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Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) play a critical role in the Tennessee healthcare system. Nursing assistants work in a variety of healthcare settings including assisted living facilities, hospitals, and personal homes. The CNA’s exact role varies by setting, but they generally act as liaisons between more senior medical staff and patients, relaying information between the two parties and providing basic quality-of-life patient care.

Nursing assistant programs in Tennessee
One great advantage of CNA certificate programs is their short duration. These programs typically require eight to ten weeks of study, after which students must pass a state-administered examination to qualify for employment. Tennessee is home to a number of vocational and career schools that offer the necessary classes for nursing assistant certification. Two of the most prominent schools are Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Hohenwald and Tennessee Valley Regional Practical Nursing Program in Shelbyville.

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Employment for nursing assistants
Just under 29,000 certified nursing assistants work in the state of Tennessee. Nearly a quarter of Tennessee’s CNAs (about 7,000 total) work in the Nashville metropolitan area. Another third of the state’s CNAs (just under 10,000 total) are employed in the cities of Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga combined. The median annual salary for Tennessee’s nursing assistants is $22,520, although CNAs in major cities typically earn more. Top performers throughout the state can earn $26,000-29,000 per year.

For those considering a nursing assistant career, we have identified below several of Tennessee’s best CNA certificate programs. These nursing schools can put students on a rapid path towards certification and employment.