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CNA Certification | Health Science | HealthCenter21 | Nurse Assisting | iCEV

iCEV vs. AES: Which Certified Nursing Assistant Curriculum is Best?

February 15th, 2022 | 9 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through teaching experience of his own, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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Are you just starting a new Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program? Are you interested in updating your CNA textbooks with a digital option?

With an increasing need for qualified workers in nursing careers, students who graduate with CNA certifications are in high demand across the healthcare industry. Regardless of if your program is new or in need of an update, it’s crucial to find the right curriculum to ensure your students are competitive in today’s health science job market. 

Two solutions you may have heard of that teachers use to prepare students for CNA certification are iCEV and HealthCenter21 from AES.

In this review, you’ll find a comparison of iCEV and AES for a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program according to:

  • The CNA Topics and Skills Included
  • The Type of Instructional Materials Offered
  • The Cost

After reading, you should better recognize the differences between iCEV and AES to understand if one is a better choice for your CNA students.

1. What CNA Topics and Skills Are Included?cna-curriculum-topics-skills

Both iCEV and HealthCenter21 from AES teach topics and skills learners need to become Certified Nursing Assistants. However, each curriculum differs in how it prepares students for CNA certification.

Here, you’ll find information about which CNA topics come included with iCEV and AES.

What CNA Topics and Skills Does iCEV Include?

iCEV prepares students for CNA certification through its Nursing Skills curriculum. Students can use iCEV’s Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Preparation Materials playlist to review content related to the areas of competency for the certification.

The Nursing Skills curriculum from iCEV includes over two dozen course lessons that each cover one or more class periods:

  1. Washing Your Hands
  2. Cleaning Upper or Lower Denture
  3. Donning and Removing PPE (Gown and Gloves)
  4. Counting and Recording Respirations
  5. Counting and Recording Radial Pulse
  6. Dressing an Individual with a Weak Arm
  7. Measuring and Recording Urinary Output
  8. Assisting with the Use of a Bedpan
  9. Performing a Modified Bed Bath
  10. Providing Hand and Nail Care
  11. Measuring and Recording Weight
  12. Making an Occupied Bed
  13. Providing Foot Care

14. Positioning an Individual On Side
15. Cleaning and Covering Wounds
16. Providing Mouth Care
17. Applying Knee-High Elastic Stockings
18. Assisting to Move Using Transfer Belt
19. Measuring Height
20. Transferring from Bed to Wheelchair Using Transfer Belt
21. Feeding an Individual Who Cannot Feed Themselves
22. Measuring and Recording Blood Pressure
23. Measuring Body Temperature
24. Providing Catheter Care
25. Providing Perineal Care
26. Performing Modified Passive Range of Motion (PROM)

For each topic, students learn the essential skill through a demonstration of steps and techniques from health science instructors. Together, these resources go a long way toward ensuring learners are ready to sit for the CNA assessment.

What CNA Topics and Skills Does AES Include?

HealthCenter21 from AES is built around a series of blended learning curriculum modules that help students discover and learn a specific topic in detail. You can arrange these modules to fit the particular needs of your class.

AES recommends 11 HealthCenter21 modules for teaching a CNA course, which cover more than 160 instructional hours:

  1. Behavioral Healthaes-nnaap-cna-curriculum
  2. Body Mechanics
  3. Client Status
  4. Cultural, Social, and Ethnic Diversity
  5. Infection Control
  6. Nutrition and Elimination
  7. Patient Comfort
  8. Rehabilitation and Restorative Care
  9. Safety Precautions
  10. Special Populations
  11. The Health Assistant

Whereas iCEV focuses on individual CNA skills demonstrations, each HealthCenter21 module includes multiple units and lessons on related knowledge and skills.

For example, the Body Mechanics module includes 13 interactive eLearning lessons, along with class activities, student projects, skills demonstration checks, and assessments.

Overall, these 11 AES modules are specifically aligned with the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) CNA exam. This means that students in CNA programs that use HealthCenter21 will be directly prepared to take the NNAAP assessment to earn their CNA certification.

With HealthCenter21, teachers also have the ability to add additional learning modules to meet specific course requirements or student needs.

For more information on how HealthCenter21 aligns with the NNAAP exam, read this article: How to Use HealthCenter21 in a CNA Course.

2. What Instructional Materials Do iCEV and AES Offer?cna-curriculum-materials

Both iCEV and AES offer digital curriculum systems for teachers and students. However, there are significant differences in the way each curriculum is developed and intended to be used.

Depending on your teaching preferences and how your students learn best, you may discover that one is a better fit than the other for your program.

What Type of Instructional Materials Does iCEV Offer?

The iCEV curriculum system is designed to prepare students for CNA certification through lessons and instructional videos that teach concepts and skills.

