CNA Requirements – All You Need to Know Explained…

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a healthcare professional and therefore has to successfully meet very stringent CNA requirements related to training and exams.

A CNA, also referred to as a certified nurse aide, helps residents with basic activities required for day-to-day living while being under medical care. These activities, which are provided under the supervision of nursing staff, can include feeding, bathing, administering prescribed medicine, dressing, listening to concerns, ambulating, toileting, and more.

The nurse aide forms a very important link between the patient and his Registered Nurse.

A CNA is a noble professional who helps restore a patient’s health and helps him become a productive contributor to the nation. Certified nursing assistants work in nursing homes, adult day care centers, hospitals, hospice, day care, cna requirementsand in other healthcare facilities. The healthcare industry is booming in America and the demand for nursing aides is foreseen to be high.

The median salary of a CNA is about $29,000/year and there are a few CNA requirements you need to know about.

How can I become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

There are a couple of routes that lead to a CNA certification like

– You can join a course provided by a two-year community college or by a specialized school.

– You can enroll for a Nurse Aide training program provided by healthcare facilities like long-term care or nursing centers.

Once you finalize the institution (college, specialized school or healthcare facility), you must attend an information session and inquire about the length of the course/training, the fees involved, job placement, etc. Note that it is important to choose a state-approved educational facility.

What are the minimum educational qualifications required to join a CNA course?

Some educational institutions require you to obtain a High School Diploma or pass the General Education Development (GED). Some institutions do not require these certifications. Such schools’ CNA requirements need students to be proficient in simple mathematics, speaking, reading, communicating, and writing. Some institutions may require you to take the Test of Adult Basic education (TABE).

Are there any age requirements?

The age requirements depend on the training facility. Many schools offer the Nurse Aide course to 16-year old students while healthcare facilities and nursing schools do not admit students who are below 18 years.

What will I learn in a CNA course?

You will learn theory in the classroom and practice of the profession in the laboratory and in clinics. Clinical rotations and laboratory studies are essential because they help you gain experience and practical skills. You will learn human anatomy, nutrition, infections, patients’ rights, legalities surrounding the profession, body mechanics, blood testing, etc.

Here are some tasks you will become proficient in after completing the course:

  • Providing basic care to adults of all ages
  • Ensuring patient security and safety
  • Controlling and preventing yourself and the patient from catching infectious diseases
  • Optimizing movements in a way that prevent injury
  • Communicating effectively
  • Assisting patients with their basic living activities
  • Feeding the patient (in whatever condition he may be)
  • Understanding and responding to health issues faced by patients in long-term care facilities
  • Measuring blood pressure, temperature, etc. (taking vital signs)
  • Maintaining hygiene
  • Ensuring effective documentation and systematic reporting
  • Ambulating patients
  • Providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Providing basic life support services

What does the CNA certification exam involve?

There are two parts to the CNA test – written and practical (skills). The written test is based on the theory lessons delivered in the classroom. The test comprises of about 70-75 multiple choice questions. The student must score over 70% in the written test.

The skills test will require you to demonstrate a set of any 5 skills that are arbitrarily selected from the complete set of 25 nursing skills. You would have obtained experience in all nursing skills in clinical rotations. You will be required to demonstrate these skills on a mock or an actual patient. You need to score over 75% in this test.

If you pass both the exams, you will earn the CNA certification and get listed in the state’s Nurse Registry. If you fail the exam, then you will typically get 2 more chances to ace it. Any certification needs to be renewed every two years.

Do different states have different CNA requirements?

Yes. You must ensure that your listing in the state registry is current and active. To qualify, your state may require you to meet any one or more of the following requirements:

  • Successful completion of a state-approved training program
  • Passing a written competency test
  • Successful completion of a nursing arts course like Nursing 101, Basics in Nursing, etc.
  • Passing a physical examination for conditions like tuberculosis, etc.
  • Providing a criminal background check (including fingerprints)
  • CNAs who are employed in nursing care facilities are regulated by the federal government. Such nurse aides must receive 75 hours of training that is approved by the state.

For further information about your state’s requirements check out the corresponding CNA training in your state page!

What is the CNA Registry all about?

Every state has its Nurse Aide Registry. The objective of the Registry is to keep track of people who are allowed to function as certified nursing assistants. The Registry also lists nurse aides who have been found guilty of misconduct, abuse, negligence or misappropriation. The Registry can be accessed over the phone and your employer will check the Registry before employing you.

