How you can get free CNA training in Maine

Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 11:23 AM EDT
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DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine (WMTW) — As Maine continues to face a shortage of people working as nurses, there are options for a free training program for those looking to start a career in health care.

Northern Light Mayo Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft is partnering with Eastern Maine Community College to offer a certified nursing assistant (CNA) training program for free. Classes will be held at Mayo Hospital from Oct. 3 through Dec. 15.

Certified nursing assistants provide care under the supervision of a registered nurse and help patients with basic needs, including eating and drinking, bathing, repositioning in bed, observing vital signs and more.

“This training course prepares individuals for rewarding careers in health care. For those who would like to advance in their careers, CNA training is a great first step to becoming a registered nurse or pursuing other clinical positions in health care,” said Nikki Chadwick, RN, MSN, CPHQ, vice president of Quality and Education, Mayo Hospital and one of the instructors for the course.

Classes will be held on Monday and Thursday evenings from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m., labs will take place on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. beginning Oct. 11, and clinicals will be held on Fridays from 5:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. beginning Nov. 4. The instructors are Northern Light Mayo Hospital employees.

Students who successfully complete the course and the state board examination will receive state certification. Candidates must have either a high school diploma or HISET/GED.

Enrollment is limited to 10 students, and students must complete a criminal background check, placement testing and an application prior to acceptance into the program. Complete immunization records and proof of COVID-19 vaccine and booster(s) are required at the time of registration.

To learn more and apply, call 207-564-2942 or email

There is also a Maine Medical Center CNA apprentice training program with a new class starting in November.

Maine Medical Center has provided training for CNAs since 1998 and more than 2,000 students have graduated to date. The 7-week, state-approved course is offered six times per year at no charge to students. The program includes classroom work, skills labs and clinical experience - with 28 hours of training over 4 days per week.

Students are paid at a rate of $16 per hour plus benefits while they are in class and on clinical units. Textbooks and workbooks are provided at no charge. At the end of the program, students take the state CNA certification examination at no cost to them.

There are also several other free CNA courses offered through certain adult education and other venues in Maine at various times of the year.