How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are required to meet all of their state’s training and exam requirements. The best way to meet these is to complete a CNA training program, though CNAs can also have prior education through nursing school or military healthcare training.

Training for Certified Nursing Assistants

A CNA is required to complete a state-approved nursing assistant program, using a state-mandated curriculum. This will include at least 40 hours of clinicals and at least 80 hours of theory.

At least 12 of the hours during instruction will cover certain dementias including Alzheimer’s, with a total time frame of up to 120 days. Some that offer courses by term may go over the 120-day limit.

You can check with the Department of Public Health to see a complete list of approved programs.

Other Types of Training Available

If you are somehow unable to go through a traditional CNA training program, you can also opt for U.S. military-based training instead in many cases. Military personnel could qualify based on training as specialists or corpsmen.

CNAs can also receive certification based on current or previous nursing school enrollment. However, nursing students will need to have passed a course such as Nursing 101, at the very least, with at least 40 hours of clinical experience completed while under supervision.

Nurses with up-to-date licenses can work as CNAs without any need to be placed on a registry. All other nurses will need to appear on the registry, with verification that all requirements were met.

Meeting Examination Requirements

Different states will have different examination requirements for CNAs. You can learn more about the specific requirements for exams in your state when you search for courses.

You should be able to easily see what your state mandates for nursing assistant programs and exams. Different fees will apply for the exam, and you should have plenty of access to study materials and practice exams.

Prior to taking the exam, students will have all of the resources needed to successfully complete it.

Background Checks

If you want to appear on the health care registry, you’ll need to undergo and be cleared through a background check.

The CNA training program will only approve candidates for testing following a background check, and others will be required to submit fingerprints after submitting their applications. Candidates with a criminal history that disqualifies them have the option of applying for waivers, which are available through the Department of Public Health.

Additional Information About Becoming a CNA

For more information about how to become a CNA in your state, you can contact your state’s Health Care Worker Registry either online or by phone, and they’ll be able to provide you with additional details to help ensure you have all of the resources necessary to start your career as a CNA.

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