Certified Nursing Assistant Programs in Massachusetts: Exploring Your Options

Are you considering a rewarding career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in Massachusetts? With a growing demand for CNAs and a strong job outlook, there’s no better time to start your journey. But with so many options, how do you choose the right certified nursing assistant programs in Massachusetts to set yourself up for success? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the requirements, top CNA programs, financial aid opportunities, and tips for choosing the best program and preparing for the Massachusetts CNA exam. Get ready to embark on a fulfilling career in healthcare!

Short Summary

  • To become a CNA in Massachusetts, one must meet specific requirements and complete state-approved training programs.
  • The Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation (NACE) is the comprehensive test for certification, which requires thorough preparation.
  • Research salary expectations and make use of financial aid options to select the best Certified Nursing Assistant Program for your needs.

Massachusetts CNA Requirements and Process

To become a CNA in Massachusetts, there are two crucial steps: completing a state-approved training program and passing the certification exam. Starting with the right training is essential, as it will equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide high-quality care to patients. Before you can enroll in a CNA training program, you must meet specific requirements, such as being at least 16 years old, having a high school diploma or equivalent, and passing a criminal background check.

Once you have successfully completed your training, which typically consists of 100 hours of instruction, you’ll need to pass the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation (NACE). This two-component evaluation is crucial in obtaining your CNA certification and getting listed on the Massachusetts Nurse Aide Registry.

But how can you ensure you choose the best training program to prepare for the exam?

State-Approved Training Programs

Various state-approved training programs in Massachusetts prepare aspiring CNAs for their certification exam. Some popular options include JVS Boston, Boston Allied Health Training, Medical Professional Institute, and Horizon Learning Connection.

Choosing a state-approved program is crucial, as it guarantees that the program meets the standards set by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and ensures you’ll be well-prepared for the exam.

Testing and Certification

The Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation (NACE) consists of two components: a 30-minute skills component and a 60-item multiple-choice knowledge test with a two-hour time limit. If you fail the exam, don’t worry – you can retake the written component up to three times and the clinical test up to two times.

Preparing well for the exam, through practice tests and study materials, will help ensure your success in obtaining your CNA certification.

Renewal and Recertification

In Massachusetts, CNA certification is valid for two years. To renew your certification, you’ll need to complete 8 hours of in-service training and provide proof of qualifying employment.

If your certification has expired, you may still be able to renew it by demonstrating relevant work experience. Staying up-to-date with your certification is vital to continuing your successful career as a CNA.

Top Certified Nursing Assistant Programs in Massachusetts

Now that you know the requirements and process for becoming a CNA in Massachusetts, it’s time to explore the top CNA programs in the state. Some of the most reputable CNA programs include Bunker Hill Community College, Middlesex Community College, Massachusetts Bay Community College, Quinsigamond Community College, and North Shore Community College.

These accredited programs offer comprehensive training and preparation for the CNA exam, ensuring you’re well-equipped for a successful career in healthcare.

Bunker Hill Community College

Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) offers an Accelerated Nurse Aide/Home Health Aide Program, which is accredited and lasts for eight weeks. Students need to successfully complete three concurrent courses to receive American Red Cross certification. These courses are AHE110—Principles of Clinical Practice (online), AHE111—Patient Care Skills (in-class) and AHE106—Practicum for Nurse Aide (off-site).

Students must complete a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check and a Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) check before being eligible for clinical placement at BHCC. Otherwise, they will not be considered for such placement. BHCC’s program offers a solid foundation for aspiring CNAs in the Boston metropolitan area.

Middlesex Community College

Located in Bedford, Massachusetts, Middlesex Community College offers a Nursing Assistant Certificate program as part of its Academy of Health Professions. This 19-credit program helps students gain necessary skills for entry-level jobs. These include medical terminology and computer proficiency in medical offices.

To inquire about tuition costs for their CNA program, you can contact the college at 1-800-818-3434.

Massachusetts Bay Community College

Massachusetts Bay Community College (MBCC) offers a comprehensive 120-hour CNA program, which includes 80 hours of in-class lectures and on-campus laboratory skills training, as well as 40 hours of clinical instruction at a long-term care facility. The program emphasizes the acquisition of fundamental skills such as assessing vital signs, providing personal care, food service, infection control, hygiene, and restorative nursing.

With clinical clerkships scheduled on weekends, this program offers flexibility for students balancing work and personal commitments.

