Top CNA Programs in New Jersey

One of the fastest growing fields of employment in the U.S. is entry-level healthcare positions, such as certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Due to the aging population, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has surmised that employment of CNAs will increase 17 percent between 2014 and 2024-a rate much higher than the average for other occupational fields.

CNAs assist patients in their psychological, social, physical and spiritual needs. Typically, CNAs can be found working in a wide variety of healthcare settings like long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities for geriatric patients and in hospitals.

Common duties of nursing assistants include:

  • Assisting patients with hygiene needs
  • Transferring patients from bed to wheelchair and back
  • Measuring and recording patient vital signs
  • Collecting information regarding the health concerns of patients and passing them along to the attending RN or doctor

How to Choose a Top CNA Program in New Jersey

Those thinking about pursuing a career as a CNA should do extensive research in order to find the top programs in the state. Below are some things to take into consideration when looking for the best programs to attend:

  • Program cost
  • Time the program has been operating
  • Student enrollment to graduation ratio
  • Accolades or awards received by the program
  • Student to instructor ratios
  • Scholarship, financial aid, and grants available
  • The program's state certification exam pass rate
  • Number of campuses the program is offered at
  • Any partnerships with healthcare facilities in the area.
  • Credentials of instructors

Testing and Certification

In the state of New Jersey, the first step on the road to becoming a CNA is to enroll in a state-approved Nurse Aide in Long Term Care Facilities Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP). The state requires these programs to comprise a total of 90 instruction hours-50 in-class lecture hours and 40 clinical skills training hours.

When students have successfully completed their NATCEP, they are then permitted to sit for the state certification evaluation. The certification evaluation is composed of two sections: a written or oral knowledge test and a clinical skills test. Students are required to pass the clinical skills section before they're permitted to take the knowledge section.

The clinical skills evaluation will test a student on handwashing protocol in addition to 4 other randomly selected CNA skills. When the student has passed the skills test, they can then contact PSI Exams to schedule their written or oral test. Oral exams can be taken in either English or Spanish.

List of Top CNA Classes and Programs in New Jersey

Raritan Valley Community College

Raritan Valley Community College is a 2-year public college that’s located in North Branch. The college was first established in 1965. RVCC offers a wide variety of associate’s degrees as well as continuing education courses and certificate programs.

RVCC’s 4-credit Certified Nursing Aide course (HLTH 102) is composed of 90 hours of total class time. HLTH 102 uses specific curriculum that’s designated by the state of New Jersey in order to prepare future nursing aides to pass the state certification exam and ready students for careers in a wide variety of health care settings. A mixture of classroom lecture, lab skills experience and clinical practice at a long-term care facility make up the course’s 90 hours.

Healthcare facilities located near North Branch that are currently hiring CNAs

  • Inovalon
  • JFK Medical
  • Bridgeway Senior Healthcare


Students coming from inside Hunterdon and Somerset counties can expect to pay around $612 for the CAN program, plus additional fees. Students coming from outside of these counties can expect to pay around $792, plus additional fees.

Warren County Community College

Warren County Community College is a public 2-year college that’s located in the Washington Township of Warren County. WCCC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program is 100 hours long and seeks to impart the appropriate knowledge to students which will allow them to adequately assist patients with various quality of life needs in many different healthcare settings.

Healthcare facilities located near Warren County that are currently hiring CNAs

  • Helpmates, Inc.
  • UPMC
  • CareGivers Home Care


To find out more about current CNA program tuition, contact WCCC’s Program Coordinator at (908) 835-2333.

County College of Morris

First founded in 1968, the County College of Morris is a 2-year community college that’s located in the city of Randolph, in Morris County. CCoM provides its students a number of transfer opportunities at different four-year institutions across the state.

CCoM offers interested individuals a chance to gain their certification in nursing assisting in as little as 2 months. CCoM’s Certified Nursing Aide program combines in-class lecture, laboratory skills instruction and clinical experience to teach students how to master the fundamental skills required for entry-level employment in the healthcare field. CNA class sizes are limited to just 10 students. CCoM’s CNA program is so highly regarded that healthcare employers in the area recruit students who are enrolled in the program before it has even finished.

