Healthcare is a fantastic industry to start a career. In a world where job stability has been on decline, the healthcare field is constantly recruiting professionals. Joining the industry doesn’t require years of medical school and tons of money. Start your nursing career by taking CNA classes in Colorado to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and see whether this industry is a great fit for you.
Once you obtain a Colorado CNA license, there are tons of CNA jobs in Colorado waiting for you. There are jobs in nearly any area of healthcare in Colorado, whether you want to work for hospitals or nursing homes. This guide will teach you the basic requirements on the road to obtaining your CNA certification and introduce you to the best programs throughout the state to get your training.
Who is the regulatory body for CNAs in Colorado?
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is the regulatory body for CNAs. They have an established Board of Nursing that handles all nursing certifications and rules for the state, including CNA registry in Colorado.
Who administers the CNA exam in Colorado?
Pearson Vue is the authorized administrator for the CNA exams, (NNAAPs) in Colorado. They create, score, and report all of the Written Exams and Skill Evaluations in the state of Colorado. Passing both exams will add your name to the Colorado Nurse Aide Registry.
Colorado State Requirements for CNAs
To become a CNA in Colorado, you must obtain a certification. You get this by completing a minimum of 80 hours of state approved CNA classes in Colorado then passing both a Written and Practical examination.
The Department of Regulatory Agencies site (linked above) houses the CNA application forms. This will let you register for the CNA certification exams.
Colorado CNA Exam Details
The exam in Colorado is called the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) examination. Pearson VUE has provided a handbook for candidates who want to sit their examinations that will help them prepare for the test. This includes a practice exam.
The written exam has 70 questions. They are all multiple choice. If you have difficulty reading English, you are able to request an oral examination and have the questions read to you in either English or Spanish. The oral exam has 60 questions and 10 multiple choice reading comprehension questions. You can follow along in a test booklet while the questions are read aloud on an MP3.
The skills exam will ask you to perform 5 randomly selected skills. You will have 30 minutes to complete all 5 skills and a Nurse Aide Evaluator (NAE) will have a checklist to rate your performance. All 5 skills must be performed correctly.
You must schedule your exam 12 days in advance and pay electronically through the online scheduling system. If you don’t pass both portions of your exam within 2 years of completing your training, you will need to submit a new application and fee. If you fail either portion 3 times then you must retrain before taking the exam again.
Once you have been approved to take the test, you will receive an email with your exam information. The test will be administered at a regional facility of your choice. If you need to reschedule your exam, you must call a week in advance to reschedule. If you don’t then you will forfeit your examination fees and can’t transfer the fee to another date. The exception to this rule is in emergency situations like illness, family death, jury or military duty, or if a severe weather emergency makes the test site unsafe or impossible to reach.
Arrive early to your exam so you can be registered and plan to spend all day at the facility to complete both exams. You must bring 2 forms of identification, 3 pencils (No. 2, pre-sharpened), an eraser, and a watch with a second hand. Nothing else will be permitted.
For the practical exam, you will also be required to serve as a client for another nurse’s skill evaluation if you are physically able to perform the role. You must let the evaluator know if you have any allergies or sensitivities and if you have any range of motion limitations. For your exam, you will be required to wear flat, sip on, non skid shoes, a loose fitting top with short sleeves that can roll up to the shoulder, and loose fitting pants that can be rolled up. You will be putting a gown over your clothing.
Additional requirements, skill evaluation checklists, and study guides are all provided on the Pearson VUE website for test takers.
How much does the Colorado CNA exam cost?
You must pay for the exam when scheduling and it must be done through the online scheduling system. Payments will only be accepted from credit or prepaid debit cards and gift cards.
Discover cards are not accepted. Personal checks and cash are also not accepted. Once you submit your payment, it is non-refundable and non-transferable.
Taking the written and skills tests together costs $135. Taking the oral and skills tests together also costs $135. It is $50 for the written or oral exam by itself and $85 for the skills test by itself.
Where can you take the CNA exam in Colorado?
There are several locations to take the test in Colorado. Many of the CNA training programs include the CNA exam in their curriculum. For these, you will have your instructor schedule an in house exam that takes place in that facility with Pearson VUE certified administrators.
