To receive your CNA certification, you must pass the state-approved CNA examination in order to be fully certified to practice as a CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant. Most community colleges offer CNA training in one semester. However, there are other sources that offer accelerated programs so you can become a Certified Nursing Assistant within a few weeks. Your CNA training class instructor will guide you in obtaining and completing all necessary paperwork so that you can take the certification exam. The requirements for CNA certification vary from state to state, but generally the minimum requirements are the following: high school diploma or GED, and the applicant must be at least 18 years old.
As with any exam, it is vital to your success to study hard and be well prepared for the examination in order to prevent having to retake the exam. Review all your notes from your CNA training class a few days before your exam to refresh your memory. Practice the practical portion of the exam with a real person in order to get more confident and comfortable with the task at hand.
The Certified Nursing Assistant certification exam will have two sections. The written section will have about 100 multiple questions. The practical part of the exam will allow you to demonstrate your nursing skills on a patient. CNAs receive a minimum of 75 hours of didactic and practical task-oriented training and must pass an oral or written test. Once you successfully complete both parts of the examination, you will receive your CNA certification in the mail in a few weeks.
CNA Certification FAQ
What must I do to become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
- successfully complete a state-approved nursing assistant training course, and
- successfully complete the competency evaluation program examination; or
- qualify to be placed on the Nurse Aide Registry by waiver or reciprocity
Is it possible to be exempt from training and take only the exam?
- After July 1, 1989, you successfully completed the training portion of an approved NATCEP in any state and have not completed the CEP test or been placed on the registry in another state.
- After July 1, 1989, you successfully completed military training of 100 hours or more that’s equivalent to civilian nurse aide training.
- After July 1, 1989, you successfully completed a state-accredited registered nurse (RN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) school but were not licensed as an RN or LVN in Texas or have not held a license that’s been revoked.
- You’re currently enrolled in a state-accredited school of nursing in any state and have demonstrated competency in providing basic nursing skills in accordance with the school’s curriculum.
How can I qualify for reciprocity?
- If you are currently on the nurse aide registry in another state that is in compliance with applicable federal laws and you complete the necessary documentation for reciprocity.
After I pass the examination, how long will it take to get my certificate?
- You will receive your certificate four to six weeks after successfully completing the exam.
Once I am certified, how often do I have to renew?
- No expiration date is printed on your certificate; however, you must contact the Nurse Aide Registry and verify your employment at least every two years to remain in active status.
If I don’t pass the examination the first time, can I test again?
- Yes. People who fail either the skills or the written/oral examination may re-test twice. People who don’t pass after three attempts must go through the training again before being allowed to take the test again.
Must I have a copy of my certificate to work?
- Normally, employers will require that you present your certificate, so they may make a copy for their files. However, your employability depends upon the current status of your certification. If you are not in “Active” status on the Nurse Aide Registry, you are not employable even if you have a copy of your certificate.
Before taking the CNA certification exam, you must complete an approved CNA training class.
Study hard and good luck on your CNA certification exam!