does it matter how long a cna program takes?

Students CNA/MA


i have been looking at different programs for cna's and have finally (i think) picked out 'the one'. but i noticed that the class is shorter than a lot of of places offer. does it really matter if a program is 4 weeks vs. 8 or 12 weeks? i realize the info will be more condensed, but if the level of education truly compromised? anyone who is going to school, or already has, please let me know your thoughts. if you went to a shorter program, do you wish it had been longer? or if you went to a longer one, was it worth the extra time?

all the programs seem to have the same classes, and amount of hours, but the school i'm looking at has classes 5 days a week for 4 weeks, while some other are 3 or 4 days a week for anywhere from 5-12 weeks.

so does it really matter?

Specializes in LTC.

I took a 3 month course at the local community college. The course was 10 weeks long. Clinicals in my opinion gave me an idea of what the job entailed and allowed me to get comfortable in my skills but I had no idea that in the 'real world' I'd be taking care of 12 residents, having to feed 10 residents at once, and stuff like that. The nursing home I work at sometimes hires aides from there classes and I really don't think the aides are any more or less prepared as I was.

Had I known that I could take a 4 week long course for free versus $400 class for 12 weeks you better believe I would have taken the shorter free class!


38,333 Posts

It does not matter. What is important is the certificate you obtain when you pass your test at the end. You will be doing a great deal of learning on the job. If you can find out anything about the various programs as far as quality of instruction, you might want to use that info when making your decision as to which to attend. Otherwise, decide which is best for you based upon how close it is or if you want to take the shorter course to get it over with.


5 Posts

I've looked into several local programs ranging from 3 weeks solid (5 days/week) to 16 weeks (every Saturday). Personally, I'd prefer the shorter course so I can begin to work sooner, but the one I would like is full - waiting list only. A nurse friend recently advised me to check as many out as possible - and that I would know when I found the right place, by the feel of the staff, the environment, location, and just plain gut instinct. The costs: range anywhere from $600 - $1700 for the courses in my area. They are all state approved nurse aide training programs. What it boils down to is simple, for me: I am a mid-life career changer who wants to be a CNA, it's where my passion is, where it probably always has been but has finally made itself clear. I'll do what is needed for my certification, and will be the best that I can be. :heartbeat

Specializes in Med-Surg/urology.

I don't think time length matters either. I was originally going to take a CNA class at my comm. college(which was 4 months long) but I had to jump through hoops just in order to apply..and then they only accept 14 people every semester! Then I looked around and applied at a private CNA school which was just 1 month & about $500 cheaper. In the end I got the same outcome: my CNA/GNA license & a job :) So if you can find a shorter, cheaper course, than I say go for it. But the thing is with shorter courses is that they are more fast paced.. I had a test every other day during the theory portion.


5 Posts

Good point - and now I am glad to have decided on the 9-week program, giving me plenty of time to study and to volunteer. Thanks for that, miiszkim0711!

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