Guide to Certified Nursing Assistant State Certification Requirements

Those seeking a professional-level career may find themselves at a crossroad. While certified professions offer solid job security and above-average annual salaries, most of these professions require a significant amount of training. If you’re interested in beginning a career as a certified professional, but wish to limit your time and financial commitment to training, perhaps a career as a certified nursing assistant is your ideal choice. Becoming a certified nursing assistant requires intensive training and a passing score on your state certification examination. While every state has different eligibility requirements, the following requirements are universal throughout the United States.

State-Approved Training Programs

In order to sit for your state’s CNA online certification exam, you must first graduate from a state-approved training program. This is where things become highly individualized. The actual amount of training required is determined by your state’s nursing board. For example, in Tennessee aspiring certified nursing assistants must complete a minimum of 75-hours of training from a state-approved institution. Out of these 75-hours, 16-hours must be related directly with dealing patients; however, in Georgia CNAs must undergo a total of 85-hours of training; 24-hours of this requirement must be done in a nursing home under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse.

While the aforementioned are only two out of the 50-states, it’s a clear example of how each state regulates training requirements for its CNAs. Therefore, the first step in obtaining your state certified nursing assistant certification, uncover state-specific training requirements.

Passing Written and Clinical Exam Portions

Once you’ve satisfied the training requirements set forth by the state, you must then register to take the CNA certification exam. Although the exam may differ slightly depending on where you’re located, the bulk of the examination is universal. Generally speaking, this examination is separated into two primary units, with sub-categories in each unit. These units include:

Written (Theoretical) Exam – This portion of the examination covers topics such as anatomy, medical terminology, CNA policies, state-specific procedures and other pertinent information learned throughout your coursework. In order to pass this portion you must gain a “Satisfactory” score on all sub-categories.

Clinical (Hands-On) Exam – While you must have a vast depth of knowledge to work as a CNA, you must also be capable of carrying out procedures and policies. Therefore, this portion of of the CNA examination covers the clinical application of certain procedures. Typically, the clinical exam requires you to successfully complete at least five different scenarios. Again, to pass you must gain a “Satisfactory” score on each of the five (or more) tasks.

Do Your Homework

The aforementioned are all general requirements found throughout the United States; however, to gain state-specific information for gaining certification as a CNA, refer to the “Certified Nursing Assistant Candidate Handbook.” Published annually by the nursing board of your state, this handbook provides all state-specific information needed to prepare and pass the CNA examination, as well as what to do if you fail all or part of the exam.