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Learning from a Distance with Online Classes

Distance learning is an excellent option for today’s busy CNA students. While going to a community college may be a good choice for certain types of students, over 5.5 million students have discovered that online learning helps them fit higher education into their busy lifestyles. Many potential students may already be holding down a job or may be stay-at-home moms who are looking for ways to learn at odd hours of the day and night.

Distance learning gives individuals freedom. It gives them options to chat with instructors and other students and to study at the best time of day for them. In addition, online CNA students will still have plenty of time to practice skills because online courses help with setting up hands-on training hours in a student’s local health care facility. Today, individuals can often find online nursing schools right in their home states.

Enrollment Rate

Students taking ONLY online classes

Fall 2013 – 2,659,203 Students

Fall 2012 – 2,638,653 Students

Fall 2011 – 1,020,716 Students

How to Become a CNA Online

The process of becoming a CNA with online classes is not much different from the traditional route of going to a campus or training center near you. Choosing to believe in yourself and move forward with an online class is a huge accomplishment in itself, and we’d like to help make the rest of your journey to becoming a CNA as smooth as possible. We’ve provided a step-by-step process, pre-certification, and post-certification to help aide you.

Pre-Certification Steps

Step 1) Evaluate Yourself (Self Awareness)

Online learning is an excellent option for millions of students today, but not everyone is cut out for this unique style of learning. Potential students must evaluate their strengths and weaknesses to determine if this is a type of learning that they should pursue or if they would function better in a traditional classroom setting.

Online students must be able to be self-starters who can work independently. They will need to schedule time every week to read the assigned material, work on assignments and papers and complete assigned lectures. They must be good at creating plans for themselves and must be self-disciplined. In addition, online students need to be good at using a computer and working online. Students should have the necessary skills to send emails, log on to online classes, work online video players, use chat functions and write documents using Word software.

While online learning is a great boon for very busy students, this is not to say that it is right for everyone. Some people just learn better in a traditional classroom where they can hear a lecture, ask questions and get immediate answers and not have to worry about computer skills.

Step 2) Find a Training Program Online

Finding an excellent training program online is not as easy as just picking the first search engine result. Rather, students should research potential online colleges to determine if they will be a good fit.

The most important option to look for in an online school is that it is accepted by the student’s state for CNA certification. It is important to note that not all states allow online credentials. In addition, the school should be accredited. Not only is this a requirement of many states but also it ensures that the school or course meets certain criteria, such as high academic standards or the number of credit hours. In addition, online institutions should give students the correct number of hours of hands-on practice in a local health care facility. Students can also look up online reviews of the school to see how former students felt about the classes, teachers, and format.

Most online CNA classes take between three to eight weeks depending on the state. Cost varies by state as well as by institution. For example, private institutions nearly always cost more than public schools do. However, most programs cost between $800 to $1,500, not including textbooks.

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Step 3) Take your Course Online

Online CNA courses have similar formats to traditional CNA courses in that they cover the same subjects and have many of the same assignments. For example, in both types of classes, students will learn about human anatomy, residents’ rights, infection control, vital signs, and nutrition. They will also both have periodic examinations to test knowledge.

However, online classes can be taken at any time of day or night, seven days per week. Students will have access to quizzes and tests when they get through a certain amount of material, and they will also have access to lectures. While all students will have to perform a certain number of hands-on clinical hours, online students may have to find their own health care facilities for this task although some online schools help with this. Both types of classes are aimed at giving students the background and knowledge they will need to pass the state’s competency evaluation and become a beginning CNA. The classroom lectures are designed to give students the theory they need to pass the written portion of the test while the clinical hours are designed to help students pass the skills examination.

Step 4) Register for State Competency Exam

After completing a training program, CNA students must apply to take their state’s competency examination. Most states give students a one to a two-year window to take the test. However, those who take the test as soon as possible following training often have the highest passage rates.

Nearly all tests are designed in two parts. The knowledge section tests CNA theory and is usually performed with pencil and paper or on a computer. The skills section requires students to demonstrate several skills in front of a nurse aide evaluator. Students must pass both sections before being registered as CNAs. The typical cost for the test is between $75 and $120. Most states allow students to take each section a total of three times before requiring them to retrain. Passage rates depend on the school, and most schools post their passage rates on their Websites.

Post-Certification Steps

Step 1) Submit Application for Nurses Aide Registry

After passing the state’s competency examination, a student should apply to be placed on his or her state’s nurse aide registry. This is vital for CNAs who want to work in licensed facilities for long-term jobs. However, it may not be required for temporary jobs or jobs at unlicensed facilities. The registry is usually part of the state’s Department of Health. The process requires filling out an application, sending in proof of completing a state-approved CNA training program and sending in the passing competency examination score.

Most states do not charge for registry placement although some charge $10 to $25. Most CNAs are listed within 5 to 10 days after passing the examination. All applicants will be required to submit to a criminal background check, and no CNA will be allowed to recertify if they are on the state’s abuse registry for patient neglect or maltreatment.

Step 2) Maintain an Active CNA Certification

Most states allow CNAs to check the status of their licenses online. It is vital to have an active license in good standing with the state to keep working in licensed facilities. In fact, most states require employers to check license verification online before hiring a CNA.

States have a variety of ways to keep CNA licenses valid and active. Some states allow CNAs to remain active as long as they work a certain number of hours in two years. However, the majority of states do require CNAs to renew their licenses every two years. To renew, CNAs normally have to work a certain number of hours and may need to have 24 hours of in-services or continuing education every two years. The state’s requiring renewal usually send out renewal reminders in the mail for online or paper renewals.

