Scholarships for CNA Students

Gayle Morris, MSN
Updated June 27, 2024
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There are several paths to becoming a certified nurse assistant (CNA). Candidates may choose a program at an accredited community college or a hospital-based program. They can also become a nursing assistant by taking CNA classes online.

Candidates must enroll in a program that offers in-depth coursework and hands-on clinical experience to be eligible for the state certification examination. Let’s explore the variety of scholarships, grants, and paid programs that support your effort to become a certified nurse assistant.

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Where to Find CNA Scholarships and Financial Aid

You can find CNA scholarships and financial aid through various sources. Employers facing workforce shortages may help fund training, and local, state, and federal governments offer financial aid programs. Collectively, the following resources can help alleviate the financial burden of your education and begin your career.

  • Community and Technical Colleges: Community and technical colleges in your area may offer CNA scholarships and other funding support to lower the cost of a CNA certificate program.
  • Nursing Facilities with Medicare or Medicaid Contracts: The federal government’s Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 requires Medicaid or Medicare approved nursing care facilities to provide employees with no-cost nurse assistant training or reimbursement of training costs if hired within 12 months of training completion.
  • Employers Facing Workforce Shortages: Some understaffed healthcare facilities offer hiring incentives like CNA scholarships or paid CNA training programs. These typically require an agreement to work for the facility for a certain amount of time.
  • Local, State, and Federal Government: If you plan to enroll in a CNA certificate program at an accredited college, government grants and CNA scholarships can help lower your out-of-pocket costs. Funding availability, eligibility requirements, and amounts vary.
  • Nonprofit Organizations: Nonprofits, community organizations, and private foundations in your area may offer CNA scholarships and grants to aspiring learners with financial need.

Available CNA Scholarships

CNA students can find scholarships from sources, such as employers, non-profit organizations, and colleges. Colleges may offer dedicated CNA scholarships, while employers may offer funding for CNA training in exchange for a work commitment.

The following is not an exhaustive list. Students should explore additional funding opportunities in their local area to maximize their financial aid options and support their education.

The Midwest Medical Center CNA Scholarship is offered to current and future CNAs. The award goes directly to the school, and once the program is completed, the CNA goes through the hiring process at Midwest Medical Center in Galena, Illinois. They must be employed for a minimum of one year. Applications are granted throughout the year.

  • Sponsor: Midwest Medical Center
  • Amount: Up to $2,000
  • Deadline: Year-round

Government Grants for CNA Certificate Programs

A student should also consider various financial opportunities from state, local, and federal grants that help cover expenses as they take CNA classes online or in person. These programs can help cover the cost of non-degree certificate education. Most grants require applicants to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or apply through specific local or state government programs.

The Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) Maryland program is a state-funded grant initiative to help employers develop skilled workers. The healthcare arm offers several training opportunities, including CNA programs at varying institutions. Eligibility requirements vary but typically include residence within the local area, a high school diploma or GED certificate, and a clean background check. Award winners have all program fees and costs covered but must cover the cost of their state professional licensing fee.

  • Location Eligibility: Maryland
  • Grant Amount: All costs associated with training, except licensing fee

Paid CNA Training Programs

Paid CNA training programs offer students a valuable opportunity. They can receive employer funding for a work commitment after certification. Programs typically combine classroom instruction with hands-on clinical experience, providing the student with a comprehensive education in patient care.

Program length can vary from a few weeks to several months.

The Compass Health CNA program provides students with a paycheck as they learn new skills. After graduation, learners must pass an examination to receive certification as a CNA. The program takes 8-12 weeks of students attending five days a week, including some weekends.

Classes start throughout the year and graduates are offered employment at Compass Health, contingent on the results of a background screening, reference check, and vaccination status.

  • Program Length: 8-12 weeks
  • Location: Grover Beach, California
  • Program Terms: Following certification, graduates work at Compass Health part or full time; a $1,500 sign-on bonus is available.

Frequently Asked Questions About CNA Scholarships

The cheapest way to become a CNA is through a paid CNA training program. Candidates do not pay for classes and are compensated during the program. Graduates may be required to complete a work commitment. CNAs can also look for financial aid opportunities or check with their local health department and non-profit organizations that may offer free CNA training programs.

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