Quinsigamond Community College

Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) provides a Nursing Assistant Certificate program that can be completed at their Healthcare and Workforce Development Center in downtown Worcester. The tuition for the program is $415, plus additional fees.

Studying at QCC ensures you receive quality training at an affordable cost.

North Shore Community College

North Shore Community College’s CNA training program consists of 115 hours, with 21 hours of clinical instruction and 94 hours of in-class, didactic lecture. During the clinical instruction portion, CNA candidates are expected to measure and check vital signs, provide patients with restorative care, and maintain clear and accurate records.

The well-rounded training at North Shore Community College prepares students to excel in their CNA careers.

CNA Salary and Job Outlook in Massachusetts

The job outlook for CNAs in Massachusetts is promising, with an estimated 11% growth rate by 2026, and an average salary of $16 per hour. Additionally, the average annual salary for CNAs in Massachusetts is $32,370.

With a growing demand for healthcare professionals, now is an excellent time to begin your journey as a CNA.

Job Growth

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 5% job growth rate for Certified Nursing Assistants in Massachusetts over the 2021-2031 decade. This growth is driven by factors such as an aging population, increased emphasis on preventive care, and advancements in healthcare technology.

With these projections, CNAs can expect a steady demand for their skills in the coming years.

Salary Expectations

Recent data shows that the average salary for a CNA in Massachusetts is $34,619 per year. Factors such as experience, location, and employer all contribute to determining a CNA’s salary.

It’s essential to research local salary expectations and consider your experience level when evaluating potential job opportunities.

Demand for CNAs

The demand for CNAs in Massachusetts is considerable, as the number of open CNA positions in long-term care facilities has exceeded pre-pandemic levels since mid-2021. With an estimated hourly pay of $15.69 for CNAs in the state, this career path offers both job security and competitive wages for those interested in providing vital care to patients.

The job outlook for CNAs in Massachusetts is strong, with the demand for qualified professionals expected to remain high in the coming years. With the right training and certification, CNAs can enjoy a rewarding career in the healthcare industry, providing essential care to those in need.

Online and Hybrid CNA Programs in Massachusetts

For those seeking greater flexibility and convenience in their CNA training, online and hybrid programs are an excellent option. Massachusetts offers several accredited online and hybrid CNA programs, such as the Certified Nurse Assistant/Certified Nurse Aide Training Program, American Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training classes, and JVS’s nurse’s aide training options.

These programs offer the perfect combination of convenience and quality, ensuring you receive the best possible education while accommodating your schedule.

Advantages of Online and Hybrid Programs

Online and hybrid CNA programs offer numerous benefits, such as the ability to study remotely, flexible scheduling, and the capacity to complete the program at your own pace. These advantages make online and hybrid programs an excellent choice for those with busy schedules or who live far from the program location.

Additionally, online and hybrid programs can be more cost-effective than traditional in-person programs.

Accredited Online CNA Programs

Accredited online CNA programs in Massachusetts include the American Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training classes and the Certified Nurse Assistant/Certified Nurse Aide Training Program.

These programs offer the same high-quality education as traditional in-person programs, but with added convenience and flexibility for students.

Hybrid CNA Programs

Hybrid CNA programs, like the Certified Nurse Assistant/Certified Nurse Aide Training Program and the American Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training classes, combine the benefits of online learning with hands-on clinical experience.

These programs offer students the opportunity to complete their coursework remotely while still gaining valuable real-world experience in a healthcare setting.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Opportunities for CNA Students

Affording your CNA education can be a challenge, but there are numerous financial aid and scholarship opportunities available to help cover the cost of your program. From federal financial aid, state-sponsored scholarships, and private scholarships, there are resources available to make your CNA education more affordable and accessible.

Federal Financial Aid

CNA students in Massachusetts may be eligible for federal financial aid, such as the MASSGrant and MASSGrant Plus programs, as well as scholarships and grants offered by schools and organizations.

Additionally, some students may be eligible for federal student loans, such as the Federal Direct Loan Program, which can be used to finance tuition, fees, and other educational expenses.

State-Sponsored Scholarships

State-sponsored scholarships, such as the Mercer Foundation for Health Scholarship and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ various state-funded aid programs, merit grants, and need-based scholarship initiatives, are available to CNA students in Massachusetts.

These scholarships can help cover the costs of tuition, books, and other associated expenses.

Private Scholarships

For CNA students in Massachusetts, private scholarships such as the AGC of Massachusetts Scholarship, the Mercer Foundation for Health Scholarship, and the Goddard House Doane Scholarship are available.