Healthcare facilities located near Morris County that are currently hiring CNAs

  • Inovalon
  • Sussex County Community College
  • Atlantic Health


For more information on CCoM’s CNA program tuition, call (973) 328-5000.

Middlesex County College

Middlesex County College is 2-year community college that was first created in 1964. The college’s main campus is located in the township of Edison and serves the community of Middlesex County, as well the surrounding region. MCC also maintains two satellite campuses—one in New Brunswick and one in Perth Amboy.

MCC’s 9-credit hour Nursing Assistant program (CNGR 001) is composed of 90 total instruction hours—40 didactic lecture hours and 40 hours of clinical rotations inside of a local healthcare facility. The program emphasizes topics like staff and patient safety, infection control procedures, anatomy and physiology, and medical terminology. Classes meet in the Roosevelt Care Center at MCC’s main campus in Edison.

Healthcare facilities located near Edison that are currently hiring CNAs

  • JFK Medical Center
  • Inovalon
  • PowerBack


The total cost to attend MCC’s CNA program is approximately $1,820.

Brookdale Community College

Originally chartered in 1967, Brookdale Community College is a 2-year public college with a main campus located in the small unincorporated town of Lincroft. BCC also maintains a number of satellite campuses in the following locations: Long Branch, Freehold, Hazlet, and Wall and Neptune Townships.

BCC offers students a 90-contact hour CNA program that imparts the necessary knowledge students need for eventual employment in long-term care nursing facilities, hospitals and assisted living facilities. The program emphasizes psychosocial care skills, legal and ethical concepts of nursing, clients’ rights and physical care skills. BCC’s CNA program can be completed at the Freehold and Hazlet campuses.

Healthcare facilities located near Monmouth County that are currently hiring CNAs

  • Erickson Living
  • CentraState Healthcare System
  • Marquis Health Services


The total cost to attend BCC’s CNA program is approximately $1,205.

Bergen Community College

Bergen Community College is a 2-year community college that serves the Bergen County community along with surrounding areas. BCC has been continually operating since 1965. It’s accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Bergen Community College’s CNA program (HH772) is 90 contact hours (23 sessions) and consists of 3 main modules: didactic lecture, lab training, and clinical instruction. Of the 90 total hours of instruction, 50 hours are spent in lecture and lab, and the other 40 hours are spent at a local care facility during clinical rotations. HH772 complies with NATCEP regulations and standards. The program is offered during daytime and evening hours at BCC’s Hackensack campus.

Healthcare facilities located near Bergen County that are currently hiring CNAs

  • Brightview Senior Living
  • Kessler Institute of Rehabilitation
  • Alaris Health


The total cost to attend Bergen Community College’s CNA program is $1,895.

Ocean County College

Ocean County College is a 2-year community college first founded in 1969. Its primary campus is located in the township of Toms River. OCC also maintains more than twenty off-campus learning facilities across the county.

OCC’s 90-contact hour Certified Nursing Assistant program (CEHS-318) seeks to impart the essential knowledge that’s required of CNA students in order for them to gain employment as entry level, direct healthcare workers. The curriculum of CEHS-318 should prepare students to adequately assist patients in conducting a range of daily activities like feeding, moving around and bathing. OCC’s program hours are split up into 50 hours of in-class lecture/lab and 40 hours of clinical skills practice in a long-term nursing care facility.

Healthcare facilities located near Ocean County that are currently hiring CNAs

  • Southern Ocean Medical Center
  • Marquis Health Services
  • AcuteCare Health Center


The total cost to attend OCC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program is $1,500.

Rowan College Gloucester County

First established in the year 1966, Rowan College at Gloucester County is a 2-year community college located in the township of Sewell.

RCCC’s state approved Certified Nursing Assistant program is composed of 90 total instruction hours—50 hours of lecture/lab time and 40 of clinical training. During the 90-hour program, students learn fundamental nursing assistant skills like how to control infections, how to monitor and record a patient’s vital signs, transferring, bathing and feeding patients, as well as more specific techniques like the Heimlich maneuver. Other important topics that are included in the CNA curriculum include body mechanics, communication methods and restorative care.

Healthcare facilities located near Gloucester County that are currently hiring CNAs

  • Inspira Health Network
  • United Methodist Homes of New Jersey
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Healthcare Services


More information on RCCC’s CNA program can be found by calling them directly at (805) 468-6000.