Certified Nurse's Aide (CNA) Program

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Certified Nurse’s Assistant or CNA?

A Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) is a person who assists individuals needing healthcare services with activities of daily living and provides bedside care—including basic nursing procedures—all under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

In today's hospitals and extended care facilities a CNA is an important part of a health care team. The CNA must be skilled in actual procedures and must also be able to observe a patient's condition and report that information to a nurse.

Common basic tasks may include any of the following:

  • Answer clients call signals.
  • Turn and reposition clients, alone or with assistance.
  • Observe clients conditions, measuring and recording food and liquid intake and output and vital signs, and report changes to professional staff.
  • Provide clients with walking, exercising, and moving in and out of bed.
  • Prepare clients for treatment or examination.
  • Transport clients to treatment units.
  • Provide clean living environment.

A CNA must also have a strong grasp of emergency procedures and be able to stay calm in stressful situations.

Why should I consider becoming a CNA?

This is a very opportune time to join the health care field as a CNA.  Jobs in health care and social assistance are expected to have the fastest growth rate over the next 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).  Two of the fastest growing occupations – personal and home care aides and home health aides -- are projected to grow by about 41 percent each from 2016 to 2026. This trend is not only on the national level, but is repeated on the state level as well.  Of the top 50 fastest-growing occupations in the state of Hawaii, personal and home care aides is ranked #1 and home health aides is ranked #4 (Hawaii State Department of Labor).  This increase in the demand for health care workers is primarily the result of a growing and aging population.  These occupations are projected to add many more jobs in the coming years.

What kind of job can I get as a CNA?

Certified Nurse’s Assistants may work in hospitals, long-term care facilities (nursing homes), care homes, private homes, adult day cares, and clinics.

How much money can I expect to earn as a CNA?

After completing the 7-week CNA training course and passing the state exam a CNA could expect to earn $12 to $19 per hour. 

How long is the CNA training program?

The CNA training program is 7 weeks in length.  The first five weeks include classroom based training: lectures, book work, and practicing skills.  The last two weeks are in a clinical setting where students get actual hands-on skills practice at a local nursing home facility.

(Note: Schedule subject to change without notice)

What are the days and times for the CNA training program?

Classes are held for the first five weeks on Monday through Thursday from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm.  For the last two weeks of clinical, class is held Monday through Wednesday from 5:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Where are the classes located?

For the first five weeks, classes are held on the Windward Community College campus in Hale Kuhina, Room #107.  Clinical training is held at Aloha Nursing Rehab Centre, 45-545 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744.

(Note: Schedule subject to change without notice)

When does the next training session start?

Here is the schedule of CNA session(s) for 2019:

January 28 – March 14
April 1 – May 16
June 24 – August 15
September 3 – October 17
November 4 – December 19

Please not that schedule is subject to change.

How much does the CNA program cost?

There are two costs involved in the CNA program:

  •  Tuition for 7-week session $2800.00

 Due:  Two weeks prior to class start date.

  •  State Certification Exam  

Total: $225.00
(Fee payable to Prometric)

Due:  Test given by Prometric.  Fee is to be paid at the time the examination is scheduled.

Is there any financial assistance available for the CNA program?

The Certified Nurse's Aide program is a non-credit program, and as such, financial aid (FAFSA) does not apply.

Students should meet with a college counselor to identify financial aid opportunities.  Eligibility criteria are set by individual funding sources.  Below is a partial list of programs that offer financial aid to qualifying applicants.  Please contact Dawn Poh, for more information.

Dawn Poh:
Phone: 235-7328
Email:  dawnpoh@hawaii.edu

Hana Lima Scholarship

O’ahu Worklinks

When is the tuition for the program due?

Tuition for the CNA program is due two weeks prior to the start of the first day of the course. However, it is wisest to complete payment as soon as possible to secure a seat in class.

How do I pay for the program?

Payments need to be made at the front desk of the Office of Continuing and Community Education, located in Hale Kuhina building on the Windward Community College Campus.  Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit or debit card. 

How do I apply to the program?

We would like you to know a few things about the application process:

  • Securing a spot in one of our CNA classes is done on a “first come-first served” basis. Students who complete each step of the application process are enrolled.
  • Our application process meets the State of Hawaii regulations.  Students will be working directly with clients by the end of the program.  Health and safety clearances are necessary to ensure client safety.
  • Below are 6 steps to enrolling in the CNA program.  You can do steps #2 through #5 on your own.  Each of these steps is administered by a different group outside of Windward Community College. Please see the various web links for more information.
  • Each session only has 10 available seats; there is usually a wait list to enroll in the program.

Application Procedure:

Step #1: Contact Dawn Poh to start the enrollment process.
Bring any completed paperwork to this meeting. 
To set up an appointment, contact:

Dawn Poh:
Phone: 235-7328
Email:  dawnpoh@hawaii.edu

Step #2: Take the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE), which is used to assess an individual's readiness to enter a particular training program.  (Note:  The CNA program requires a minimum of a 9th grade reading and math level in order to be accepted into the program.)

Step #3: Complete a physical examination with the doctor of your choice.
Download physician's form (PDF).

Step #4: Obtain MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) Clearance
Obtain a copy of your immunization record that proves you have received your MMR immunization.  This may be obtained at the same time as your physical examination.

Step #5: Obtain 2-Step TB Clearance
Note:  This may be obtained at the same time as your physical examination also or can be obtained free of charge from a community health service. 
Click here for locations (PDF).

Step #6: Obtain a Criminal Clearance Check.  You can do this in one of two ways:

  • Online through ECRIM. (Click here for website).
  • Follow the online instructions and print out your ECRIM report. 

Note:  There is a fee to pay via credit or debit card.

If you have any questions about this application process, please contact Dawn Poh at:
235-7328 or via email:  dawnpoh@hawaii.edu

How do I guarantee a seat in the program?

In order to guarantee a seat, you need to complete each part of the application (e.g. TABE test, physical examination, MMR clearance, TB clearance, Criminal background check), and pay for the course. 

How do I take the TABE test?

Call Dawn Poh at 235-7328 to schedule the test.

Why do I need to take the TABE test?

The TABE test checks reading and math levels.  A minimum of a 9th grade reading and math level is required.  People scoring less than a 9th grade reading or math level on the test may choose to enroll in essential skills training to improve math and reading skills before re-testing. 

How do I get my 2-step TB clearance?

You can get your TB clearance in one of two ways:

  • You can ask your physician a TB test and clearance paperwork.
  • You can obtain a TB test and clearance free of charge from a community health service. 

Click here for locations (PDF)

Why do I need to have a 2-Step TB clearance?

This is a requirement for all workers in the health care field. TB is easily spread and clearance is required by law.

If I have received a TB clearance in the past, can I use it for the CNA program also?

If your TB clearance was issued within the past year and is a 2-Step clearance, you can use the one you already have.  If your test expires before the end of the 7 week CNA training program, you will be required to take a new test.  If your TB clearance is older than one year or is the 1-Step TB test, you will need to get a new 2-Step TB.

How do I get my MMR clearance?

You can get your MMR clearance in one of three ways:

  • You can ask your physician for paperwork that proves you have had your MMR immunization or for the MMR immunization.
  • If you have not yet had your MMR immunization, you will need to see a health care provider to discuss your options.   
  • If you were born before Dec. 31, 1956, you will not be required to show proof of MMR.

Why do I need to have a MMR clearance?
All workers in the health care field must have received the MMR immunization and be able to prove it. This is also a requirement to attend any college in the UH System.