These scholarships are typically merit-based and awarded to students displaying outstanding academic achievement, helping to make your CNA education more affordable.

Tips for Choosing the Right CNA Program

Selecting the right CNA program is crucial to your success as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Factors to consider include accreditation, course content and clinical experience, program length and schedule, and cost and financial aid.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can ensure you choose a program that best fits your needs and prepares you for a successful career as a CNA.


Accreditation is a vital factor to consider when choosing a CNA program, as it guarantees that the program meets certain standards of quality and rigor, and may impact your ability to obtain licensure or certification.

In Massachusetts, CNA programs must be approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) to ensure the highest standards of quality.

Course Content and Clinical Experience

When evaluating a CNA program, it’s crucial to consider course content and clinical experience, as they provide aspiring CNAs with the necessary knowledge and skills to provide superior care to patients. Look for programs that offer a comprehensive curriculum, covering topics such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, nutrition, infection control, and patient care.

Additionally, hands-on clinical experience in a real-world setting is essential for aspiring CNAs to gain the necessary skills to provide quality care.

Program Length and Schedule

Program length and schedule are essential factors to consider when selecting a CNA program. Different programs offer varying lengths, ranging from 4 to 12 weeks, and may have different hour requirements.

Choose a program that fits your schedule and allows you to complete the necessary training in a suitable timeframe.

Cost and Financial Aid

Cost and financial aid should also be considered when choosing a CNA program. Tuition and fees can vary depending on the program and institution, but most programs offer financial aid options, such as grants, loans, and scholarships.

Research the different financial aid options available to you to help make your CNA education more affordable.

Preparing for the Massachusetts CNA Exam

Proper preparation is essential for passing the Massachusetts CNA exam and obtaining your certification. Utilizing study materials, taking practice tests, and employing test-taking strategies can help you feel more confident and prepared for the exam.

Let’s explore some tips and resources to help you succeed.

Study Materials

There are a variety of study materials available to help you prepare for the Massachusetts CNA exam, including textbooks, online courses, and the Massachusetts Red Cross Nurse Assistant Competency Evaluation (CNA Test) Study Guide.

These resources can help you build a solid foundation of knowledge and skills, ensuring you’re well-prepared for the exam.

Practice Tests

Taking practice tests is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the exam format and content, and build your confidence for the actual exam.

The Massachusetts Red Cross Nurse Assistant Competency Evaluation (CNA Test) Study Guide provides practice exams for the Massachusetts CNA exam, allowing you to gauge your understanding and identify areas where you may need additional study.

Test-Taking Strategies

Employing test-taking strategies can help improve your performance on the Massachusetts CNA exam. Some useful strategies include studying early and consistently, managing your time effectively during the exam, reading questions carefully, and focusing on the skills required for the Clinical Skills Test.

With proper preparation and a strategic approach, you’ll be well-equipped to pass the exam and begin your rewarding career as a Certified Nursing Assistant.


In conclusion, becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant in Massachusetts is a rewarding and fulfilling career choice. By selecting the right CNA program, obtaining the necessary training and certification, and utilizing available financial aid and scholarship opportunities, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career in healthcare. With a strong job outlook and competitive salaries, there’s never been a better time to pursue your dream of becoming a CNA in Massachusetts. Start your journey today and make a difference in the lives of patients and their families.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a CNA in Massachusetts?

Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in Massachusetts generally takes between 4 to 12 weeks. CNA programs typically provide classroom instruction as well as hands-on clinical practice under the supervision of an LPN or RN.

Therefore, you could complete the program and begin your career as a CNA within less than 3 months.

How much does a CNA get paid per hour in MA?

On average, Certified Nursing Assistants in Massachusetts get paid $24.39 per hour ($50,731 annually). This is based on 667,598 hours of CNA wage information reported by Skilled Nursing Facilities for the fiscal year ending in 2021 to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Aug 1, 2022.

Can I take the CNA test without classes in Massachusetts?

Unfortunately, in Massachusetts it is not possible to take the CNA test without completing classes. To be eligible to take the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation, you must have proof of completion of an approved Nurse Aide Training program or have previously been listed on the MA Nurse Aide Registry.

How to start a CNA school in MA?

If you are looking to start a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) school in Massachusetts, then you must apply and meet certain qualifications. First, you must submit an Application to Establish a Nurse Aide Training Program to the Nurse Aide Registry Program.

Afterward, you must comply with the regulations of the Department of Public Health. To learn more, contact the Nurse Aide Registry Program at (617) 753-8144.