How long does it take to become a CNA in Philadelphia, PA?

become a CNA in Philadelphia

How long does it take to become a CNA in Philadelphia, PA?

Are you interested in becoming a Certified Nurse Aide and wondering how long it takes to complete a CNA class and get your certification? We explain all that and more in our post including where to take a course locally in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania. 

Becoming A Certified Nurse Aide, CNA, and Medical Field Job Growth in Philadelphia, PA


A career as a Certified Nurse Aide Is both stable and fast growing. This is especially comforting during difficult economic times and in light of COVID-19. Plus, we will go into detail about the variety of career path options for individuals that decide to become a CNA. Below you can find out how to get your certification as a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) and take your career in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a new direction in healthcare. Of course, we also discuss how long it takes to complete the program in Philadelphia. 


Where do CNAs work?


CNAs are a part of the field of direct care workers in the world of healthcare. An incredibly important position, they work hands-on with patients, clients, and residents in a variety of settings. Certified Nurse Aides, Nursing Assistants, or CNAs are a part of the overall healthcare team that includes a variety of professional roles such as nurses, therapists, and doctors. CNAs work directly under the supervision of a licensed nurse. Nursing assistants are vital for many reasons, but they tend to interact with patients more than any other role in the medical field.


CNAs can work in a variety of settings. CNAs are most commonly found in nursing homes, but these workers truly can work across many organizations. Among others, CNAs can find career opportunities and jobs in:

  • Assisted living facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Long term care facilities
  • Residential care facilities
  • Home care and home healthcare agencies
  • Physicians offices



What is the demand for nursing assistants in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?


Healthcare is growing rapidly across the United States. Demand for healthcare services will only increase as the baby boomer population gets older. We discuss this growth below. As you will learn, the aging population in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is especially large in the region which drives demand locally. Plus, the demand for CNAs is huge right now. Across the state of Pennsylvania, there are over 5000 open CNA jobs on Indeed. 


What are the job prospects and career outlook for CNAs and Certified Nurse Aides?


CNAs engage in rewarding work and gain valuable experience in this healthcare role. Additionally starting as a CNA can eventually open many opportunities for career advancement in the future. It can lead to all sorts of professional and high-paying healthcare roles and jobs. Many individuals start their healthcare careers as a CNA. They then climb the career and educational ladder over time. For example, with additional education and experience, many nursing assistants may become nurses, doctors, or therapists with time.


A career as a Certified Nurse Aide is projected to grow much faster than other jobs in America. The bureau of labor statistics projects an 8 percent increase in all CNA jobs in America through 2028, versus only a 5 percent increase in all professions as a whole. The wide range and variety of settings that CNAs work in only helps make the nursing assistant job not only more flexible but keeps the door open to even more opportunity. 


Taking a look at the projections more closely, you will see that a CNA career classified as “Home health and personal care aides; and nursing assistants, orderlies, and psychiatric aide” jobs shows a 25 percent projected increase!


On top of this, this growth in needed Certified Nurse Aides is even more prevalent in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. 


By the numbers: The direct care workforce, which includes Certified Nurse Aides, in Pennsylvania 



Consider the following statistics by the LTCC Blueprint for Strengthening Pennsylvania’s Direct Care Workforce. It demonstrates how large the direct care workforce is now in Pennsylvania and what the future looks like for these occupations. The numbers help prospective students and nurse aides understand why local healthcare demand is growing so rapidly:


  • There are 219,000 direct care workers across Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia
  • The top three roles include home health aides, personal care aides, and CNA nursing assistants
  • Over 37,000 additional direct care workers will be needed across Pennsylvania by 2026
  • Pennsylvania has the fifth oldest population in the nation. Seniors and older adults are the most likely to utilize healthcare services such as those provided by CNAs
  • By 2030, the population of older adults will increase by 26 percent
  • Pennsylvania is also home to many disabled residents. Around one in seven individuals in Pennsylvania has a disability. 
  • Disabled residents are the other major group most likely to receive home healthcare. Pennsylvania is home to the fifth largest percentage of disabled residents in the nation at 14 percent. 


