CNA Classes by State

Due to job growth opportunities, becoming a CNA is a smart decision for several reasons, but before you jump on board, you need to understand the CNA certification requirements in order to have a successful career. The state in which you receive your education, training, certification, and employment all factor into the requirements of certification.

It doesn’t take long to complete your education and training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant or Certified Nursing Aide (CNA), which is just one of the many favorable factors in this career choice.

Although not every state requires certification, in order to be eligible for the state certification exam, each person must complete a training program that adheres to the state’s guidelines.

Requirements for CNA Certification

States have minimum hours of classroom instruction and clinical experience for CNA certification requirements before taking the state exam. While each state has guidelines in place, some states allow students to challenge the exam, which means they can take the exam without completing training if they pass a competency exam. Again, this method is not recommended because employers want to hire those who are most qualified for the CNA position, and education and training are the best ways to prepare for the job.

To be eligible for a CNA training program, applicants typically must have a high school diploma or GED; a clean background check; updated vaccinations; be at least 18 years old; and either not be on the state’s CNA registry or have no wrongdoing appear on that registry. (For more information, check out this list of each state’s nursing registry.) CNA training and educational program typically involve three ways of learning – in the classroom, in the laboratory, and in a clinical setting. Students gain hands-on training during clinicals, which generally take place in a nursing facility or hospital. The time it takes to complete a training program depends on how often the class meets and how much time you able to dedicate to the class. Some programs are a few weeks long, while others can last up to two semesters.

There is a federal minimum standard for certified nursing assistants in all of the fifty United States and then each of the states is allowed to add on courses and classes if it sees fit. While the minimum hours for training is just 75 hours at the national level, don’t expect to go to class for just two weeks.

For example, in New York state, CNA training schools are expected to provide at least 100 hours of instruction, and they also require more practical training, or clinical training as it’s called. In addition, continuing education is required on an annual basis, including highly communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and bloodborne infections.

In contrast, Oregon offers multiple levels of certifications for nursing assistants, and like several other states, offers alternatives for licensing. Those who completed military service in a medical field may be able to forego the first round of training at CNA training schools, as can those who come from other states. You will need to have a good employment record or be newly certified, however.

It’s the federal minimum standards that may help many applicants, especially if they are considering a move. The fact that there are national standards means that many certified nursing assistants will only have to do a bit of paperwork if they move from one state to another. Indeed, it also means that certain agencies like the Red Cross can offer basic CNA courses that are applicable to most state standards.

The difficulty in performing this research, if you’re interested in becoming a certified nursing assistant, is the dearth of information on specific requirements for curriculums that vary by states. It may help to contact potential employers or friends or relatives in the field to research more. You may also want to consult the state board of nursing where you want to become certified.

As mentioned, CNA certification requirements vary from state to state. However, because the industry is growing, and many governing boards and employment facilities urge for more inclusive guidelines, a general explanation of requirements is favorable for a higher chance of employment and success. While many states do not specifically require CNA certification in order for an individual to be employed, many employers are choosing those individuals who have gone the extra mile and received certification on their own. Not only does sitting for the state exam, and passing the exam, show commitment and motivation, it also better prepares a CNA to be a capable member of the medical team.

CNA training programs, whether taken at a community college, community agency, or a nursing facility, are meant to prepare you for the career ahead of you, but you also must prepare yourself by attending every class, working hard, and developing your personal skills. CNAs are compassionate, caring people, who must have great communication skills. So, if you’re looking for a career where you can excel, read up on your state’s CNA certification requirements, and enroll in a nearby training program.

Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant can be quite a different experience depending on the training requirements of the State you’re living in. CNA training is independently regulated by each state. Before you seriously consider becoming a CNA, it’s important that you become familiar with your State’s guidelines. For example, many states require their own specific number of classroom training hours and/or clinical training before being considered for certification. Other restrictions may also include a minimum age requirement or meeting a certain level of education.

In order to make finding this information as painless as possible, each State has its own dedicated CNA resource and information page. The first part of each page discusses the specific requirements for becoming certified as well as any state-specific training that’s needed. If your State offers free CNA classes or training, information on this is also provided, as well as contact information for some of the more popular CNA training classes and schools found in-State.

CNA Classes in Different States