Top CNA Programs in Virginia

As the baby boomer generation continues to age, employment opportunities for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) will continue to be bountiful. Job growth within the CNA field has been projected to grow by 21% through the year 2022 according to the US Department of Labor.

No other healthcare worker spends more face to face time with patients than CNAs. It's for this reason that CNAs are considered the first line of defense in direct patient care. CNAs, along with registered nurses, are said to provide nearly 80-90 percent of direct patient care. You will find CNAs working in a wide variety of healthcare settings, performing tasks such as taking vitals, bathing, feeding and grooming.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average annual wage for a CNA in Virginia is $24,110 to $25,330.

How to Choose a Top CNA Program in Virginia

If you wish to begin a career as a CNA, your first step should be to find the best program available. The following are some items to take into consideration while researching programs:

  • The program's success rate
  • Job placement rate
  • Tuition and associated fees
  • Institution's accreditation
  • Student to faculty ratio
  • Course instructor credentials
  • The faculty's years of experience
  • Continual operating time of the program
  • Partnerships with local health care facilities
  • Financial aid, grants and scholarships that are available
  • Pass rate for the state assessment
  • Program accolades
  • Number of campuses the program is offered at

Testing and Certification

Before a person becomes a CNA, they must first enroll in a state-approved CNA certificate program. A list of these approved programs can be found on the Virginia Board of Nursing's website. Once completed, the CNA candidate can then go on to sit for the state assessment. LPN and RN students and graduates are also eligible to sit for the CNA certification assessment given that they have completed at least 40 hours of patient care.

CNA candidates in the state of Virginia will take the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). Included in the assessment is a practical skills component and a theoretical knowledge component. The theoretical component can be taken in either a written or oral format. The written (knowledge) portion of the exam consists of 70 multiple guess questions, whereas the oral (knowledge) portion of the exam is composed of 60 questions. During the practical skills portion of the assessment, students will be required to demonstrate proficiency in a number of skills which are integral to the CNA profession. After a student has successfully passed both sections, their name will be added to the state's CNA registry.

List of Top CNA Classes and Programs in Virginia

Wytheville Community College

First established in 1963, Wytheville Community College is public two-year college that serves the communities of Carrol, Bland, Smyth, Wythe and Grayson counties. The college is a member of the Virginia Community College System and acts as a two-year branch of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University.

WCC’s 160-hour Certified Nursing Assistant course seeks to prepare its students to pass the Virginia Nurse Aide State Board Exam. The course blends a mixture of classroom, lab and clinical experience. During the course, students will learn basic life support techniques as well as other skills and knowledge that can be used to provide basic healthcare for patients who find themselves in hospitals or long-term nursing care facilities.

Healthcare facilities near Wytheville currently hiring CNAs

  • LewisGale Hospital – Pulaski
  • Wythe County Community Hospital
  • Twin County Regional Healthcare


To find out more about WCC’s CNA program tuition, call (276) 223-4700.

Mountain Empire Community College

Situated in the town of Big Stone Gap in Wise County, Mountain Empire Community College is a public post-secondary educational institution that was chartered in 1972. MECC represents one of the 23 colleges that comprise the Virginia Community College System. The institution serves the counties of Lee, Scott, Dickenson and Wise.

MECC’s CNA program is made up of four courses which comprise a total of 21 credit hours. This course can be completed in 9 months (2 semesters). The four courses that make up the program include College Success, Basic Life Support (CPR), Health Care Technician I and Health Care Technician II. Throughout the duration of these courses, students will learn nursing assistant theory, gain important lab experience and participate in a clinical externship in acute and long-term care healthcare facilities. Students who successfully complete this program will be able to communicate effectively with patients and healthcare staff, observe, chart and report patient vitals and other findings, perform infection control procedures and more.

Healthcare facilities near Big Stone Gap currently hiring CNAs

  • Lonesome Pine Hospital
  • Mountain View Regional Medical Center
  • Advanced Home Care


To enroll in MECC’s CNA program, students coming from inside Virginia can expect to pay around $4,291 plus $1,000 for books and supplies. Students coming from out-of-state will be expected to pay $9,824 plus $1,000 for books and course supplies.

Southside Virginia Community College

First chartered in 1970, Southside Virginia Community College is a two-year college that operates its two main campuses in Alberta and Keysville. SVCC serves the largest geographic area of any two-year college in the state, spanning 10 different counties. SVCC also operates many off-campus locations and learning centers which serve large numbers of students.

