There's never been a better time to begin your journey towards becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) in Pennsylvania. The demand for nursing assistants will continue to rise as the baby boomer generation continues to age. The U.S. Department of Labor has projected CNA employment opportunities to grow by 21% between the years 2014 and 2022-a rate substantially higher than other fields of employment.
People who are considering future employment as a CNA should try to find the best programs available in their area. While looking for the top programs, prospective CNA students would be smart to take consider the following:
CNA programs in this state are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. For individuals interested in becoming a fully licensed CNA in Pennsylvania, the first step is enrolling in an approved program. To be approved by the Department of Education, programs are required to be at least 80 hours in length and must include at a minimum 37.5 hours of clinical skills practice.
To be accepted into a state-approved program, prospective students are required to be at least 16 years of age and need to be able read, write and speak proficiently in English. They also must be able to perform basic math problems. Lastly, all prospective CNA students must be free of all communicable diseases.
After CNA candidates have passed both of the lecture and clinical portions of their program, they can then sit for the state certification assessment. The state of Pennsylvania utilizes the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). The test consists of two sections: knowledge, which is carried out in a written or oral format, and practical skills, where students are required to demonstrate 5 different skills that are integral to nursing assistant work. The NNAAP exam in Pennsylvania is administered by the American Red Cross and Pearson VUE.
Situated in city of Scranton, in northeast region of the state, Johnson College of Technology is a private, two-year higher learning institution which has been operating as far back as 1912. The school offers students a total of 13 associate and certificate degree programs.
Johnson College of Technology’s CNA program is known as the Revolutionary Education Certified Nursing Assistant program. In total, the program consists of 120 contact hours, and takes 5 weeks to complete. Students will be instructed in various physical care skills, psychosocial care skills and in the proper role of a nurse aide. The course seeks to instill core values into future CNAs like professionalism, compassion, leadership, timeliness, work ethic and more.
JCoT’s CNA program can be completed during daytime hours, evening hours or on the weekends. Daytime classes meet Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 2:30pm, evening classes meet Monday through Friday from 4:00pm to 10:30pm and weekend classes meet Saturday and Sunday from 7:30am to 4:30pm.
The total cost to attend JCoT’s Certified Nursing Assistant program is $3,000.
First established in 1964, Bucks County Community College is a two-year community college that’s located in Bucks County, just outside of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. BCCC operates three different campuses in Newton, Perkasie and Bristol. The institution is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
BCCC offers students an intensive, 120 contact hour CNA training program which is composed of a combination of didactic lecture, lab skills experience and supervised clinical training on-site at a local healthcare facility. The training program can be completed in just over 3 weeks. Class lectures are held at each one of the three campuses from Monday through Friday, from 8:00am to 4:00pm. The supervised clinical training portion of the course occurs on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 7:00am to 3:00pm at a long-term care facility somewhere in the county.
Students who enroll in BCCC’s Certified Nursing Assistant course can expect to pay an estimated course fee of $1,250.
Founded in 1967, Northampton Community College is a public, 2-year college that operates campuses in the Bethlehem Township in Northampton County, and in Tannersville, located in neighboring Monroe County. NCC grants certificates, associate degrees, and diplomas in over 100 fields. The college represents one of the main educators of allied health professionals in the area.
NCC offers students a 128-contact hour Nursing Aide Program. Students can choose between a full-time program that takes only three and a half weeks to complete and a part-time program that can be completed in two months. Throughout the duration of the program, CNA students will learn how to assist clients with basic daily living activities, how to observe and report changes in a patient’s health, and more. NCC’s training program consists of three sections: in-class lecture, lab. and a clinical externship. Students must pass each section in order to be eligible to register for the state Nurse Aide Assessment. Unlike many CNA programs, NCC’s offers students a free “Skills Refresher” day before students take the certification exam.
Current fees for NCC’s Certified Nursing Assistant can be found by calling (610) 861-5300.
Situated in the city of Youngwood, Westmoreland County Community College was chartered in 1970.
WCCC’s CNA program is composed of 128 contact hours—72 hours of lecture/lab and 56 hours of clinical skills experience. The program meets CNA training course mandates set forth by state and federal government standards. Throughout the course’s duration, students will learn a wide variety of skills which will prepare them for future work in a long-term health care facility as well as other care settings.
The estimated course fee for WCCC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program is $809.
Originally established in 1967, Delaware County Community College is a public, 2-year college that serves communities in and around the Philadelphia metropolitan area. DCCC operates campuses and learning centers in Sharon Hill, Downingtown, Exton, Phoenixville, Marple Township and West Grove.
DCCC offers what they call a specialized ‘Excellence in Care’ CNA program. The training program is comprised of 133 contact hours and aims to prepare students for employment in acute rehab, acute care, home health, hospice, and long-term care facilities. Of the 133 hours, 73 hours are devoted to didactic lecture and discussion, while 60 hours are dedicated to clinical experience. The course emphasizes leadership skills, cultural sensitivity, problem-solving and decision making, professionalism, conflict resolution and more. The program’s instructors are all professionals in the field with regional experience.
Students who are coming from ‘sponsoring school districts’ will be required to pay an approximate course fee of $986 to enroll in DCCC’s CNA training program. Those coming from ‘non-sponsoring school districts’ will be expected to pay an approximate course fee of $1,634.
Located in the city of Nanticoke, Luzerne County Community College is a two-year post-secondary educational institution that was founded in 1967. LCCC offers its students more than 100 academic, vocational and technical programs. In addition to its main campus, LCCC maintains 11 satellite learning centers around the Northeast region of the state. The college is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
LCCC’s Nursing Assistant Program seeks to arm its students with the appropriate knowledge and skills required to provide adequate care for the geriatric population. The course prepares CNA students to employ fundamental nursing skills in a wide variety of environments, to assist other health care professionals with basic emergency care, to take and record vital signs, and to recognize the various signs and symptoms associated with common illnesses.
LCCC’s CNA program, which is comprised of 108 contact hours, can be completed in just one month. Courses meet from Wednesday through Friday, from 7am to 4pm at the Carozza Health Science Center.
For information on Luzerne County Community College’s CNA program tuition, call (800) 377-5222.
Originally chartered in 1966, the Community College of Allegheny County is a 2-year college that’s situated in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan area. The college offers a wide variety of associate’s degrees, diplomas and certificate programs. Currently, CCAC operates four campuses and four learning centers which serve Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas.
CCAC offers students a nurse aide training program which has been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The program, which is split up into two components, theory and clinical, is comprised of 168 contact hours—well over the required number of hours for CNA programs in the state. The nursing assistant theory component of the course (XGB 308) is composed of ninety-eight hours of in-class didactic lecture. Lecture curriculum covers infection control, the effect of aging on the body, the effect of disease on the body, how to take and record vital signs, ethics and legality, mental health, patients’ rights, effective communication skills, and more. The clinical component of the course (XGB 309) is composed of 70 hours of hands-on experience in a real-world healthcare setting, with real patients, where the prospective CNA is guided and supervised by a registered nurse. Prospective CNAs are instructed in basic emergency procedures, how to understand various psycho-social characteristics of the geriatric population, nutrition, managing patients’ hygiene needs and more.
To find out current tuition information for CCAC’s nurse aide program, call them at (412) 237-3100.