Many people begin their nursing careers by becoming Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, and one reason is because the schooling is quick and pretty affordable. However, if coming up with the necessary funds poses a problem for you, there are ways to offset the cost. Learn about them and put them to use to pursue your dream of becoming a CNA below.
Ten Tips on How to Afford Your CNA Program
Keep these tips in mind to more easily afford your CNA program:
- Skip Federal Grants - Although they're heavily promoted in the world of education, federal grants are almost exclusively for degree programs. CNA schooling doesn't fall into that category.
- Focus on the State Level - Agencies in many states have programs in place to help offset the cost of CNA schooling. An easy way to find them is by checking with your state's Department of Labor.
- Investigate Grants - Although federal grants don't really apply here, state and local grants often do. This typically involves having the cost of your schooling covered in exchange for committing to work for the state or a specific organization for a certain period of time.
- Check Local Economic Development Agencies - Economic development agencies in your area may connect you with free or reduced-cost CNA schooling. That's especially true because of the nursing shortage. As with grants, you may have to commit yourself to working for a specific organization for a certain length of time to qualify.
- Look Into the Workforce Investment Act - Low-income individuals may receive free or low-cost CNA schooling thanks to this act. Call around to local community colleges to see if they are on board with this program and to find out whether or not you qualify.
- Try the Job Corps - If you're between the ages of 16 and 23 and don't have your high school diploma, this may be an opportunity worth exploring. You'll receive your GED along with free schooling to become a CNA.
- Check Out Vocational Schools - Many vocational schools offer CNA programs, and they sometimes offer programs for free or reduced-cost tuition for eligible students. The only way to find out is by contacting local schools.
- Contact Goodwill Industries - In many areas, Goodwill Industries provides free CNA schooling as a part of its welfare-to-work initiative. Strict eligibility requirements apply, however, so do your homework before applying.
- Check with Local Employers - Due to the severe shortage of skilled nurses and nursing assistants, many employers are willing to provide on-the-job learning that can lead to a CNA certification. In addition to acquiring valuable work experience, you will receive the schooling you need to be eligible to sit for your state competency exam. Upon passing it, you will be a CNA.
- Look into Tuition Reimbursement - Some programs require you to pay for your learning upfront, but then reimburse you for it later after you receive your CNA license. If you can get a short-term loan from a friend or even a local bank, this may be an option worth pursuing.
As affordable as CNA schooling is, most people are able to save up for it over the course of a few months. If that's not an option for you, don't worry. It may take a little more time and effort, but you should be able to find an affordable way to pursue your dream of becoming a CNA.