Students receive information through digital lessons within the iCEV system. A lesson typically includes:

  • Lesson Plans for Teachers
  • Instructional Videos for Students
  • Student Handouts
  • Click-through Presentations
  • Class Projects

In general, iCEV videos center around skills demonstrations and scenarios, while presentations feature static information pages similar to an eBook. A teacher can elect to show the presentations and videos in class or allow students to work independently.


Each iCEV lesson covers a basic CNA skill, with instructional material relevant to that particular skill. While teachers can determine the amount of time they spend covering each skill, the sample iCEV lesson on Counting and Recording Respirations is designed to last two standard 50-minute class periods.

What Type of Instructional Materials Does AES Offer?

AES structures every module within HealthCenter21 around the same blended learning approach.


Blended learning combines traditional teaching methods with digital learning elements to create an effective learning environment where students can better learn, retain, and apply critical information.

The AES four-phase curriculum framework helps educators apply blended learning in their classrooms while saving teachers time with planning and grading.

The four phases of the AES curriculum are:

  1. Explore: Teacher-led activities to hook students’ interest
  2. Learn & Practice: Student-directed eLearning within the system to learn new concepts and skills
  3. Reflect: Teacher-led activities to review and discuss key ideas
  4. Reinforce: Student-directed projects to enhance understanding of concepts and skills

The Explore phase features activities, classroom discussions, and presentations that you can use to introduce your class to a subject.

During the Learn & Practice phase, students sign in to the AES learning system and work through self-paced, interactive lessons.

HealthCenter21 eLearning lessons feature videos, inline questions, drag-and-drop activities, decision-making scenarios, and other interactive learning experiences. Students can also fill out worksheets and guided notes as they work to help them better retain the content they’ll need for certification.


By presenting information in a variety of ways, students stay engaged while forming real-life connections with the content. This helps improve understanding and cements the information in your students' long term memory.

For the Reflect phase, you can lead your class with activities that help students review, discuss, and retain concepts within each module.

Finally, in the Reinforce phase, students complete self-directed activities and projects to enhance their understanding of the knowledge and skills they’ve learned.

Overall, HealthCenter21’s instructional format helps teachers easily implement a blended learning environment that encourages students to better understand and retain information.

To learn more, read: The HealthCenter21 Student Experience

3. How Much Does iCEV and AES Cost for CNA Programs?cost-of-cna-curriculum

When used for the CNA certification, iCEV and AES are priced differently and include different instructional materials.

Depending on your budget and whether you need materials for other courses, you may find iCEV or AES is a better value for your program.

How Much Does the iCEV CNA Curriculum Cost?

The cost of iCEV depends on factors such as the number of teachers and students who will be using the CNA course. You’ll need to contact iCEV directly for a quote based on your particular educational needs.

When you purchase CNA prep from iCEV, you gain access only to the iCEV materials specifically included in the CNA course. If you wish to teach other classes using the iCEV curriculum, such as Principles of Health Science or Health Science Theory, you’ll need to purchase those courses separately.

How Much Does HealthCenter21 Cost for a CNA Program?

AES provides a comprehensive curriculum system for CTE health science programs. When you purchase HealthCenter21, you receive access to the full health science curriculum that you can use across all of your courses, not just CNA.

Pricing for HealthCenter21 depends on the number of students who will use the system each year.

The Classroom plan is perfect for an individual teacher who teaches CNA and may teach additional courses.

The Campus plan is ideal for a school with multiple health science teachers covering CNA and other classes.

The District plan is ideal for districts looking to implement a cohesive health science curriculum across multiple campuses.

To learn more about how much each plan costs, visit the HealthCenter21 pricing page.

Which Curriculum is Best for Your Certified Nursing Assistant Program?best-certified-nursing-assistant-curriculum

Becoming Certified Nursing Assistants is an important goal for many students in the CTE health science pathway. Both iCEV and AES can prepare your students to sit for their CNA certification and enter the healthcare workforce.

Which curriculum is best for your program depends on the type of program you are looking to implement and if want a comprehensive health science curriculum that you can use for multiple courses.

If you are only focused on preparing students for CNA certification and prefer your students to learn from video demonstrations and presentation lessons, iCEV’s CNA materials could be good for your classroom.

If you want a blended learning curriculum that aligns directly with the NNAAP CNA exam and that you can use to teach multiple courses in your health science program, AES might be the right choice for you.

If you’re considering AES and want to learn more about how AES meets requirements of the NNAAP exam, download this free NNAAP CNA certification guide.

In this guide, you’ll find an outline of exam topics, recommended HealthCenter21 modules, and an in-depth crosswalk of HealthCenter21 to the NNAAP test plan.Download the NNAAP CNA Exam Guide >If you’re ready to see if AES is right for your CNA program, you can start your free HealthCenter21 trial today.

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