Nursing Assistant Careers and Job Duties


Certified Nurse Aide CNA Scope Of Practice 


Scope of practice is a legal term assigned to licensed health professionals. CNAs are not licensed health professionals, but are considered unlicensed assistive personnel. Therefore, CNAs do not have a regulated scope of practice. However, they do have professional standards and job responsibilities to which they must comply. CNAs are trained to provide a basic level of care to manage care needs. They also optimize quality of life for older or disabled adults. With no regulated scope of practice, many states recognize the Code of Federal Regulations (42 CFR x 483) as the unofficial CNA scope of practice. This is the case in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania too.


The regulations direct care-based decisions for residents in nursing facilities. Institutions that employ Certified Nurse Aides follow the code to ensure that they will be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Also, the same regulations are used to guide CNA training and to outline workplace duties. Specifically, the 42 CFR x 483 suggests that CNAs must be trained in how to provide basic nursing care and skills as outlined below.


What does a Certified Nurse Aide do?


The exact job duties and responsibilities of a CNA may vary somewhat. It depends on what care setting that a CNA is working in. Plus, it depends on the mental and physical health of the care recipients that they work with. However, there are five core CNA duties and responsibilities that a majority of CNA jobs require:


  • CNAs provide assistance with a client’s activities of daily living. These are also referred to as ADLs.
  • Responsibilities of a  CNA often involve simple meal preparations, passing out food trays, monitoring each care recipient’s food and drink intake at each meal, as well as light housekeeping.
  • CNAs may be expected to take and monitor a care recipient’s vital signs. Examples include taking one’s pulse, blood pressure, oxygen, and temperature readings.
  • Checking regularly on care recipients. This may include answering call bells, making a note of patient condition changes, and reporting any changes immediately to the nurse.
  • CNAs might assist with specific medical procedures. They may be expected to set up, clean, or takedown medical equipment.


CNAs may do additional tasks or other tasks that vary from those listed above. This could be because of a specific population or condition that the healthcare setting specializes in, or because they offer advanced specialty training to their CNAs. 


What do Certified Nurse Aides make in pay and earnings?


cna earnings


Across the country, the average annual salary (including salary plus other cash compensation) for CNAs is $32,366 per year. Overall, this equates to $15.56 per hour in earnings.


In Pennsylvania state, CNA salaries are comparable to the nationwide median. Statewide, HHAs average $32,302 per year, or $15.53 per hour in earnings and compensation. 


Finally, in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas (the tri-state area which includes parts of Delaware and New Jersey as well), the average wage is $34,671, or $16.67 per hour in payment and salary. 


CNA Programs for Training and Certification


How do I get trained to be a Certified Nurse Aide?  


To get trained as a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), prospective CNAs must complete an approved training program. Training requirements are set out by federal and state requirements for Certified Nurse Aides. CNA training and certification programs are usually offered by community colleges and private schools. Several long term care facilities (nursing homes) also offer a CNA program. 


What does a Certified Nurse Aide learn in the training program?


A Certified Nurse Aide student in training will learn a lot of important tasks and skills in the CNA program. At CareBridge Academy, the CNA training program includes the following core competencies which are the foundation of Certified Nurse Aide training. They include:


  • CNA role and function
  • Communication 
  • Infection control
  • Safety and emergencies
  • Client’s rights
  • Client’s independence
  • Nutrition
  • Identifying and reporting the conditions of body systems
  • The client’s environment
  • Personal care skills
  • Restorative care
  • Behavioral health and social service needs
  • Caring for cognitively impared clients


As you can see, the CNA program covers a lot of material. In conjunction, the program curriculum helps Certified Nurse Aides find success in the various healthcare roles that they work in.


How long does it take to become a CNA nursing assistant in Philadelphia, PA?



How long is the CNA training program?


A Certified Nurse Aide training and certification program must meet state regulations. In Pennsylvania, that means that a CNA training program must be at least 80 total hours in length. However, the state also has a model curriculum recommended for approved programs which runs 120 hours long. Most CNA programs, including that at CareBridge Academy, follow this model. 


Because of the amount of subject material, the 120 hour course is a better option that offers the greatest chance for CNAs to be successful in their positions. Of this 120 hours, 55 of those hours are completed in a long term care facility setting. This means that CNA students will work directly with real residents and clients of a nursing home setting. 


