Concordia University Ann Arbor has received approval from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Bureau of Health Care Services to launch a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) licensure program.

Concordia plans to begin offering courses in August. Anyone in the Ann Arbor area is able to apply. The three-week, in-person program consists of content instruction, patient skills training and practice, and demonstration of those skills through a clinical experience.

Once learners have successfully completed their CNA training at Concordia and submitted the proper paperwork, they can sit for the State of Michigan’s certification exam, which consists of two parts—a written or oral portion and the clinical skills portion. Those who pass the exam will be issued a two-year certificate that is eligible for renewal.


Why you should get your CNA certificate

Many healthcare workers choose to begin their careers as CNAs because it gives them early, hands-on experience assisting nurses, doctors, and other team members with direct patient care. In Michigan, learners are allowed to sit for the certification exam beginning at age 18.

At Concordia, the CNA certification is a requisite for admission into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

“Not all nursing schools require a CNA, but we find that the skills built through it are essential for every nurse,” says Dr. Cindy Fenske, Assistant Vice-President of Academics and Chair of CUAA’s nursing program. “It provides them with some comfort and confidence as they enter the rigor of our bachelor’s program. The CNA just provides a really nice foundation for students.”


An in-demand profession

The CNA also results in a pay bump in most instances. In fact, Fenske says some healthcare organizations in the Ann Arbor area are so eager for CNAs that they’ll pay a candidate’s way through the program.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that the demand nationwide is equally high. Nursing assistants even made the list of top careers in healthcare for 2021, as published by the digital publishing company Sechel Ventures. Sechel Ventures utilized BLS data to round up a list of the top 50 health careers of the moment. The list takes into consideration: potential for employment, salary, flexibility, and return on investment.

According to the data, more than 116,900 new nursing assistant jobs are expected to be added to the field by the year 2029. Nursing assistants also have a range of work environments available to them, including nursing homes, hospitals, and private physicians’ offices. Employment is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029.


Want in?

More information about CUAA’s CNA certificate will be posted on Concordia’s website in the upcoming weeks. Those eager to learn more in the meantime may contact Lilnese Hill.

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Ann Arbor and Wisconsin. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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