SVCC offers students a seven-week CNA program which is designed to prepare students for future employment in a long-term nursing care facility. During the program, students learn how to obtain and record vital signs, perform non-invasive monitoring techniques, communicate any changes in a patient’s condition to RN and LPN staff, and properly assist patients with their nutritional intake.

Healthcare facilities near Alberta and Keysville currently hiring CNAs

  • Piedmont Geriatric Hospital
  • Consulate Health Care
  • Southern Touch Health Care Services


In-state students can expect to pay $700 plus additional fees to enroll in SVCC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program. Out-of-state students can expect to pay $2,100 plus additional fees.

Eastern Shore Community College

Situated in the city of Melfa, Eastern Shore Community College is a two-year college which serves the residents of Northampton and Accomack counties. ESCC is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

ESCC offers a Long-Term Care Assistant program that has been designed to ready students for both the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program and for entry level employment at long-term nursing care facilities. During the program, students go through a mixture of in-class lecture and discussion, lab practice and a clinical skills experience. Skills that students will come away with following the completion of the course include verbal and written communication, principles and methods of client safety, infection control techniques, patients’ rights, techniques to recognize human injury, disease and deformities, and more.

Healthcare facilities near Melfa currently hiring CNAs

  • American Healthcare LLC/Heritage Hall
  • Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital
  • Cape Charles Medical Center


For current information on ESCC’s program tuition, call (757) 789 1789.

Lord Fairfax Community College

Lord Fairfax Community College is a two-year learning institution first founded in 1970. The college operates campuses in the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley regions of the state. LFCC maintains four campus locations—Middletown and Fauquier Campuses, the Vint Hill campus and the Luray-Page County center. In total, the college enrolls about 9,400 students annually.

LFCC’s one-semester Certified Nursing Assistant program seeks to equip students with the appropriate knowledge and skills required to care for a wide variety of patients and to become an effective member of the interdisciplinary healthcare team. The course is composed of four total credit hours—three credits for lecture and one for the lab portion. After students have successfully completed the lecture and lab skills portions of the program, they will then go on to complete a clinical externship at a local long-term nursing care facility.

Healthcare facilities near currently hiring CNAs

  • Bridgewater Retirement Community
  • Superior Medical Staffing
  • Harrisonburg Health & Rehab Center


Students who reside within Virginia can expect to pay an estimated course fee of $732 plus additional costs. Students from outside of Virginia can expect to pay around $1,056 plus additional fees.

Dabney S. Lancaster Community College

Founded in 1962, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College is a two-year college situated in the town of Clifton Forge in Alleghany County. DLCC represents one of the 23 member colleges that make up the Virginia Community College System. It also operates a smaller satellite campus in Buena Vista.

DLCC offers students a CNA course which can be completed in a little over two months. During the course, students will learn basic nursing care skills and how to tend to the social, physical, spiritual and emotional needs of patients. The course places a special emphasis on geriatric nursing.

Healthcare facilities near Alleghany County currently hiring CNAs

  • Commonwealth Health & Rehab Center
  • White Sulphur Springs Center – Genesis HealthCare
  • American Medical Facilities Management


The total cost to attend DLCC’s CNA program is $2,250, which includes textbooks. Some grants and scholarships are available. Virginia residents may qualify to enroll in the course for just $750; contact the course coordinator for more information.

Danville Community College

First established in 1936, Danville Community College represents one of the 23 member colleges that comprise the Virginia Community College System. Dissimilar to the vast majority of other member colleges of the VCCS, the chartering of DCC predates the formation of the statewide community college system. DCC serves the communities of Danville, Halifax and Pittsylvania counties.

DCC offers students two CNA programs: a 9-credit hour traditional nursing assistant course and 16-credit hour extended care program. Each program is conducted over the course of a semester. Throughout the duration of each, students are taught basic nursing care skills, fundamental observation skills, communication techniques, methods in infection control and more. The extended care CNA contains additional courses which include CPR, medication aide and first aid safety.

Healthcare facilities near Danville currently hiring CNAs

  • Piney Forest Health & Rehab Center
  • Riverside Health & Rehab Center
  • SOVAH Health - Danville


To enroll in VCCS’s traditional 9-credit CNA program, in-state students can expect to pay around $1,413, while out-of-state students can expect to pay around $3,186. To enroll in VCCC’s 16-credit extended care CNA program, in-state students can expect to pay around $2,512, while out-of-state students can expect to pay $5,664.