Certified nurse assistant (CNA) can be an entry-level certification to gain valuable hands-on experience before attending nursing school or beginning a long-term career. Colleges, hospitals, private health companies and community-based organizations offer day, evening, semester-long and accelerated CNA training courses leading to certification examination eligibility.

Accelerated Programs

In an accelerated format, CNA training can be completed in as little as four weeks. Classes using the accelerated format typically last for eight hours a day. CNA students must attend daily lectures and participate in all clinicals to complete the program. Each state's nursing board sets rules for the number of required classroom and clinical hours a student must complete to be eligible for a CNA license.

Day and Evening Programs

Day and evening CNA training programs appeal to adults with family and work obligations. Such programs are often provided by hospitals, private health care companies, community-based organizations and vocational school adult education programs. Day and evening CNA training programs sometimes last longer than accelerated programs because they are designed to accommodate adults in need of flexible schedules.

College Programs

Community colleges offer accelerated and semester-long CNA training programs in collaboration with hospitals and nursing homes. Generally speaking, community college CNA courses are part of noncredit adult education initiatives. Although college CNA courses are taught by highly qualified nurses, students enrolled in such programs do so at their own expense and do not earn college credit.