How long are the nursing assistant courses in the Philadelphia area?

The list below shows each state-approved Nurse Aide certification course in Philadelphia. Please note that the courses only list the total number of hours:


CareBridge Academy- 120 hours long

Blessings Center for Technical Arts and Sciences- 120 hours long

Community College of Philadelphia- 120 hours long

Entry Level Nurse Aide Program- 120 hours long

Genesis Chapel Manor Center- – 112 hours long

Health and Tech Training Institute- 152 hours long

 Mercy Career & Technical HS- 105 hours long

New World Business School- 123 hours long

Penn Asian Vocational Institute- 120 hours long

Philadelphia Academy for Nurse Aide Training- 135 hours long


If the courses run in clock hours, how many days or weeks does the nursing assistant class take with each program?

That really depends a lot. For example, upon research, schools have classes that run from 4 weeks to 12 weeks long. Part-time, full-time, and weekend courses (for example) will all vary in length, time and days. Some classes are Monday through Friday, some might be several days a week, and some might be weekends strictly. 


At CareBridge Academy, the courses we offer currently are Monday through Friday as well as weekend course options. The Monday through Friday courses are both morning and afternoon options. Standard morning courses run from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Afternoon classes run from 2:30 PM to 7:30 PM. The length in weeks is approximately 5 weeks. 


Additionally, weekend courses are another option. For example, standard weekend courses run from 10 AM to 4 PM both Saturday and Sunday. The duration of these weekend CNA courses runs for 10 weeks. Please reference our calendar for the most up-to-date listing of classes. 


For other Philadelphia, PA area classes, like those referenced above, please reach out to each nurse aide CNA school directly for their schedule of classes, including hours and weeks until completion. 

How much does each Philadelphia CNA program charge per class?



For associated costs and fees of each program, you can contact each school directly. Nursing facilities will offer the program at no cost. 

CareBridge Academy offers their course for $1495. This rate is very competitive across Philadelphia, and it includes all associated costs such as books and other training materials. A CPR and First Aid certification is even included into the cost of the program at no additional charge.

I would like to get my certified nurse aide training for free at a nursing home. Is there really only one approved nursing facility that offers training in Philadelphia?

Yes, as of January 2021, only Genesis Chapel Manor Center offers Nursing Assistant training in house to its prospective and future employees. However, if candidates look into the surrounding counties, there are some nursing facilities and long term care facilities that offer CNA courses in Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware counties of Pennsylvania. You can find the list of nursing homes that offer nursing assistant training in these counties as well as all counties in Pennsylvania on this state list here

Can a CNA program be completed online?


Unfortunately,  state regulations do not allow nursing assistant classes to be completed online. All instruction must be done in person under an approved nurse instructor and trainer. 


How much does the CNA program cost for training?


The cost of the program can vary. CareBridge Academy has a CNA program that is very inexpensive at only $1495. The program is completed right here in Philadelphia. A CNA program can also be taken through other approved programs in the Philadelphia region. 


Can I get CNA training for free?


Yes! CNA students can get trained for free under the following conditions. 


If you get employed by a Medicaid participating nursing home facility, you are entitled to the reimbursement cost paid by the student for the CNA program. While you can check with the facility directly, the large majority of nursing homes are Medicaid participating facilities. This also includes the cost of certification testing fees as well. Requirements also include that the candidate graduates with:


  • Completion of at least 75 hours of an accredited CNA program. CareBridge Academy’s program qualifies under these regulations.
  • A passing score on your written and manual certification exam
  • Employment in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility within 12 months of certification
  • Pass a criminal background check at employment


To sum it up, when employees meet these conditions, they will get reimbursed for the full cost of the program ($1495), plus the cost of the Pearson Vue test which leads to certification ($135). 


CareBridge Academy offers its premier CNA training program right in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. CareBridge Academy started a home health aide training program because it found a lack of affordable and comprehensive CNA programs in Philadelphia. Plus, with the CareBridge Academy program, classes are offered regularly and are very flexible. These include day, night, weekend, and part-time CNA class offerings.

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