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How Much Does CNA Training and Certification Cost?

Jane started her career as a fully certified nursing assistant (CNA). After two years in that role, she went on to become an RN.

How much does it cost to become a CNA?

How much does it cost to become a CNA?

Becoming a CNA

When considering any product or type of training, the cost can be an important factor in your decision. Determining whether to become trained as a certified nursing assistant/aide (CNA) training is no different.

Here's what you need to know about how much CNA training costs (and some information about the certification process).

To work as a CNA in the U.S., you will need to undertake a period of training in which you will be assessed on your knowledge and practical ability. The training has two major elements: practical and theoretical. If you do not complete both parts successfully, you will not be eligible to register with your state's nursing aide registry, which means you will not be able to get a job working as a recognized CNA.

Looking at the Various Costs Involved

Unfortunately, CNA training is not going to be cheap. The expense is one of the biggest obstacles preventing people from enrolling in the course. However, if you find yourself balking at the costs, you should bear in mind what you're likely to earn once you are fully certified as a CNA. The state you live in will dictate, to a large extent, the amount you earn, but there's lots of potential out there, so you need to offset the likely cost of training with your potential future salary.

The three main costs you're going to face up-front before you can work as a CNA are:

  • Cost of the training course
  • Cost of the exam
  • Cost of certification by your state's nurse aide registry

A Quick Cost Breakdown

These costs vary. It's important to remember that the average CNA salary is in the region of $25,000, depending on the state in which you live.

 Average Cost

CNA Training Course


CNA Exam


CNA Certification


The Training Course

The cost of the training course will usually be between $550 and $1100; the overall cost varies based upon the state you live in, as does the length and content of the course. I recommend speaking directly with your state's specific nurse aide registry for information on local training costs.

The training course will usually last for up to 10 weeks in total, with some running for just six weeks. While many of these courses are available online, not all state registries will accept training that has been completed online, so it's always a good idea to check with your local registry first.

The CNA Exam

The exam tests the knowledge you have learned over the 6-10-week course you've already taken. The exam will usually consist of a set of multiple choice questions; you must pass the test to be eligible for certification in your state.

The cost of the exam is the cheapest element of CNA training and will usually just cost a couple of hundred dollars in total, with most states charging just $115.

The CNA Certification

Once you've completed your training course and you've passed the competency exam, then and only then can you register at your local nurse aide registry to become a fully certified nursing assistant. The cost of this is often included with your initial exam pass.

The Overall Cost Of CNA Training

The overall cost of the training will usually be around the $1,000 to $1,500 mark. Some programs will cost more and some will cost less—some courses can even be taken for free at places like the Red Cross. However, whatever the cost, you can be sure of a positive future once qualified as a CNA.

CNA Salary Prospects

Even though the training is likely to cost you over $1,000 to complete, your overall salary prospects as a CNA are good, with the average salary being somewhere in the region of $25,000, varying depending on the state in which you work. Top-paid states, such as Alaska, see CNAs earning more than $30,000 a year, with some earning more than $33,000 a year.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


KAREN kARLI wEBB on August 26, 2017:

Here ,in,Texas you can get training subsized-but they NEVER make over minimum wage.Most have to have 2nd jobs. They do it because they love it.

Karen M. on September 01, 2016:

See that it's $1250 for CNA training at Red Cross in Detroit MI.

Dave Bickel on October 08, 2015:

Very helpful article and easy to follow. Why pay for the CNA certification if the Red Cross teaches for no cost? Thanks!