If you are taking the exam on your own, you can find test centers in the following areas: Aurora, Alamosa, Burlington, 2 in Colorado Springs, Cortez, Delta, Denver, 2 in Grand Junction, Fort Collins, Fort Morgan, Lafayette, La Junta, Littleton, Loveland, 2 in Pueblo, Steamboat Springs, and Westminster.
How much does a CNA get paid in Colorado?
If you are looking for a change of careers, and worried about starting over in a new field with no experience, you may be concerned about how much you will be paid. The average CNA salary in Colorado is $15.33 per hour. This is 18% higher than the national average. They also make about $5,000 per year in overtime. This salary is trending in an upward direction, so it is a great industry to get into where you can make a comfortable living as a beginner.
Salaries for entry-level positions average around $27,000 per year. The average salary is $33,000 per year. Experienced CNAs can make more than $36,000 per year.
CNA Schools in Colorado
There are several places throughout the state to get your CNA degree. Here are some of the most reputable accredited options. Keep in mind that the majority of programs and test facilities have strict guidelines for working in hospitals.
While THC (marijuana) is legal in Colorado, it is still not permitted under federal regulations. If you test positive for THC, you will not be allowed entrance into a Health or Public Safety program.
Front Range Community College
Front Range offers a Nurse Aide Certificate at their Larimer and Westminster locations. This is a 5-credit program that takes place in 1 semester.
This program’s pass rates consistently rank higher than average because of the quality instruction received here.
Arapahoe Community College
Arapahoe allows you to earn your CNA training credentials through a part time program that only takes 1 semester. Their program is designed for working professionals who need to balance certification with their current employment. They have certified labs that will allow you to practice your skills in a hands-on environment and transition into healthcare agencies.
Pikes Peak Community College
Pikes Peak has a great training program On top of that; they also assist with job placement, and have a 90% placement rate for their graduates. Their training is hands on and very affordable. In fact, several of their classes are completed in a hospital setting. They offer several informational sessions on campus before each semester’s registration deadlines, so you are welcome to attend and ask any questions you may have while meeting instructors and touring facilities.
Pueblo Community College
At Pueblo, class sizes are small. In fact, your class may only include 10 students! This is because they want to maximize the hands-on training you receive. Their program is a little over 120 hours, which is nearly double the federal requirement of 75 hours. Their graduates make between $36,000 to $50,000 per year.
Community College of Denver
One of the great advantages of this program is that it offers direct to work pathways. In just 1 month, you can receive all the training hours you need to become a CNA.
This program is offered during the day or evenings, and can be taken over 7 or 15 weeks. It is available at the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver or the Lowry location.
Trinidad State Junior College
This program will prepare you for your CNA exam, but it will also lay a foundation for career advancement. It is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts of nursing, providing a foundation for students who wish to continue their education and become licensed LPNs or RNs.
Lamar Community College
Lamar has a fully accredited nursing program. You can earn your Associate of Applied Science in Nursing, sitting for the State Board Exam for RN licensure as a Registered Nurse. They also offer certification programs as a CNA or an EMT. This is a great way to get a well-rounded education, earning 2 major certifications along the way to your nursing career.
Emily Griffith Technical College
This program prepares you to take the certification exam in 2 months. Their program offers one of the lowest tuition rates in Denver, hands on experience, classes that fit around work schedules, and the option to automatically enroll in LPN (Licensed Practical nurse) and RN (Registered Nurse) courses upon completion. Their daytime program can be completed in 6 weeks for less than $1000.
Northeastern Junior College
The CNA training at Northeasters leads to immediate employment. Their graduates are in high demand in hospitals, home care agencies, and long term care facilities.
This teaches empathetic bedside manner and provides an introduction to nursing that students can build upon to advance their careers. They offer extended and accelerated formats to accommodate any schedule.
Colorado Northwestern Community College
The training course here will prepare students for the exam by teaching a combination of basic nursing skills, safety and emergency care, practical lab skills, clinical experience, and personal care skills. Students will be able to take the NATCEP (Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program) to certify as a CNA. To fully prepare students, they will be required to wear scrubs, appropriate footwear, and a watch with a second hand at all times. No jewelry aside from wedding bands will be permitted.