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Hospitals that Offer Free CNA Training in San Diego

Hospitals are one of the top employers of CNAs in San Diego and across the country. Knowing that they need a steady supply of skilled CNAs, many hospitals take the extra step and provide options for free CNA training.

What Does Free CNA Training Look Like?

It can take on many different forms, but here are some common ways.

  1. Tuition reimbursement. While many hospitals may not offer free CNA classes or training on their own, many will offer to reimburse you for the cost of your training when you sign a contract to work for them. For recent graduates, or upcoming graduates, you can likely contact and negotiate this with a local hospital to get most, or all of your tuition expenses covered.
  2. Scholarships. If you scour local job boards and websites you’ll sometimes find hospitals offering scholarships to encourage people to go acquire training and then come work for them. It’s essentially a more proactive version of tuition reimbursement, but usually the scholarship will come with some strings attached, like a guarantee to work for the hospital for a contracted length of time once you complete the program.
  3. Paid training. Some hospitals cut to the chase and will bring you in as a paid employee while they offer training – you’ll be essentially learning on the job for the practical portion of your CNA education while also receiving classroom instruction.

Hospitals Offering Free CNA Training in San Diego

The following hospitals occasionally offer free options for classes, tuition reimbursement, or scholarships in San Diego.

Lemon Grove Care & Rehabilitation Center

Lemon Grove Care & Rehab trains CNAs for their 158-bed skilled nursing facility. The facility specializes in post-acute skilled rehab and long-term care and places a strong emphasis on valuing both residents and colleagues. The organization has a culture of success built on core values and offers a range of benefits including competitive wages, mentorship, tuition reimbursement, dependent care, and various discounts and insurance options.

8351 Broadway, Lemon Grove, CA 91945
(619) 463-0294

Paradise Valley Hospital

Paradise Valley Hospital, part of Prime Healthcare, is a well-established healthcare institution in San Diego County. They are committed to core values of quality, compassion, and community. With a history of over 100 years, they are the second oldest hospital in the county and the largest employer in National City. The hospital offers a wide range of services, including acute care, rehabilitation, cardiac care, and behavioral health services.

2400 E 4th St, National City, CA 91950
(619) 470-4321

Select Specialty Hospital

Select Specialty Hospital, located in downtown San Diego, is a 110-bed Critical Illness Recovery Hospital that specializes in treating medically complex patients requiring additional support before beginning their path to recovery. The hospital is dedicated to fostering a safe and collaborative environment for its team members. They offer a comprehensive training program to equip clinical staff with the skills necessary to care for a wide range of high-acuity patients. Patients typically stay at the hospital for 25-30 days, allowing the team to establish meaningful connections with both patients and their families.

555 Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 260-8300

Other San Diego Hospitals

Just because a hospital isn’t doing a great job publicizing their free CNA training, or training at all for that matter, doesn’t mean that they don’t. If you stay alert and do your due diligence, you’ll find a surprising number of programs and opportunities near you. We’ve put together a comprehensive map and list of local hospitals in San Diego to help prospective CNAs in their search for CNA programs. When you look into these organizations be sure to:

  1. Check their website and social media accounts for information on educational programs or training.
  2. Review open positions on their websites or job boards for nurse aide and nursing assistant jobs.
  3. Contact their human resources departments for information on training programs.

Pros and Cons of Being a CNA in a Hospital

Working as a CNA in a hospital setting presents a unique set of advantages and challenges:


  1. Diverse Experience: Hospitals offer CNAs exposure to a wide range of medical conditions and treatments. This diversity in work experience can be highly beneficial for those looking to expand their knowledge and skills in the healthcare field.
  2. Opportunities for Advancement: Hospitals often provide more opportunities for career advancement compared to other settings. CNAs can take advantage of various training and education programs offered by hospitals to further their careers.
  3. Competitive Compensation: Generally, hospitals tend to offer higher salaries and better benefits packages, including health insurance and retirement plans, compared to other healthcare settings like nursing homes.
  4. Team Environment: Working in a hospital means being part of a larger medical team. This environment fosters collaboration and learning from a variety of healthcare professionals, such as nurses, doctors, and therapists.
  5. Advanced Equipment and Facilities: Hospitals are equipped with the latest medical technology and facilities, providing CNAs with the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment and in a modern healthcare environment.


  1. High Stress Levels: The hospital environment can be fast-paced and high-pressure, often dealing with critical care situations. This can lead to increased stress levels for CNAs.
  2. Emotional Challenges: CNAs in hospitals frequently encounter severe illnesses and end-of-life situations, which can be emotionally taxing.
  3. Long and Irregular Hours: Hospital CNAs often have to work long shifts, nights, weekends, and holidays, which can be challenging for work-life balance.
  4. Physical Demands: The job can be physically demanding, requiring CNAs to spend long hours on their feet, perform heavy lifting, and execute other physically strenuous tasks.
  5. Exposure to Illnesses: Working in a hospital increases the risk of exposure to infectious diseases, which can be a significant concern, especially for those with health issues or who live with vulnerable individuals.

The Time is Now!

If you’ve ever considered beginning your career in healthcare as a CNA, San Diego has any number of options at hospitals or other local training providers. You can consider the options above, or review the many options for CNA classes in San Diego available on this site.

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