Everyone wants a fulfilling career and the sense that you are doing something that makes a difference in the world.
Being a CNA is different. Every day you work as a CNA (a certified nursing assistant), you’ll be interacting directly with patients, delivering care, and helping them overcome health challenges.
It can feel like working in the medical field is out of reach, especially if you don't have a degree. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know to become a CNA in Georgia.
We include information about CNA classes in Georgia, testing, regulations, cost, and more.
Who Is the Regulatory Body for CNAs in Georgia?
CNA's, like any medical practitioner, have a supervising and regulatory body that helps to keep you and your patients safe and maintains the highest standards for care, training, and workplace condition.
In Georgia, the regulatory body is the Georgia Medical Care Foundation (GMCF). They operate as the main point of contact between the Medicare and Medicaid systems, Federal regulatory bodies, care facilities, and care practitioners like you.
Take a look at this brief from Alliant Health Solutions for a more detailed look at what the GMCF does, and how their policies protect you and your patients.
They have a panel of 70 specialist clinicians, from a range of disciplines, working to make sure the policies and procedures they enforce are safe and effective for everyone.
Who Administers the CNA Exam in Georgia?
CNA certification in GA is administered by Pearson VUE, the largest testing corporation in the United States, in cooperation with Nurse Aid Competency Evaluation Services (NACES).
You’ll go to the Pearson VUE website when it’s time to schedule your evaluation. From there you’ll find the closest location for the test, as well as selecting the test you’d prefer (more on testing options in a minute)
Pearson Vue also offers test prep books for what to expect at your Georgia State CNA exam and helpful studying advice. These books cover everything likely to appear on the test.
Georgia State Requirements for CNAs
The basic requirements for CNA classes in GA and CNA licenses are easy to meet. To be licensed, you need to be at least 16 years old, and you must be able to demonstrate that you are able to speak and write in English.
Certification also requires that you have completed a minimum of 85 training hours in an accredited program, 24 of which must be practical application hours in a nursing home under the supervision of an LPN or RN.
You also must achieve a 100% rating in your lab rotation before you’re eligible for CNA testing.
Georgia CNA Exam Details
There are three versions of the Georgia CNA exam, a written multiple-choice exam, an oral multiple-choice exam, and a random practical demonstration exam. Both the written and the oral CNA exams are available in English or Spanish versions in Georgia. The practical demonstration exam is only available in English, although Pearson does provide a Spanish list of the tasks you might be expected to perform.
As of the last time the test details were reported, in 2014, the written exam is approximately 70 multiple choice questions in both the Spanish and English versions. The oral exam is approximately 60 questions long. The practical demonstration test is performing 10 randomly selected tasks to the satisfaction of the supervisor/test proctor.
How Much Does the Georgia CNA Exam Cost?
The CNA exam costs $112. You can re-take the exam, up to three times, if you don't pass on the first try. Re-examination is not free, it costs $27 to re-take the oral or written exam and $85 to re-do the skills evaluation.
However, the exam itself isn’t the only cost you should expect as you train and certify. CNA programs in GA typically cost between $500-$1500 in tuition. Other costs you need to consider include:
The good news is that many accredited CNA programs are FAFSA eligible, so you can apply for federal student aid to help cover the costs.
If you already have an employer lined up, especially a nursing home, you can take advantage of the 4-month nursing home exemption and begin work while you complete a CNA program. Employers will often cover test costs for you if you choose to take this route.
Where Can I Take the CNA Exam in Georgia?
Fortunately, there are lots of testing locations to choose from in Georgia. For most people, you’ll be able to find a location within an hour’s drive.
The actual testing locations vary quite a bit, and you may want to think about the testing environment before you decide which one you want to go to. The closest testing center may not be the best test center to ensure your success.
The exact testing locations may change, but as of writing, there are several CNA specialized schools offering testing at their regular school location. You can also find CNA testing at local technical schools, Job Corps locations, and even directly in the care facilities that employ CNAs.
The best way to find a location is to go to the Pearson Vue website we linked earlier.
How Much Does a CNA Get Paid in Georgia?
The best numbers for CNA salary in GA are for the Atlanta area, for obvious reasons. CNA jobs in Atlanta, Georgia averages about $24,000 a year but can go as high as $30,000. CNA jobs in Savannah, GA are in roughly the same range. However, CNA jobs in Columbus, GA pay a little less, averaging $21,500 up to $27,000.
You may receive additional compensation in cash benefits or rewards incentives, although tipping is not common for CNAs.
Those annual salaries are about $10-$15 an hour, and compensation is similar for full-time and part-time CNAs. Many CNA jobs in GA give you flexible hour options so you can decide what works best for you.
CNA Training Locations in Georgia
You can expect a variety of training locations in Georgia. CNA classes in Atlanta, GA, as well as elsewhere in the state, usually combine schoolwork and practice at the main training location as well as practical experience and lab time in a partner workplace.
If you are working at a nursing home while going through your training program, you’ll likely find that your workplace also functions as your training location some of the time.
