What Is the Fastest Way to Become a CNA?

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) have a challenging, yet rewarding career. Their duties are to provide basic care for patients, from monitoring vital signs to caring for hygiene. CNAs form the “foundation” of every effective nursing staff, and while they don’t make complex diagnoses or write prescriptions, they are essential in providing optimal care and comfort to patients.

If this type of job appeals to you, there’s even more good news – this profession is generally considered one of the quickest and most affordable ways to get a leg up in the healthcare field. If you’re interested in slimming down the overall certification process, keep reading to find out a few tips on quickly becoming a CNA.

How Fast Can I Become a CNA?

In a normal CNA educational program, students expect 4 to 12 weeks of coursework. 

However, if you’re in a rush, many accelerated programs exist that can be completed in as little as two weeks. In this setting, lessons focus more specifically on passing the licensure examination. However, the student must also complete a required amount of clinical hours in accordance with state laws.

Alaska, for example, requires completion of a minimum of 140 training hours, including at least 60 classroom hours and 80 hours of lab/clinical training. On the other hand, North Carolina requires prospective CNAs to complete a state-approved nurse aide training program that lasts at least 75 hours of combined classroom and clinical work. So, consult your specific state laws on certification requirements.

Regardless of where you live, you’ll need to meet some other basic requirements beyond training hours, including a high school diploma (or equivalent), pass a background check, take the certification test, pay fees and submit for official CNA certification, usually within one to two years of passing the test.

Compared to other professions in the medical field, becoming a CNA is a relatively quick and affordable process.

How to Quickly Earn Your CNA Certification

There are several steps you can take in order to speed up the CNA certification process:

1. Take online CNA classes

Thanks to the increasing popularity of virtual learning, online courses allow you to be more flexible when it comes to completing lesson plans. Many schools offer either a fully virtual or hybrid approach that gives you more time in your schedule for completing any necessary clinical work. Find more information at our guide to online CNA classes.

2. Stack coursework within a shorter time frame

Not everyone enjoys virtual learning, and that’s OK, but in order to speed up the process when learning in person, search for a program that stacks several hours of coursework within a shorter time frame. For example, your local community college probably offers several CNA training programs across a number of timeframes.

3. Get on-the-job training

Many CNA programs offer on-the-job training. Nursing homes, hospice care and even hospitals may provide schooling or monetary support to those employees that want to pursue additional certifications. Others may offer internships or professional development opportunities that can contribute to training hour requirements.

4. Design your coursework around related subjects

For those in high school or college and are thinking about pursuing a CNA career path in the future, you can start right away – design your coursework around STEM-based, as well as psychology and humanitarian subjects. These will provide you with a better base of knowledge to start from as you work through a CNA program.

Becoming a CNA Quickly Is Possible

Not only is becoming a CNA a rewarding career path, it’s a great way to get your foot in the door as a professional in the medical world. Overall, it’s a relatively quick and affordable way to launch yourself into a new career.

Take the next steps to become a CNA by visiting your state government’s website, as well as local community colleges, vocational schools and high schools to inquire about programs. Additionally, you can research various senior homes, hospitals and other medical centers where CNAs are in high demand – they may offer job training or other third-party support to help you achieve certification.

To get started today, fill out our quick form and see the CNA classes in your area.