Top CNA Programs in Rhode Island

For compassionate individuals with strong work ethics, a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) should be considered. CNAs are direct health care workers who provide basic nursing care to patients under the direct supervision of a registered nurse (RN). They're known to play an integral role in today's healthcare field.

The nursing assistant field is one of the fastest growing employment fields in the entire country. As the baby boomer population continues to age, more and more CNAs will be needed. Between the years 2014 and 2024, jobs in the nursing assistant sector are projected to grow by 17 percent nation-wide (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). This rate is well above the typical growth rate for the majority of occupational fields in the country. With this in mind, there really isn't a more perfect time to start working towards a career as a CNA.

How to Choose a Top Program in Rhode Island

If you're thinking about starting down the road to become a Certified Nurse Assistant, it would be smart to try to find the top programs in Rhode Island. When searching for these programs, take the following criteria into consideration:

  • Student success rate of the program
  • Partnerships with healthcare facilities in the area
  • Availability of grants, scholarships, and financial aids
  • Student to faculty ratio
  • Number of campuses the program is offered at
  • Credentials of instructors
  • Accreditation and accolades of the program
  • Total cost of attendance
  • Job placement rate

Testing and Certification

Students who wish to become CNAs in the state of Rhode Island must first complete a training program which has been approved by the state's Department of Health. To be approved, training programs must include 100 hours of in-class lecture and 20 hours of clinical training. Currently, there are 44 approved training programs in the state.

Students who are enrolled in a registered nursing program can also seek CNA licensure. Before signing up for the state licensure examination, they must document the completion of two clinical courses. Additionally, individuals who already have their LPN or RN licenses can receive credentials without testing.

Once students have successfully completed a state-approved training program, the next step is to sit for the state's certification exam. Rhode Island uses the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) for their state assessment. The NNAAP assessment is comprised of 2 sections: knowledge and skills. The knowledge portion of the exam consists of a series of multiple-choice questions which can be completed in either a written or oral format. During the skills evaluation, test takers must complete a series of CNA duties with a patient in a simulated healthcare environment.

The assessment is administered by the Community College of Rhode Island in cooperation with Pearson VUE. Exams can be taken at a number of different campuses across the state. CNA candidates must pass the exam within a year of completing their training. Those students who fail to pass after having attempted the exam three times will be required to retrain.

List of Top CNA Classes and Programs in Rhode Island

Community College of Rhode Island

Founded in 1964, the Community College of Rhode Island represents the only community college in Rhode Island and the largest community college in the New England area. CCRI’s main campus is located in the city of Warwick—Rhode Island’s second largest city. The college also has satellite campuses throughout the state.

CCRI offers students a CNA course that’s been approved by the Rhode Island Department of Health. The course is comprised of 133 contact hours, including 75 hours of in-class lecture and discussion, 24 hours of skills instruction, 30 hours of clinical training and 4 hours of skills laboratory. The course should take students around three months to complete.

Healthcare facilities located near Warwick that are currently hiring CNAs

  • CarterCARE Health Providers
  • Coventry Center – Genesis HealthCare
  • Warren Center –Genesis HealthCare


The total estimated cost of CCRI’s CNA program is $855.

Aquidneck Island Adult Learning Center

Aquidneck Island Adult Learning Center is an adult learning center based out of Newport County that provides the community with vocational training, adult education and job preparedness. AIALC was founded in 2001 in association with Newport Public Schools and the United Way of Rhode Island’s Community Schools initiative.

AIALC offers students a CNA program totaling 120 contact hours. Throughout the duration of the course, CNA students will learn how to provide routine nursing services to a wide variety of patients in various health care settings. The course is divided into lecture and lab, which comprise 100 hours, and clinical training which takes an additional 20 hours. Included within the course curriculum are workplace readiness skills instruction, an employment fair, and a NorthStar Digital Literacy certification. Students who are seeking payment plan options or scholarships should inquire.

Healthcare facilities located near Newport County that are currently hiring CNAs

  • South County Hospital
  • Lifespan
  • Southcoast Health System


Students who are thinking about enrolling in AIDLC’s Certified Nursing Assistant course can expect to pay an approximate amount of $475. Included in this fee is the textbook, workbook, registration fee and scrubs. Additional fees are required for the CPR training and state examination and licensing fee.

Cranston Alternative Education Programs

Cranston Alternative Education Programs offers the community of Rhode Island and surrounding areas a wide variety of educational and training programs. CAEP was first established in 1972. Its main campus is located in Cranston—the third largest city in the state.

CAEP’s Certified Nursing Assistant program seeks to impart the appropriate training and education to students which will allow them to become essential members in the allied health field. With 120 total contact hours, CAEP’s program exceeds state standards for time required in both clinical training and classroom instruction aspects of the course—80 hours of theory and 40 hours of clinical skills. In total, the duration of the training program is approximately fifteen-weeks. Curriculum addressed during the course includes anatomy and physiology, cultural diversity, patient care, restorative services and rehabilitation.

The course is offered during daytime hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30am to 12:30pm, and during evening hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.

Healthcare facilities located near Cranston that are currently hiring CNAs

  • South County Hospital
  • CarterCARE Health Partners
  • Elderwood


Students attending Cranston Alternative Educational Programs can expect to pay a course fee of $800 plus $149 for the state licensing fee. If students can’t pay the entire sum at once they can pay 1/3 of the cost upon registering.