We’ll go into a list of some of the colleges, technical schools, and specialist training programs in Georgia in a moment, but you should know that you can also get CNA training from a wide variety of locations, so if none of the options on our list are near you, there are probably other local options as well.
List of CNA Schools:
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University’s CNA program offers you a chance to take classes in a college setting while working toward your CNA license.
Whether you’re coming as a student interested in pursuing a degree in the medical field or looking to get your CNA license and go to work, you can be sure you’re getting access to some of the best resources and research in the industry. The CNA program at Kennesaw State University requires a high school diploma OR a skills assessment score of 70 or higher on their test.
They also require you to fill out an application specific to the CNA program, which is usually due by mid-August.
Clayton State University
Clayton State University is another great state college option that will give you a taste of the college experience while also setting you up with valuable professional connections and great resources for your new career.
Clayton’s focus on small class sizes, affordability, and personalized attention for every student ensure that you'll have a great experience and the help you need to become a professional CNA.
In addition to offering a CNA training and licensing program, Clayton also offers continuing education courses for professionals.
University of West Georgia
The University of West Georgia program is another great college-style option for CNAs who want to be certain their information and technique is at the cutting-edge of medical science.
This program goes well beyond the minimum requirements, giving you 24 hours of practical in a long-term-care facility, 31 hours of classroom instruction, and 33 hours of lab time.
The University of West Georgia also includes your textbooks, a set of scrubs, and a stethoscope in their registration costs, reducing your overhead for additional supplies. You do still have to pay for the mandatory background check separate from registration.
Chattahoochee Technical College, North Metro Campus
If you’re looking for something a little more focused on professional development over the academic setting, Chattahoochee Technical College may be the place for you.
Chattahoochee Technical College instructors have a good idea of what working in the industry is like. They’ll help you fund focus areas and navigate the coursework with ease.
This is another program that is great for people who want to go for CNA licensing and start work, or for students looking to pursue one or more additional medical specialty. Regardless of your ultimate path, Chattahoochee will prepare you for a successful and fulfilling medical career.
Atlanta Job Corps Center
Jobs Corps is a prestigious way to enter a technical career, and they’re specially designed to help you even if schooling might otherwise be out of your reach. If you’re looking for CNA classes in Atlanta, GA, the local Job Corps Center may be the way to go.
Job Corps offers a total package of professional development, from the technical training you'll need as a CNA, to learning about business culture and how to network and succeed in your chosen profession.
Although the Atlanta center is closed as of this writing, pending the construction of a new facility, that just means that the new Atlanta Job Corps Center will be state of the art when it’s up and running.
Turner Job Corps Center
Everything we said about the Atlanta Job Corps Center is true of Turner, except that Turner is open and in full operation right now.
In addition to what we’ve already discussed, you can expect assistance as you transition out of Job Corps and into your career. They’ll help you find your first job, and you’ll complete transition surveys as you exit the program to help them track and improve their support systems.
However, both the Atlanta and the Turner Job Corps Center function like any Jobs Corps program, you must be 16-24 years old to participate, and there are some income eligibility requirements since the program is made available at no cost to its participants.
Southeastern Technical College
Another technical college option, Southeastern Technical College offers a comprehensive CNA program available for students 17+, who can present a diploma, GED, or equivalent, and has submitted the complete application with transcripts, as well as passing a general starting skills test.
This program has the advantage of having 2 learning tracks, so you can pick the classes and course design that looks like the best fit for you.
Both course options are 30 hours to completion, and you can always go back and take individual classes and practical training courses as part of your continuing education later.
Okefenokee Technical College
Okefenokee is one half of the merged Technical College now named Coastal Pines Technical College. However, since this is a recent change the college is still better known as Okefenokee.
Coastal Pines offers some of their classes tuition-free, making them a good comparison to the Job Corps program, but open to everyone instead of only catering to a specific age bracket. Simply apply for the HOPE Career Grant, which covers tuition costs at the college.
The Health Care Assistant (CNA) program is considered one of its low-cost tuition programs.
They require a minimum age of 16, and a high school diploma or the equivalent. This program’s classes will take you through the very basics, including addition math, through the finer details of CNA work. You can even take classes geared toward becoming a surgeon or other specialist’s assistant.
West Georgia Technical College
West Georgia Technical College's CNA program understands that a CNA provides critical personal care to every patient. CNA's have some of the closest interactions with patients of any medical care professional.
At West Georgia Technical College you will be trained with that massive personal impact in mind. You’ll be prepared to help patients through the most difficult situations with skill, expertise, and compassion.
This course requires that you complete a minimum of 13 credit hours, with the class program designed to provide up to 15, taking you from the basics to the details, jargon, and practical skill you’ll need to be successful.
Altamaha Technical Institute
Altamaha Technical Institute has an impressive 97% successful job placement rate for students who have completed their technical certification programs. That makes them a great option for students looking to become CNA's or who want to enter any medical profession since they'll get you started right.
They also require a GED, high school diploma, high skills test score, or the equivalent. Like the other technical colleges on this list, Altamaha is invested in making sure you have a successful future and will provide everything you need to become a great CNA.