Optional) Transferring your CNA Certification Out-of-State

Most states practice reciprocity or endorsement, which allows CNAs to transfer their licenses into a new state should they move. Every state has different requirements, but the general requirements are similar. CNAs should have active licenses that are in good standing with no complaints of patient abuse or neglect. They may also need to have worked a certain number of hours in the past two years or may need to prove that they completed a training program and competency examination in their previous state that matched the requirements of their new state. CNAs who do not meet these requirements may have to retake the competency test and may occasionally need to attend another training program. In many states, this process is free while others require a small fee, such as $25, to process the application. In addition, the previous state may charge CNAs a small fee for verifying certifications.

Optional) Options for Continuing Education

Individuals who have the nursing skills as well as the interpersonal skills to be a CNA may find that they want to continue their careers in the health care field. A CNA is an excellent stepping-stone to numerous other careers, such as licensed practical nurse, registered nurse or medical assistant. Many CNAs find that they can use their CNA training credits to count for part of their further education and may find that it only takes a year or less to become a licensed practical nurse rather than two years. Many online schools offer these educational choices for students who want the time and freedom to take classes when it suits them. In addition, individuals should remember that most of these alternate careers have much higher salaries and better benefits than CNAs have.

Is Online Education Right for Me?

How the Quiz Works

At the end of the quiz, you will be given a score out of 60. Please see the scoring rubric below:

  • 20 or more: More than capable
  • Between 11-20: Could work
  • Less than 10: May not work
Self Assessment Quiz

Individuals must evaluate themselves to determine if they possess the right characteristics to make online learning successful for them. While online classes give people the freedom to live life on their own timetables, these same classes may be a waste of time and money for those who learn better through live lectures and hands-on learning. Students should take the 10 question self-assessment quiz below before considering a class online.

Pros & Cons of Learning Online

An online CNA course will give students the same information and number of hours of training as a traditional CNA class would. Students who choose online courses can expect to have daily or weekly assignments. They will most likely need to sign in to a class a certain number of times per week and post on online forums. They may also need to log a certain number of study hours to progress with the rest of the class.

To learn well, online students will need to be motivated to do the reading and homework assignments on their own. They will need to study regularly for quizzes and examinations and will need to ask questions they have on the provided virtual bulletin boards or forums.

CNA students must determine the type of online format that works for them. Synchronous classes are used quite often and have live classes streamed online at particular times. On the other hand, asynchronous classes that use mainly nursing textbooks and online bulletin boards for learning may work better for others. Most online teachers use technology to connect with their students. This depends on the institution and the teacher, but students can expect to use YouTube to view prerecorded lectures or Skype to chat with teachers or fellow students. Other CNA programs commonly used include Adobe Connect and Blackboard.

Advantages

  • Flexibility – Being able to do what you want when you want.
  • No Expenses – Without travel cost, you save money.
  • Accessibility – Do coursework anywhere there’s a computer.
  • Self-Managed – Be the boss of your life.
  • No Disruption – Keep working while you study.

Disadvantages

  • No Face Time – No one-on-one time with your instructor.
  • New Skills Required – Can be hard if not computer savvy.
  • Time – Procrastination is the devil.
  • Stigma – Online classes have a stigma about them.
  • Isolation – Taking classes from home can be lonely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find CNA classes online?

You can search our database for CNA programs offered on the internet or you can visit the board of nursing & health department in your state of origin to find accredited online classes. In addition, you may call your local community colleges, vocational/technical schools and private institutions to find a program that’s available online. The quickest way for you to get into a CNA classes online is by selecting from the list of online schools below:

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Are online CNA classes legitimate?

There are both legitimate and non-legitimate CNA classes online. You have to be careful about the online course you choose as you need to make sure the class is recognized by the board of nursing in your state. It is also important to be sure that the class will provide the certification requirements of your local program, or that the school provides the clinical portion of the program as well. Your online class may not be legitimate if it does not teach you the following:

– Medical Terminology
– Patient Rights
– Communication and Documentation Skills
– The Role of the CNA and Other Healthcare Professionals
– The Principles of Patient Care
– Anatomy and Physiology

Are there any free CNA classes online?

CNA classes that are advertised as free are usually not accredited courses and do not contribute to your goal of certification. Free courses are most often practice tests or questions on certain subjects for graduates or nursing assistants interested in refresher courses. Before counting on a free CNA course online to satisfy your certification requirements, ensure the class is legitimatized by a grade and is part of a CNA program.

How is it possible that I can be trained online?

If you’re pursuing a new careers as a CNA online, it is necessary to have a reliable computer that is connected to the internet, a video player with working audio and enough disc space for downloading course software or materials that open into readable text on the screen. After choosing the right online course for you, simply follow the course instructions and put time aside for regular studying and progress towards your graduation goal.

Who can take CNA training online?

Anyone who wishes to enter the healthcare industry and take advantage of a steady position, a job in high demand and a high paying salary is eligible to take online classes. Depending on the state requirements for the certification examination, most that have access to a computer and the internet can start their healthcare careers in this lucrative entry level position with the use of valuable online classes for CNA training.

Are there any online CNA classes?

Yes, there are CNA classes online. You’ll find that may online courses are offered by accredited schools and colleges across the United States. Learning online is an excellent option for anyone who is juggling with family and work responsibilities. However, it is important to be sure that these classes are recognized by the board of nursing in your particular state and the educational material will satisfy the requirements of the CNA program you’ve chosen.

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