Des Plaines, Illinois
  • Basic Nurse Assistant TrainingACEN
Ogden Weber Applied Technology College
Ogden, Utah
  • Nursing AssistingACEN
Olympic College
Bremerton, Washington
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Otero Junior College
La Junta, Colorado
  • Certified Nurse aideACEN
Paradise Valley Community College
Phoenix, Arizona
  • Nurse AssistantACEN
Parkland College
Champaign, Illinois
  • Nurse Assistant CertificateACEN
Pasco-Hernando Community College
New Port Richey, Florida
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Patrick Henry Community College
Martinsville, Virginia
  • Nurse Aide TrainingACEN
Pearl River Community College
Poplarville, Mississippi
  • Nurse AideACEN
Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas
Helena-West Helena, Arkansas
  • Nursing Assistant ProgramACEN
Phoenix College
Phoenix, Arizona
  • Online Nurse Assisting CertificateACEN
Piedmont Virginia Community College
Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Pierce College Puyallup
Puyallup, Washington
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
  • Certified Nursing Assistant -Ibest FoundationsACEN
Prairie State College
Chicago Heights, Illinois
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Premiere Education Group LLC - Salter School of Nursing
Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Licensed Nursing AssistantACEN
Prince George's Community College
Largo, Maryland
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Pueblo Community College
Pueblo, Colorado
  • Nurse AideACEN
Quinsigamond Community College
Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Red River Technology Center
Duncan, Oklahoma
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Richard J. Daley College
Chicago, Illinois
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Richland Community College
Decatur, Illinois
  • Nurse AssistantACEN
Ridgewater College
Willmar, Minnesota
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
River Valley Community College
Claremont, New Hampshire
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Riverland Community College
Austin, Minnesota
  • Nursing Assistant/Home Health AideACEN
Saint Paul College - A Community & Technical College
St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Nursing Assistant or Home Health AideACEN
San Joaquin Delta College
Stockton, California
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
San Jose/Evergreen Community College District
San Jose, California
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Santa Barbara City College
Santa Barbara, California
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Santa Fe Community College
Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Certificate in Nursing AssistantACEN
Scottsdale Community College
Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Certificate of Completion in Nurse AssistingACEN
Shelton State Community College
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Nursing Assistant and Home Health AideACEN
Shoreline Community College
Seattle, Washington
  • Nursing Assistant CertifiedACEN
Sinclair Community College
Dayton, Ohio
  • Nurse Aide TrainingACEN
Skagit Valley College
Mount Vernon, Washington
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Snead State Community College
Boaz, Alabama
  • Certificate Nursing AssistantACEN
South Puget Sound Community College
Olympia, Washington
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
South Suburban College
South Holland, Illinois
  • Basic Nurse Assistant TrainingACEN
Southeast Arkansas College
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College
Cumberland, Kentucky
  • Nursing Assistant & Medicaid Nurse AideACEN
Southern Oklahoma Technology Center
Ardmore, Oklahoma
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Southern Union State Community College
Opelika, Alabama
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Southern University at Shreveport
Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Southwest Georgia Technical College
Thomasville, Georgia
  • Nurse Aide Technical CertificateACEN
Southwest Mississippi Community College
Summit, Mississippi
  • Nurse AssistantACEN
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
Fennimore, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Southwestern College
Chula Vista, California
  • Certified Nursing AssistantsACEN
Southwestern Illinois College
Belleville, Illinois
  • Nurse AssistantACEN
Spartanburg Community College
Spartanburg, South Carolina
  • Certified Nursing AssistantACEN
Tacoma Community College
Tacoma, Washington
  • Nursing Assistant CertifiedACEN
Temple College
Temple, Texas
  • Nurse Aide CertificationACEN
Trident Technical College
Charleston, South Carolina
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Triton College
River Grove, Illinois
  • Nurse Assistant CertificateACEN
Tulsa Community College
Tulsa, Northern Mariana Islands
  • Online Certified Nursing Assistant Career Ladder ProgramACEN
Tulsa Technology Center
Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Nurse AideACEN
Uintah Basin Applied Technology College
Roosevelt, Utah
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Umpqua Community College
Roseburg, Oregon
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville
Batesvile, Arkansas
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
University of Hawaii-Kauai Community College
Lihue, Hawaii
  • Certified Nurses AideACEN
Washburn Institute of Technology
Topeka, Kansas
  • Certified Nurse AideACEN
Washtenaw Community College
Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Nursing Assistant Skills TrainingACEN
Waukesha County Technical College
Pewaukee, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Wenatchee Valley College
Wenatchee, Washington
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
West Georgia Technical College
Waco, Georgia
  • Nurses Aide and Geriatric CareACEN
West Kentucky Community & Technical College
Paducah, Kentucky
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Western Iowa Tech Community College
Sioux City, Iowa
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Western Technical College
La Crosse, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Whatcom Community College
Bellingham, Washington
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Wichita Area Technical College
Wichita, Kansas
  • Certified Nurse AideACEN
William Rainey Harper College
Palatine, Illinois
  • Certified Nursing Assistant CertificateACEN
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
Shell Lake, Wisconsin
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
Yavapai College
Prescott, Arizona
  • Nursing AssistantACEN
York County School of Technology
York, Pennsylvania
  • Nursing AssistantACEN

Still Looking for a Nursing Program?

Here are some of the most popular nursing programs. On each page you will find a detailed writeup of the program, specific courses, and even schools that offer that program that are currently accepting applicants.