Finally, a few words about something important as well as CNA requirements like employment outlook and earning potential. Per a 2009 report published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for nursing assistants are expected to grow by 19% from 2008 to 2018 mainly because the number of senior Americans will increase, and the 2012 median salary of a nurse aide is around $29,000. Therefore, starting a CNA training today is definitely a good choice for establishing a successful and rewarding healthcare career.


State Nurse Aide Registry List:

Certified Nurse Aide


23 Responses to “CNA Requirements – All You Need to Know Explained…”

  1. Tammy says:

    I think this is one of the easiest ways to get into the healthcare field. The process is fast, and you can get your foot in the door quick.

    • Dayton says:

      You are right Tammy. There is no other profession like healthcare which offers such excellent job opportunities as well as further career developments. Not to mention the relatively short training time and the minimal financial commitment.

  2. Lauren says:

    So there are three chances to pass the CNA test the first time around, that’s great. And 16 year olds are able to qualify – wow! This sounds like a great program for younger people who are looking for experience in the healthcare field.

    • Dayton says:

      Lauren, I still believe that becoming a CNA is a great and relative easy way to start a promising career in healthcare.

      • Sam says:

        I agree with u Dayton. I am trying to become a cna/pct but i have to get my math & reading levels up. I like helping other & believe this is a good way to start & get to know other people.

  3. kasandra says:

    Could you please tell me what they look for when viewing your criminal background?

    • Dayton says:

      Thanks for visiting my site Kasandra.

      In general, it means that you will be thoroughly checked for certain criminal convictions. If you have committed one of these disqualifying offenses, it will usually bar you forever from being a CNA.

      First offenders may be able to get a waiver or expungement for minor offenses.

      Note that even misdemeanors in these categories will bar a person from employment as a CNA. Typically, there can 4 or 5 levels of misdemeanors, and the same for felonies. Level 1 is the most serious level. Often, a Misdemeanor 1 is more serious than a Felony 5.

      However, each state has different regulations for CNAs regarding this matter. Therefore, it’s recommended to check with the appropriate authority prior to enroll in any CNA training program.

  4. maria says:

    I lost my high school diploma? Can i still apply for cna?

    • Dayton says:

      I’m sorry to hear that Maria, but I don’t think that there is a big problem why you can’t apply for a CNA. Just contact your old high school or school district to get a copy of your records. They will assist you in this particular matter.

  5. Kaycie says:

    Will you be learning any anatomy while taking the cna class?

    • Dayton says:

      Kaycie, there will be some basic anatomy included in a CNA training. However, it always depends on the training facility you want to attend and your state. Therefore, it’s advisable to check before enrolling.

  6. Marjel says:

    Hi.. I’m graduated BS nursing on 2008 in the Philippines, I just want to know if I’m still qualified for CNA or do I need to take a CNA class to do that??

    • Dayton says:

      Marjel thanks for visiting. Just check with the Board of Nursing in the state you’re planning to work.

  7. trent says:

    I had a friend who got his CNA in high school as part of his electives, etc. He only had to take a few extra courses to do it. I was so jealous when he graduated he had a good job, and continued going to school in the medical program. I thought it was such a great idea and I agree with Tammy, a great job for a person, young or old. I wish I would have done something like that.

    • Dayton says:

      It’s never too late, Trent. Just think about the short training time involved and the minimal financial exposure. Just enroll in a CNA training course and start a new career in the healthcare industry.

  8. tasha says:

    Hello i took a cna course in 2012 and I took the state test and didn’t pass one part I worked as a nurse aid until may 2013 what do I have to do

    • Dayton says:

      Thanks for visiting tasha.

      Just contact the Nurse Aide Registry, Nursing Board, or Department of Health in your state. I’m sure they can help you with your question.

  9. Myrissa says:

    I’m only seventeen. & I’m having a hard time finding an lna course in vermont
    for the 2015 year that will accept me into the program without having to be eighteen, would you know of any?

    • Dayton says:

      Hy Myrissa,

      Thanks for your question. Try the Red Cross. They are licensed by the State of Vermont’s Board of Nursing as a provider of Nurse Training and offer a LNA course for people living in Vermont (minimum requirements: 16 years or older, attend a Curriculum and Financial Information Session, no High School diploma or GED required).

  10. Samantha says:

    I have a bachelor’s degree in biology but I want to have the cna certification as a plus. Will it take as much time to complete the program? I already have a lot of science and math classes as well as political, communication and more.

  11. kenia says:

    Hi im 16 years old looking for a cna program that does not require highschool diploma or GED. Im from houston texas but cant seem to find any programs near my location… Do you happen to know any ?

Leave a Reply

© 2016 CNA Training. All rights reserved.