Massachusetts is the most populous state in New England, and this means there is a constant need for skilled medical professionals. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) make up an essential part of this and working as a CNA is a great way to take the first step in your Massachusetts healthcare journey.
The state of Massachusetts requires prospective CNAs to undergo a Nurse Aide Training (NAT) program legislated by the state health board. After passing, trainees may also take and prepare for the Red Cross’s Nurse Aide Competency Exam (NACE), which will give them the qualifications they need in order to serve as a CNA. If a candidate has already undergone 100 hours in a nursing discipline, they are able to skip the prerequisite NAT.
Massachusetts CNA Certification Requirements
Eligibility to take CNA classes and work in Massachusetts varies depending on the location and the institution. Some requirements that exist across all state-approved courses include:
- Passing a fingerprint type criminal background check
- Varying levels of education depending on the institution (some require a GED or equivalent, others only ninth grade reading and comprehension skills)
- Attendance of the orientation session
- Current CPR card
- Passing a physical exam
- Being 18 years or over
- Proof of immunization and a negative TB test
Massachusetts CNA Training & Testing Costs
To sit the NACE and become a qualified CNA in Massachusetts, you must first complete the NAT program unless you are exempt. The training is a minimum 100 hours, 75 of which must be classroom time and 25 clinical externship hours. It can take place over four to six weeks. Completion of this course qualifies you for the NACE. Those who have done 100 hours of a nursing degree program, are military personnel with CNA training, are CNAs with an expired license, are CNAs from out-of-state, or are nurses from other countries with proof of their qualifications may skip the training and go straight to the NACE.
The cost of the NACE examination is $93 for the first certification or recertification. It also carries fees ($20 for each of the two sections) for missing the written, clinical, or both portions of the test. The costs of the prerequisite training can vary depending on the institution and where you are located, usually starting at $400 and going as high as $1200 for tuition, not including the costs of textbooks, uniforms, and other incremental costs. Contacting healthcare providers may allow you to arrange free training in exchange for the promise to work at the institution after you pass the NACE. An incomplete list of places which may offer free training can be found here.
Free CNA Classes & Nurse Aide Training Courses in Massachusetts
If you are tempted by the sound of becoming a CNA in Massachusetts, the following links will help you get started. These are some institutes that offer either free or paid NAT programs. Please contact the institutions themselves for further information on the program, curriculum, or costs.
CNA Training in Boston, MA
MassBay Community College This program is especially good for those who wish to specialize in care for elderly or disabled patients. It’s a very comprehensive course, covering 127.5 hours (around eight weeks), and the course fee is $1130, payable upfront upon registration. This does not cover textbooks and other incremental costs. The class sizes are small to allow an intimate learning environment, and the exam takes place on the same campus as the training.
JVS Boston The nicest part of this program is that is available on two levels; the six week course for advanced learners and native/fluent English speakers, and the fourteen week comprehensive course that also offers classes in English. Both courses also help students with computer skills. Those who complete the shorter course are also guaranteed a job afterward. Those who are selected to take part can undergo this training for free.
American Red Cross The Red Cross is a world-renowned name in the medical field, so undergoing CNA training here will certainly be a feather in the cap of those looking to advance further in their clinical career. As well as basic CNA training, they also offer CPR and First Aid certification for two years. Classes are small and run during the day, and tuition costs $1,250.
CNA Training in Worcester, MA
3Dimension Health Services The training offered on this program focuses heavily on hands-on care and is great for those who really want to get stuck into the role straight away. Tuition is in the mid-range, at around $920 for the program, but the nice thing is that the tuition also covers the price of books, badges, and all administrative fees.
Quinsigamond Community College QCC’s program is one of the more reasonably priced in the area, priced at around $400. For those who are juggling other commitments, the extremely helpful point of this program is that up to 50% of it can be completed online, allowing a less rigid approach than some other courses.
CNA Training in Springfield, MA
Springfield Technical Community College This course is a little more comprehensive than some others, running for 140 hours. Tuition is $2,395. While this may seem high, however, it also includes the cost of liability insurance and the cost of the final NACE exam. As well, completing this program also grants a CPR qualification as well as training specifically in Alzheimer’s and Home Health Aide work.
Additional Massachusetts CNA resources
After the above links help you get started, make sure to keep a note of the following links to help you with your further education and career.
Massachusetts Nurse Aide Registry
To contact the New York Nurse Aide Registry use the information below:
99 Chauncy Street, 2nd Fl.
Boston, MA 0211
Out of State CNAs
Active out-of-state CNAs can register to work in Massachusetts by applying for reciprocity through the American Red Cross. The form and instructions can be found here.
Once completed, your certification and this form should be sent to:
ARC/Massachusetts Nurse Aide Program Reciprocity Program 85 Lowell Street Peabody, MA 01960
Please note: An exception applies to CNAs registered in California, Louisiana, Colorado, North Carolina and Missouri, as these state boards will no longer verify written applications. The process remains the same, except the Red Cross in Massachusetts will deal with the verification section of the form.
Renewing your CNA License in Massachusetts
Once registered, your license is valid for two years and may be renewed so long as you have worked eight full hours during this time. Your employer should fill out and send the renewal form. If you have not worked during this time, you will have to re-take the examinations.
How much does a CNA make in Massachusetts?
Salary varies depending on where in the state and which institution you
work with, with urban populations generally giving higher wages but having a
higher cost of living in return. In Massachusetts, the average wage for a
starting CNA is $16.17/hr, or $33,630 per annum. Scientific research industries
pay the most, while private and family care is generally the lowest paid.
Experience and education add to your overall salary, and generally it sees a
rise every few years.