How to Get Your CNA License: A Step-by-Step Guide to Certified Nursing Assistant Certification Requirements by State in 2021

The Importance of CNA Certification

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification is a crucial step for those who want to pursue a career in the healthcare industry as a nurse aide. It is a certification that demonstrates that one has completed the necessary training and tests to provide basic care for patients in a healthcare setting.

The certification is important in that it allows employers to know that the person they are hiring is qualified and competent in providing care to patients. It is also required by most healthcare facilities in the United States.

To become a CNA, one must complete a state-approved training program that typically lasts from 4-12 weeks depending on the state. After completing the training program, one must pass a certification exam. The exam consists of a written test and a hands-on skills assessment. Once certified, CNAs can be placed on a state registry and are required to renew their certification every two years.

This article will provide an overview of the CNA certification process, including the training, exam, and registry, as well as the importance of having this certification in the healthcare industry.

Key takeaway: CNA certification is a necessary step for those who want to work as nurse aides in the healthcare industry. It requires completion of a state-approved training program and passing a certification exam. It is important for employers to know that their staff is qualified and competent to provide care to patients.

Some other semantic keywords associated with CNA certification would include: healthcare, patient care, nursing, basic life support, infection control, patient safety, vital signs, and medication administration.

Certification Requirements to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

To become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), you need to complete certain certification requirements set by the Department of Health in your state. Being a CNA is one of the fastest ways to enter the healthcare industry, and it provides an excellent foundation for building a career in nursing or any other healthcare field.

The first step towards becoming a CNA is to enroll in an educational and training program that is approved by the state. The program will cover all the essential skills and knowledge that you need to become a competent nursing assistant. The duration and cost of the program may vary depending on the state you are in. However, most programs require a minimum of 75 hours of training and include both classroom and hands-on clinical experience.

Once you have completed the program, you need to pass a state competency evaluation and examination to be eligible for certification. This exam is designed to test your understanding of the knowledge and skills you have acquired through your educational and training program. The examination consists of two parts: a written or oral test and a clinical skills test.

The written or oral test includes multiple-choice questions that cover topics like patient care, communication, infection control, safety procedures, and emergency protocols. The skills test evaluates your ability to perform basic nursing skills such as taking vital signs, bathing patients, feeding patients, and transferring patients from one place to another. You will need to pass both parts of the exam to become a CNA.

After completing the state CNA exam and passing it, you can apply for certification from the Department of Health in your state. This will involve submitting your examination scores and completing an application form. Once your certification requirements are complete, you will receive a certificate, which is valid for a certain period, depending on the state you are in.

Becoming a CNA is a rewarding and fulfilling career. The certification requirements may seem daunting, but with dedication and hard work, anyone can complete them. If you are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, becoming a CNA is a great place to start.

Training Programs

If you’re interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), choosing the right training program is crucial. There are several types of programs available, each with its own pros and cons. In this section, we’ll provide you with detailed information on different CNA training programs so that you can make an informed decision.

The most common types of CNA training programs include:

  • Community college programs
  • Vocational or trade schools
  • Online programs
  • CNA apprenticeships

Each program type has its own unique features. For example, community college programs typically require a longer time commitment (usually around 3 months) but provide more comprehensive training. Online programs, on the other hand, are more flexible and allow you to complete the coursework on your own schedule, but may lack hands-on training.

Another important factor to consider when choosing a CNA training program is cost. Community college programs tend to be the most expensive, but they also tend to offer financial aid and scholarships. Vocational schools and online programs may be less expensive but may not offer financial assistance.

If you’re considering a CNA apprenticeship, keep in mind that these programs are typically limited to healthcare facilities in your area. However, they provide hands-on training and may lead to a job offer upon completion.

CNA Exam Preparation

The first step in preparing for the CNA exam is to develop a study plan. This can involve creating a schedule that includes regular study sessions, reviewing study materials, and practicing test-taking strategies.

The CNA exam is typically administered by the state’s Department of Health or a similar agency. The exam may include a written component, a skills demonstration portion, or both. It is important to understand the format of the exam before beginning to study.

To pass the CNA exam, it is essential to practice regularly. This can involve taking practice exams, reviewing study materials, and seeking out additional resources such as tutoring or study groups.

Some tips for passing the CNA exam include familiarizing oneself with common medical terminology, understanding basic nursing skills and procedures, and practicing good test-taking strategies such as reading instructions carefully and eliminating obviously wrong answer choices.

If you are experiencing test anxiety or are unsure about any aspects of the exam, it is important to seek out support and resources to help you prepare. This may involve speaking with a healthcare professional, taking advantage of online resources and study guides, or seeking out additional help from your instructor or other healthcare professionals.

Remember, with the right preparation and approach, it is possible to pass the CNA exam and take your first steps toward a rewarding and fulfilling career in the healthcare field.

State Registry and Certification

After passing the CNA certification exam, the next step is to become listed on the state registry. This process involves submitting an application and demonstrating that you meet the requirements set forth by the state board. Once approved, you will be placed on the public registry of certified nurse aides.

To get listed on the state registry, you must complete a state-approved nursing assistant training program and pass the CNA exam. The program typically includes classroom instruction, lab work, and supervised clinical experience. Once you have successfully completed the program, you will be eligible to sit for the exam.

The certification renewal process varies by state, but typically involves completing a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) and demonstrating that you have worked as a nurse aide for a certain number of hours. It is important to stay up-to-date with your certification, as failure to renew on time can result in removal from the state registry and the inability to work as a nurse aide.

If you need to renew your CNA certification, you should check with your state board to determine the specific requirements. You may be required to complete additional training or retake the certification exam. Be sure to keep all documentation of your continuing education units and work experience in a safe place in case you need to provide proof when renewing your certification.

For more information on the state registry and certification process, visit your state board’s website. You can also find helpful resources and links to additional training and education opportunities. Maintaining your CNA certification is a crucial step in advancing your nursing career and providing quality care to patients.


After exploring the requirements and benefits of becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA), it is clear that this career path offers a lot of opportunities for those interested in healthcare.

It is important to note that each state has its own specific requirements for CNAs, so it is essential to research the requirements in the state where you plan to work. In general, however, CNAs need to complete a training program that includes both classroom instruction and clinical practice. They also need to pass a certification exam to become officially certified.

If you’re considering becoming a CNA, it’s a good idea to start by researching CNA programs in your area. Look for programs that are accredited by the state and that offer hands-on training in a supervised clinical setting. You may also want to consider online programs, which can be more flexible and convenient for some students.

Once you’ve completed your CNA program and passed the certification exam, you’ll be ready to start working as a CNA. You may choose to work in a nursing home, hospital, or other healthcare setting. CNAs are in high demand, so you should be able to find a job relatively quickly.

About The Author

Scroll to Top